Have I Got News For You….? Actually, no.
It may well be that I have too much time on my hands. That perhaps the weather prevents me from interacting socially in quite the way I would like and I therefore seek alternative diversions. Reading being one of those. Current affairs, showing an interest, and generally keeping an eye on the world at large being others. Yet I am confused and befuddled with the amount of clap-trap on display in the average daily paper, purporting to be “news” items. In fact, I have seen so many of these today, I am declaring Wednesday 9th May 2012 as the official “Non-News News Day”.
I try to read a broad cross-section of papers most days in order to get a potted view, so to speak, so I cannot be blamed for only having scanned the red-headed handy-size papers such as The Sun where one could, arguably, expect to find a high number of non-news items in a single sitting. Today’s headline gems from that particular receptacle of things we never needed to know scream out:
- Busty Christina Aguilera boobs on US TV show The Voice (The Sun) – STAR nearly spills out of her ill-fitting frock during duet
- Nicole Scherzinger nearly falls victim to wardrobe malfunction (The Sun) – SINGER’S cleavage nearly makes a bid for freedom
So you tell me: where is the news in these headlines? Surely if said boobs had ACTUALLY left the fabric instead of nearly leaving then, yes, that would be news. Or if this was a well-researched statement on the state of the dress-making industry and/or the odd shape and sheer pneumacity of a celebrity’s mammary glands (ew) – well, fair enough. But here is actually no news at all since the boobs stayed exactly where they should, the dresses remained intact and the shows went on.
- Lineker gets her tatt out for a dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – DANIELLE flashes her tattooed ribcage at a posh dinner with Kate and Wills (The Sun)
Same with poor old Mrs Lineker – after all, she didn’t lay on a table and have Wills inscribe the tattoo on to her with a set of heraldic cutlery and a set square, did she? That would have been worth reporting, if you had been there to witness it. So I wonder: Is the headline suggesting that Kate and Wills were shocked, nay, horrified and foaming at the mouth to see such a thing? To be honest, I doubt they even noticed. There is, in fact, no news in this item whatsoever other than Mrs L’s got a tattoo to those who care about such trivia. Perhaps more interesting a headline might have been: “Gary bares unfeasibly large lug-holes at future Queen”? They’re just as noticeable and frankly in my opinion more offensive yet, sadly for Gary, clearly un-newsworthy today.
Similar inane non-celebrity scoops appear randomly elsewhere on the internet today:
- Michelle Collins denies reports she’s quitting Coronation Street (Daily TV)
She’s apparently not leaving. She probably never said she would leave. She is still doing what she was doing yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that…..So, no actual news to report there then. Honestly, who cares?
Via a tenuous “care” link – even the stalwarts of English Rugby are in the non-news today:
- Care: not drinking in bid for England call – Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care feeling fitter after cutting out alcohol as he looks to get England career back on track. (Telegraph)
I expected better of The Telegraph. Is it really news that Danny hasn’t had a pint for a few weeks and – lo and behold – he feels better for it? The Man-Hog and I abstain regularly yet the local news has never yet felt the need to pick this up. Are we supposed to applaud and say “Well done Danny, clearly this is ground-breaking stuff that you’ve managed not to guzzle down an entire keg of Harvey’s during May. You’re a true sporting hero.” Such non-news only serves to confuse me, the reader. I have no idea what my response to this nothingness should be.
Sport in general appears to be a veritable tumult of non-news:
- Blackburn manager Steve Kean says owners Venky’s ” not going anywhere” and he is “not going anywhere” following relegation. (Telegraph)
A classic statement that even I understand, yet clearly non-news of no import whatsoever on the footballing world. Surely the headline should just have read “Nothing happened today at Blackburn today”. At least more honest. Hm?
Business and politics fare no better, if you look. Here’s one I puzzled over earlier:
- ITV expects summer advertising surge (FT.com)
And? It hasn’t happened yet, so not really news is it? There’s no specific date given for when it will happen, so it is not an announcement of intent or an order confirmation which might conceivably count as news to their profit and loss account and therefore their shareholders. It is….you guessed it….more non-news. Are they hoping their share price will go up simply because they are feeling jolly hopeful about stuff? Ambition should be made of sterner stuffing, shouldn’t it?
In conclusion, there’s a lot to be said for well-researched, factual and informative articles in the papers – articles that explain, stimulate discussion and challenge our opinions. Articles you can beat the kids over the head with to make them view the world as a cornucopia of information and action to be explored and digested. Yet there’s nothing at all to be said about non-news that has no teeth and seemingly no point to it. Just blurb on a page to fill up the white space. Nonsense. Nothing. A bit like this blog but worse. At least I don’t charge you to read it!