Edwin Phillips reads a letter to a media magazine from an angry reader about the state of journalism today, after more examples of fake ‘news’ emerge, US President Trump re-tweets questionable videos from a far right organisation, and a Welsh MP was forced to defend receiving money to appear on a controversial Russian TV channel dubbed Vladimir Putin’s “propaganda tool”.
I am only someone who is interested in the news.
But I have a view, and the reporting now is worse than I have ever known it.
It has just been reported that David Davies (Monmouth MP) was paid £750 an hour to appear on RT (formerly known as Russia Today).
In all Mr Davies apparently received £3,000 plus expenses for four appearances between December and September.
Disturbing enough you might think – but it has come as we were treated to details of how Alex Salmond (former leader of the SNP and one-time Scottish First Minister) became host of his own so-called chat show on RT.
The launch of the ‘Alex Salmond Show’ was even celebrated with a glitzy event in London.
Mind you, one of the guests (Iain Dale, a colleague of Salmond at the radio station LBC) said: “Be ashamed, Alex. Be very ashamed”.
All of this has come at a very difficult time for journalism – and as I say I am just a news ‘customer’ – with those anti-Muslim immigrant videos from ‘Britain First’ which have been re-tweeted by the US President Donald Trump.
One of them claimed to show a Muslim immigrant hitting a Dutch boy on crutches.
Yet we now understand the credibility of the video was immediately undermined when the Dutch embassy in the US said the perpetrator was born and raised in the Netherlands.
I am no supporter of our own Prime Minister Theresa May, but it seems to me she was absolutely right when she said it was “wrong” to share those videos by a “hateful” far-right group.
‘Britain First’ have even boasted of how Donald Trump sharing them has boosted their support.
They claim they received ‘hundreds’ of membership applications in the 24 hours after he re-tweeted the videos to his 44 million followers.
They had under 1,000 members before.
But those videos weren’t news at all!
A journalist I know has been in the business for 34 years and has won loads of awards.
Everything he publishes is 100 per cent true.
President Trump would do well to take a leaf out of his book.
Whatever happened to checking facts?!
Speaking of facts, can they ever be ‘alternative’?
Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s ‘Counselor’, apparently thinks so.
She said about a provable falsehood that it was just “alternative facts”.
BUT AREN’T FACTS JUST FACTS?!
Journalists used to sit exams in things like journalist law, and public administration, and sign two year training ‘indentures’.
In this age of social media, and 24-hour news, do they still do that?
I hear one so-called journalist (the Editor of WalesOnline, Paul Rowland) even threatened to sue over a satirical article, with the extraordinary words “satire is no defence against libel”, when even I know it can be!
It used to be the case that you could trust what was given to you, because you knew the facts had been checked, the quotes were accurate, the angle was correct, there was no ‘clickbait’ journalism, and the writing was based in truth.
Now you can’t be sure of any of these things.
There must be a role for a guardian of the news, to tell us what is correct and what is not.
I don’t know where I am.
An angry member of the public.