Have I got news for you

Rookwood, Going Postal
“Newspaper rack” by NS Newsflash is licensed under CC BY 2.0

My adopted father, now probably long enough in the grave that there are no physical remains bar a simple skeleton, had a down to earth approach towards the idiot lantern. If he didn’t like what was on television, there was always the “Off” button. Concerning daily newspapers, as a commercial traveller, he was not held captive by the regular commute, so these were rarely seen in our household, except as the result of an impulse buy during the weekly shop. My memory is unclear here, as my grandmother on my mothers side, used to collect the cartoon sections from the Sunday Post as I was an avid follower of “Oor Wullie”. The “Weekly News” was also contained in our regular hand-me-down bundle, along with a cornucopia of other magazines including the “The People’s Friend”, “Woman’s Own” and other “Glossies”. The only other exception to our minimalist media expenditure, including the obligatory TV licence, was our regular purchase of the local paper. Apart from the imprint of yesterdays news on our fish suppers, that was about the sum total of the media penetration into our lives. No Internet, no mobile phones. News travelled either by word of mouth, television, radio, or the established press. As a result, we lived simpler, less complex lives, not having to consider the source of every jot and tittle. Even in the car, all was quiet, apart from family squabbles. We didn’t even have a radio there. I remember the outrage in our household over the decision of “The Sun” to publish “Page 3 girls”. “The Sun” was no longer welcome in our household from that day forth.

Financially, as a family, we were not on the breadline, but neither were we able to break out of the inherent poverty trap that socialism, subtly, imposes upon society. We lived in a council house, and I remember to this day the grief on my fathers’ face as he had to sell the only car that he had ever owned, to make ends meet due to another job redundancy. My parents, baulking at hire purchase and debt, did their best to stay away from such temptations. Such evil was only contemplated when the cooker or the refrigerator expired, and I remember well the weekly trips as a child to the reinforced, secured, glass enshrouded cash office of our local large department store to pay our dues. I also remember the lights going out in my mothers’ eyes when looking around a new show house, realising with abject horror, this was something we could never expect to achieve as a family. With a febrile economy, and my father being made redundant more times than the fingers of both hands, we could never guarantee that we would repay that debt. Once you let go of a council house, it is gone forever. Thank goodness we had decent neighbours. My mother, bless her soul, even considered returning to work to make it happen. The cold, hard economic reality was simple. Who wants a pair of middle aged, ex-wartime survivors as employees? My father served as a Redcap, or to those uninitiated to such terms, as a military policeman. My mother worked for the NAAFI, The Navy, Army and Air Force Institute. Both paid their dues, in their own, very personal, way. My mother would regale us with wartime tales of cook house scandal, my father keeping totally schtum. To this day, I don’t know what he saw, heard, or experienced, but an important period of his life was very present by its absence. The war, like many things, was off limits to any further discussion.

The media are very good at suggesting “Red lines” when it comes down to political machinations, conveniently forgetting that they are a big part of the problem. Introspection is not an inherent media trait, apart from mass, faux, emotional posturing and gesture. Promoted to the position of “Holier than thou”, as a cabal, they pride themselves on being an outpost in the oldest rhetorical argument in the book, the appeal to authority. After all, they are unbiased, objective, and have a ear to the ground. As an alleged “Public square”, they are meant to represent the voice of all, a smorgasbord of opinion, and at the same time, make some sense of it all. A difficult task, but let us not forget that the established media has survived through two world wars, numerous economic collapses and are currently acting like a male teenager suffering from an overdose of Viagra when it comes to the current Covid “Crisis”. Exactly what the media is spaffing right now, I will leave down to our current Prime Minister and the reader to decide, but I respectfully suggest that it is not prime, fertile semen, but something much more solid and diverse in colour and aroma, and from a very different opening indeed. Add to this, the unconscionable bias you have shown during the US elections, and the writing is on the wall. Media, you are no longer to be trusted, if indeed there was any trust there in the first place.

I get accused of ranting, but my rants are always based on facts. Sales of the Sunday Post in Scotland were once so high that it was recorded in The Guinness Book of Records. In 2016, they managed a circulation of 143,000. From a zenith of 2,931,000, that is a readership loss of 95%. A staggering amount. Why the carnage? Demographics and technology have played a part, but on the brand level, you have committed the ultimate sin. You have betrayed your readership. So as a former employee of a major consultancy that prided itself on brand renewal, let me give you, the media, some free advice. I am on your side, and by just saying that, I know I will be hated by some. Fleas and dogs and all of that. I, however, am a stalwart in believing that a free, objective, press is an essential component of a working democracy. So if you have any sense, you will listen to what I have to say.

There are some things in life that are just plain wrong. I live in a relatively small community with a local newspaper, a mendacious local authority and a big business interest in tow. Prior to the elections some time back, our local paper was apoplectic with invective against the local council on a weekly basis, to the point that if the leader farted, the headlines would suggest the world was ending. Now that the opposing political stripe is in place, all is sweetness and light, and they can do no wrong, despite the current team coming perilously close to legal action for malfeasance and corruption. That, totally separate from any ongoing potential fiscal “Irregularities”, easily involving millions of taxpayer pounds and the rest. The previous leader was no saint, but they were not an abject crook either.

So my first port of call when I wanted to expose this to the sunlight of disinfectant was the national media. I will give them their due, they wanted evidence and sufficient “Vox populi” to publish and treated me fairly. The problem is, the system and pensions tie people in. We had reached the point that individuals didn’t so much care about their job, the new regime had seen to that. They were worried about the more subtle repercussions, if it came down to a protracted battle. Much is said about pigs at the trough when it comes to local government employees, but little is said about the fact that you have to go the full length of the race to get anything worthwhile if you are at the bottom. If you were within 10 years of retirement, would you blow the whistle and lose your pension? Or place yourself open to potentially bankrupting legal action?

I would have rather gone to my local newspaper. To this day, I am willing to believe that my name has not been disclosed, for if it had, I’m sure the wrath of my local council would have descended upon my head. I would also have heard about it, as I still have many friends there. I doubt if the same would be the case if the local press were involved. Their partisanship is vomit inducing, and I resist the temptation to go drinking in town, for if I encountered a loose brick on the pavement, their window would accidentally be its first port of call.

Media, of all stripes, listen up. There are two levels of legal proof required. One is balance of probabilities, the other beyond all reasonable doubt. You have played games with the former, toying and twisting it to make it appear as the latter, and then rescinding responsibility when you cannot even meet that basic threshold. You have swapped sides like a corpulent, bloated, alcohol and food addled cartoon sitting on a porcelain throne, unable to decide whether to piss, shit or vomit. To paraphrase George Bush, you are either for us or against us. Clearly, you are against us. Currently, and your circulation figures supports this observation, despite the death of the ageing population and the evolution towards the Internet. For any readership you acquire expects one simple thing. Trust.

If you want to recover from this tailspin into mediocrity, or indeed, infamy, I’d recommend a few things. Rather than making the news, go out and find some. Hire a plethora of investigative journalists. Develop some relationships, if under the current circumstances that is at all possible, and report on what you find. Be brave. Be truthful. Forget about any offence to the local council, the local constabulary, the local BAME hostel or whatever. Report on the wrongdoing the man on the Clapham Omnibus points you to. Use your connections, your weight, your authority, for the benefit of the little man, rather than accepting political agendas and narratives that are way beyond your station in life. Your role is to honestly report, not to sell agendas or lifestyle. You are not advertisers or some woodworm encrusted billboard. You are one of many moral guardians. And for goodness sake, develop some self respect. Cease this incessant fixation with celebrity. By pandering to the lowest common denominator you are not helping to raise people out of poverty and ignominy,  but giving that lifestyle credibility. But most of all, if you want to achieve anything other than transient print on the back of some wet fish, I would point you the following.

Those that are remembered valiantly nail their colours to the mast. So far, the media as a body, have pretty much decided to accept at face value the corrupt, globalist interpretation of the universe. There are other interpretations out there as well, and you very well know that. You also know that your false flag, conspiracy theory, of “Fake news” has lost all credibility with your dwindling audience. When you have hundreds, thousands, of citizen journalists on the case, they can’t all be deluded, paranoid liars. So come, join us. Hoist the white flag, and humbly admit you picked the wrong side, and cross over to reality and truth. Dump the “Deep state” plants amongst your cartel, that influence your agenda so much. We will welcome you, albeit with some cynicism, for we will duly require adequate proof of your substantial and robust repentance. The only alternative is circulation oblivion.

Truth, as Pilate said, is difficult to ascertain. Politically, morally and spiritually, left and right are equally as guilty. As are black, white, gay, heterosexual, whatever. One thing remains though. If you wish your reputation to be forever associated with the father of lies, just carry on the way you are going. Your only audience will be the remains of my disgruntled and enraged mother and father, betrayed and trapped into a life of mediocrity by listening to you.

© Rookwood 2020

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file