Read All About It

We don’t consume as much news as other nations, apparently.

People in the UK consume less news than those in the US and some European countries, according to a study.

Some 75% of people in the UK read, watch or listen to a news story every day, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism survey suggests.

By contrast, nine out of 10 Germans access the news every day.

It’s probably fair to say that I am one of the 75%. That said, I haven’t bought a newspaper for many years. Indeed, the first time I made a conscious decision to stop paying for my news was in 1979 in the lead up to the general election. My political views at the time were somewhat different, but the decision wasn’t based upon that. It was the effrontery of the newspaper magnates who thought it was okay for them to instruct me how to vote.

I was pretty young at the time, so I guess the naiveté was excusable, but I had assumed –  hoped, perhaps –  that the news was presented to me in an unbiased fashion so that I could make up my own mind. Okay, yes, even then, I didn’t really believe that to be the case. It was just that the naked partisanship going on, forced me to have nothing to do with them. Certainly I was not going to give them my money so that they could thrust their political viewpoint down my throat.

Maybe I am not alone. Maybe, though, many more just don’t care. Given that what is presented as “news” more often than not is thinly disguised propaganda, why should we? My own approach is to look at a  variety of different sources and try to draw out the facts from the mix of partisan reports. Somewhere between the hysterical authoritarian Daily Mail and the statist, leftist, authoritarian Guardian and the BBC peddling their oppressive agenda of state control over our lives there are nuggets of fact. I dig for them. Many seem not to be bothered with the effort. The downside of this is an unwillingness to look beyond what government decrees. A sister-in-law the other year who parroted the line that it is the government’s place to make her and her family safe –  no matter what liberties are trampled in the process –  was a depressing glimpse of the reality. This was an intelligent woman that I have known for decades. There was no convincing her otherwise, either. She, I suspect, is the majority here. So, while it might be tempting to draw a positive conclusion from the headline, pessimism rules, I think.

The study also suggested that UK readers have less interest in politics, and more interest in celebrity news, than their European counterparts.


5 comments for “Read All About It

  1. Mudplugger
    July 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Having been a news addict since the 1960s, often tried to go cold turkey but failed, I now treat the news media as a daily intellectual challenge. Perusing as much of it as feasible, then trying to tease out the scintilla of real factual news, deeply buried under an overwhelming blanket of spin, preference or celebrity nonsense, fills in the day nicely.
    Trouble is, and unlike most things, it’s getting harder with every passing year. But at least I’m still trying – later generations never got started, which makes all the spinners’ objectives so much easier to achieve.

  2. meltemian
    July 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Since moving to Greece 5 years ago I never buy newspapers (they’re 5 times the price, half the content and at least a day old) and rely on blogs for the real news, on-line newspapers for headlines and the BBC for gossip.
    I reckon I’m far more informed now than I ever was before.

  3. john in ches,hire
    July 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    meltemian, like you I read some on-line newpapers for the headlines (and particular journalists such as Christopher Booker and James Delingpole), I read blogs for proper informed news and opinion. I don’t go to the bbc at all if I can help it. We can’t be the only normal people in England (or Greece). I wonder what question was asked in the survey because if it was along the lines of tick which newspapers you buy each day, then I’d show up as nil. But if they asked me to tick which blogs I read each day, I’d probably show up as reading too much. So, for me, this is just another piece of pseudo-research and it is quite at home on the bbc website along with climate change hysteria.

  4. Greg Tingey
    July 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Booker is good on child abductions & state terror against parents, but is quite mad over GW ..
    Delingpole is just sectionable…..

  5. Furor Teutonicus
    July 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    XX Some 75% of people in the UK read, watch or listen to a news story every day, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism survey suggests.

    By contrast, nine out of 10 Germans access the news every day.XX

    How do they work out “access”? If they are just taking the time people sit in front of the T.V, and average out the amount of news they are lkely to see in that time, then they are comparing chalk and cheese.

    Commercial breaks will often have five minutes of news thrown in. News on the hour, and half hour bulletins. Radio, (German radio is SHITE), every 15 minutes or so is a news “preview”, an half hour bulletin, and a full gubbins on the hour.

    I don’t know if Britain has changed, but last I was there, you were looking at maybe a quarter of that, or even less.

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