July 18, 2014

Horse 1715 - This is The News

Beckfords Bank rose 6 cents to $31.52, The Imperial Bank also rose 24 cents to $66.72.
The mining sector did well on the back of an announcement of forward steel contracts with Plotchka. King Solomons mines close up at $44.13, Oliver Ore close on a high at $9.55 and Pentasilver announced a higher than expected which led to a 7% run and they closed at $10.88 at the end of today's trading.

More rockets struck the Bordurian capital Marxstadt as tensions continue to mount between Borduria and Syldavia. An estimated 70 people have been killed and at least two hundred have been killed, Bordurian state media reports.

The stars came out to shine last night as actress Sophia Aston made an appearance at the Royal Picture Palace for the opening of her new film "A Mysterious Engagement".


As you may have guessed, not of the above news stories are real. Maybe there is such a thing as the Beckfords Bank somewhere in the world just to prove me wrong in spite. Maybe Borduria and Syldavia are still at war with each other (I don't know - Tintin will report on that for Le Soir), and maybe there really is some celebrity called Sophia Ashton but does it even matter?

Regular readers to this blog will very quickly come to the conclusion that I am a voracious consumer of news. Usually on any given day, I will have read The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian by about midday; my favourite radio stations are ABC News Radio, and (apart from being old) ABC Radio National. I like SBS and ABC's nightly news bulletins and television shows like Dateline and Lateline.
However, even I will concede that for the most part, most news stories from around the world, at least in relation to my own life, are completely and totally irrelevant.

I'm going to suggest something absolutely horrible hear but even with ISIS tramping through the northern provinces in Iraq; Palestine and Israel declaring a cease-fire in Round 38,209 of their ongoing and otherwise pointless perpetual conflict; almost 40 people being wiped out by a typhoon in the Philippines, none of these mean squat all in real terms with relation to directly affecting my life; even though they're all horrible for the displaced and injured people who are affected.

Equally, I do not care for the banal "human interest" stories which commercial television stations (yes Channel 7 I'm looking at you) like to dress up as news and evidently as ABC's Media Watch has pointed out on the odd occasion, the gossip magazine when "reporting" on the passing parade of soap stars and their affairs, don't care for fact checking.

Finance news is equally pointless for the most part. Merely telling us that shares in X, Y, B, C, Q and J have risen or fallen or that some indicator has moved 3% is not only completely irrelevant to the general public whose maths skills are poor. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian will both print useful stuff like Price/Earnings Ratios and Trends, but the people who actually make a living by shifting numbers around a computer screen, already have access to oodles of information and I seriously doubt whether they are using newspapers as even a tertiary source of information.

On that front, what really gives me the irrits is that only the ABC & SBS will tend to report news through a semi-objective lens. The Sydney Morning Herald will cast judgement and The Australian will cuss and yell and try to dictate policy but report it as news.
Mostly, as far as I can make out, the commercial news stations are just another drama show like Neighbours, Home & Away, the WWE and The Herald-Sun's coverage of Australian Rules Football.
The news that actually affects peoples' lives, is the enactment of policy, whether it's done by business of government. Most of that news is never reported at all though.

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