I complain about the shit that’s called “news” these days, but I’m not silly/elitist/wankery enough to believe that all news should be Serious Political Reporting About Serious Things. Of course there’s room in there for less-serious news and silly news. The problem is that the stupid stuff has moved from the last story of the bulletin or the weird news section on the website, and now sits alongside the real news.
And by stupid news I mean the mother-in-law email about manners that’s been reported by Fairfax, News Ltd and the ABC today. Seriously, a news story about an email that was forwarded to other people? In the nineties, sure, but now? Earth to Brint, it’s 2011 for fuck’s sake.
Besides being embarrassed for the MSM, I think reporting this story is a gross invasion of privacy. It is very clearly a private email between two people who are not public figures – and even if they were, unless the contents of the email were at odds with their public persona, there’s no legitimate news reason to publish it. And what happens to the relationship between the mother, son and partner now, after such an international embarrassment? The news editors in the UK and Australia who ran this story are responsible for damaging relationships within this family, all so their audiences can have a bit of a giggle. There is a very big difference between something the public may be interested in, and something that’s in the public interest. (This is why I wasn’t a successful journalist.)
When the MSM reports on “funny things on the internet” it feels like they are desperately trying to convince people that they’re relevant. That they’re hip, and they know what the cool kids are doing. Particularly because by the time the MSM reports on the “funny internet thing”, the rest of us have already seen it.