Historically when the “Fourth Estate” becomes news its usually illustrated by a giant press purring non stop with a print worker at the end of the line proudly taking off copy and reading it for the benefit of the camera. It seems the press never sleeps and is for ever churning out the news.
Historically this was far from the truth. Daily papers were printed during the night and evening papers during the day. When the presses fell silent during a cross over period we would rely mostly on the radio for our news.. It was not long ago that there were only a few TV stations in the UK and European countries. It was far from a 24 hour a day service. Does anyone remember the epilogue as a prelude to close down?
Now with hundreds of TV and radio stations available to us carrying 24 hour news along with newspaper websites being constantly updated we never have any respite and know whats going on in the farthest corners of the world… and I haven’t even got round to social media.
But though we have become accustomed to this incessant barrage we appear to take in less. The pressures on journalists tends to make many of them report literally by cliches and numbers and not by facts. To much is taken for granted and nothing is new.
In short The News is suffering from Insomnia!
As appalled as I am by the latest outbreak of terrorism in Spain I could have written the headlines and the bulk of the story without knowing any of the facts. Without even being on the spot. There is one story line each and every journalist covering the tragedy picks up and uses no matter who they represent or where they are based.
“The people will not be cowered by this terrorist outrage.They will not let terrorism win.The brave people will not turn on each other”.
The people, be they in Paris, London. Berlin , Brussels, or now Barcelona, digest the headlines and pledge in voices loud and clear just that. Bloody outrages will not change their lives and they will continue to live their lives as normal.
We instantly feel proud of them and ourselves. But the facts do not bear out the euphoria.
Tourism in Paris has fallen away dramatically. France is now under semi-permanent martial law.
Germany is seeing the rise of far right anti immigrant groups. Austria has closed its borders to the East and Eastern Europe is almost closed to outsiders.
In London armed police on the streets and concrete boulders on many pavements have become the new normal. The old normal is dead.
We however go on living our lives content because we are assured all is fine. Our bravery is used like the Dunkirk spirit once was.
Its a substitute for action because action might be unpalatable.
So we sleep through the unpalatable .
Through our own readily digested fake news while the cameras roll on constantly telling us that evil will not triumph.
But with little proof to justify such a belief.