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How thick do you have to be to be a journalist?

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 9:26 am 
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Jane Merrick, Political Editor of the Independent on Sunday. She Tweets often and vacuously.

Clearly taken with the wonderful qualities of Eric Pickles, one of the nastier Tories.

Because he 'has a hinterland'. And he 'described himself to Matthew Parris as "wonderfully dull" - but we all know that's not true!'

(And she can't use quotation marks properly) I note in parentheses.

She dislikes the Guardian and likes The Times. She has accused the Guardian of 'sneering' at the Cameron/Brooks texts because they didn't get the story.

She used to write for The Mail...

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 9:54 am 
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Thick? Arguably no real requirements there other than selective memory. Malleable and free of morals (depending on your employer of choice)? Yes.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:01 am 
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I've found that Lord Soper quote about Enoch Powell 'educated beyond his intelligence' to be very helpful.
It applies to many people, but journalists are a prime case.
Perhaps this also explains their obsession with having their kids privately educated (I worked with some spouses of journos and they were all advocates of private education, despite working in state schools which were good enough for 'them' but not for 'us'. Of course they knew that their kids' shortcomings would be compensated by the private system and the networks it encourages).

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:14 am 
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I think you're letting them off the hook by dismissing them as thick. That implies that they don't know exactly what they are doing.
Some may be thick but by no means all.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:22 am 
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Ambitious, self-important, hard-hearted, vain, competitive, single-minded, confrontational, amoral, malleable.

But not thick.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:26 am 
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If they're not thick, why so many errors of comprehension?

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:35 am 
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I don't think they're errors at all.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:50 am 
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I think that a lot of them really don't understand what they are writing about. Look at the abysmal standard of science reporting.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 11:26 am 
The mail, along with others, is anti science


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 11:29 am 
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Well, that's because newspaper reporters (and TV ones as well) know what sells. And have a tendancy to generalise from the self. They also live and work in a media bubble that brands any interest in anything outside a very narrow range as sad and nerdy.

There are plenty of good technical and scientific reporters out there. However, most of them are to be found working for trade and specialist publications, or publishing online. Probably because the average newspaper editor knows that what sells is science-lite scare stories with a disclaimer tucked in at the very bottom. The point of newspapers (especially tabloids) is not so much to inform as to self-perpetuate. In this respect, they know their readers very well indeed.

As for your second comment on this thread, here's my take:

The average journalist's job is pretty soul-destroying. Whether it's sitting through interminable minor court cases, or doing the TV listings, or scanning through Youtube for whatever's popular and can be ripped off, it's a far cry from the Woodward and Bernstein fantasies (or even Carrie Bradshaw or His Girl Friday or wahtever) they entertained. At the lower levels, it's badly paid. There's no job security (one of the reasons they're so intolerant of it in other professions), there's constant pressure to get results, and yes, you have to regularly compromise whatever principles you started off with. This is not an attempt to excuse them, just to understand. They also get to see people as they really are - quite often at their ugliest and most exposed. And yes, this includes celebrities and others who seem to have 'perfect' lives. So, understandably, a certain resentment and envy builds up. Why should Dave Thickhead and Suzi Vacant-Tart have such an idyllic ifestyle when they're both sleeping around and neither can string a sentence together? So they see the lifestyle they regularly report on and think "I deserve that - at least I've earned it".

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 11:30 am 
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Rob, the Mail is not anti-science. It just knows its readership are deeply reactionary and suspicious of anything new. Until, that is, the new thing is proved useful. Then they were behind it all along.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Less hinterland, more of a gravitational field.

Malcolm Armsteen wrote:
Jane Merrick, Political Editor of the Independent on Sunday. She Tweets often and vacuously.

Clearly taken with the wonderful qualities of Eric Pickles, one of the nastier Tories.

Because he 'has a hinterland'. And he 'described himself to Matthew Parris as "wonderfully dull" - but we all know that's not true!'

(And she can't use quotation marks properly) I note in parentheses.

She dislikes the Guardian and likes The Times. She has accused the Guardian of 'sneering' at the Cameron/Brooks texts because they didn't get the story.

She used to write for The Mail...


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Andy McDandy wrote:
Rob, the Mail is not anti-science. It just knows its readership are deeply reactionary and suspicious of anything new. Until, that is, the new thing is proved useful. Then they were behind it all along.


Mailite science is OK provided it can be expressed in measures based on the human anatomy.
They don't like anything too big or too small.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 1:04 pm 
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Too many of them are compromised by following the paper/corporate backer line so that they can fund those public school fees, drink all the nice wine, go to in-vogue parts of Italy, and whatever else it is the effete super class do.

Pay-per-propaganda drivel; a long way from Paul Foot. The lofty ideals probably got jettisoned soon after they graduated/got married. Looking at the dregs from Leveson, you had coke-addled, booze-fuelled muckrakers making thousands from illegal and distressful invasions of privacy, twinned with proprietors who literally claimed not to know the meaning of ethics.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 1:21 pm 
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Giant f*cking Sudoku wrote:
Too many of them are compromised by following the paper/corporate backer line so that they can fund those public school fees, drink all the nice wine, go to in-vogue parts of Italy, and whatever else it is the effete super class do.


Precisely. But they can't get into that pay scale any other way. Can you imagine Littlejohn as a barrister or a surgeon? Or even a city banker?

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