Friday, 17 July 2009

Cultural Tolerance and Media Incompetence

Reading the headline and abstract of this story in the Daily Telegraph I was prepared to be outraged. If a Muslim care-home owner was dictating to residents what they could and could not eat that would be appalling cultural intolerance.

However if you actually get to the end of the story it appears that the headline has nothing at all to do with the story, and the owner Dr Khan is perfectly reasonable. The story is, in fact, not newsworthy at all. It does not even say why there was a single delivery of halal meat, so either the reporter who talked to the owner did not ask the only question that could make a story worth publishing or the explanation was thought so banal that inclusion was not warranted.

Having studied and worked at some prominent institutions and in newsworthy industries I have seen many stories in the press that I could judge against my own knowledge. On every single occasion there is some important fact that was completely wrong. Very often the truth is either far more interesting or, as it appears in this case, completely without news value.

Is it any wonder that the traditional news media are losing money at an increasing rate? I believe with the Telegraph stable it is about £200,000 a week. I got that statistic from Guido Fawkes, but I’d rather trust his facts than the Telegraph’s because he takes responsibility, and admits when he gets it wrong.

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Katabasis said...

I know the feeling - I've read so many stories concerning events, or subjects with which I'm very familiar and have been absolutely shocked regarding the mistakes, and what can only be laziness in some of the articles.

It plain sucks to have to fact check news sources that you pay for.

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