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Topic for June 2020 - The Media

    • 67 posts
    June 9, 2020 10:01 AM BST

    This month we take a look at the Media. Particularly those aspects which have negative consequences for society and ideas for improvement.

    The Agenda for our two Probably42 online discussion groups is below. Do you have any input or ideas for improvement? 


    • What aspects of the media (TV, Print, Social Media, National and Local) do we think are positive e.g. Inform, Question, Investigate, Support, Campaign positively, Educate?
    • What aspects of the media do we think are negative e.g.   Mislead, Bias, Exaggeration, Intrusion, Attack people and organisations?   
    • What specific types of negative behaviour are there i.e. how would we categorise them? Can we give specific examples e.g. omission, presumption of guilt not innocence, subtle use of language to negatively influence
    • Which newspapers, TV stations, or online media, do we think present the most unbiased/factual news
    • What part do we play in this? Do we get what we deserve?
    • What should the role of the media be in a 21st century society? How does this vary for different audiences?
    • What specific improvements do we want to see and how might this be achieved? How do we need to change?
    • 102 posts
    June 12, 2020 10:38 AM BST

    The output from the Probably42 Deep Thought Group is now available at:

    We would welcome your views.

    This post was edited by Tony Clack at June 12, 2020 10:40 AM BST
    • 5 posts
    June 12, 2020 3:47 PM BST

    An excellent summary of the status quo ... or am I moved to say that because what is reported here re-enforces my bias against current media behaviours?  I hope that I am being objective in that I clearly recognise all of the issues discussed here.

    I suggest that "in modern times" the media has moved away from a bias-neutral position of simply reporting the news to one where they believe it is their role to make the news or to tell us what is or is not news-worthy and what we should (must?) think about a situation.  I have been astonished to see a full interview with someone, for the program to then go to the "headlines" and the announcer say "In an exclusive interview with the BBC ... said ..." and for it to come across as the complete opposite of what I had just heard in the live interview.  Remove context and the sound bite can be made to portray the opposite of what was actually articulated.

    Consider: A pint glass holding half a pint of beer - is it half full or is it half empty?  Does a desired state give context to the perspective - do I want it to last longer, have more to drink because the night is yet young or do I need to see it consumed because I need to catch the last bus home?  Is the subject overjoyed that the glass is half empty or disappointed that it is just half full?

    It is never the facts nor context which are conveyed, but rather the emotional out come the media seeks to engender.  Probably the most memorable classic case of this is the Mrs Thatcher mis-quote "there is no such thing as society" which when removed from its context appears very damming, whereas what she did say in context is there is no nefarious (money laden entity) 'society' but a collective of responsible hard working people which the nation calls upon to support others in need.

    I used to rely on the BBC (TV and Radio 4) as been the pinnacle of high quality journalism, however especially during Brexit and in more recent times, I have learnt that they are far from trustworthy and it is now time for wholesale change on the BBC.  I rarely listen to / view either - their approach to journalism does not inform, it does not achieve anything constructive, it does exactly the opposite.

    This post was edited by Kevin Johnson at June 12, 2020 3:50 PM BST
    • 3 posts
    June 13, 2020 9:31 AM BST

    Zero Gravity held a discussion on this topic on 9th June. You can find the result here http://www.probably42.net/documents/133/81/the-media-output-of-zero-gravity

    We'd really like to hear your views.

    This post was edited by Keith Hill at June 13, 2020 9:32 AM BST