15 May, 2010

News Update

In ancient times, like Greek or Roman or Egyptian or those other places like Mesopotamia that I can barely spell. It doesn't matter. The point was back in the past when everyone except the rich went about on foot. Back then, the rich people used to pay people to bring them their news.

It was a hazardous occupation. You'd be despatched from your News Hut to a location many miles away. Possibly crossing a continent just to get to the location. You might manage to do some of the journey on foot, but inevitably there'd be mountains that needed climbing, dense forests that would tear at your clothes and flesh, wild beasts with hunger in their eyes, enemy armies looking to make sport with a weakling from the other side of the border and even cut-throat thieves who'd think you were worth the risk.

And then you'd arrive at your destination and find out what was required.

If it was bad news, you might be thinking whether or not your life would be immeasurably safer without your master's unpredictable temper being the deciding factor in whether you have an early death or not.

The return journey would be even more dangerous and eventually, after weeks away from your master's home, you'd return. You'd stagger up to his throne, tell him the news... and then die, exhausted, at his feet.

I mention this because in the week leading up to the coalition government, Sky News got more attention than ever for some spectacularly unprofessional behaviour on the part of its reporters. First, Kay Burley bullied a protester on live TV, refusing to let him speak and being generally hostile. Then, a live report on Tuesday saw Adam Boulton completely lose it in an exchange with former Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell. Campbell remained calm and authoritative while Boulton spat furiously and accused him of somehow manipulating the election into a situation where... what, Adam? You're claiming Campbell and Mandelson conspired to make sure the Conservatives got into power?

You sad, paranoid idiot, working for an international joke. A terrifying, powerful, disgusting joke, but a joke nonetheless.

It was magnificent to see, and courtesy of many YouTube viewers, it's now been seen by so many more people than were watching at the time.

- Boulton v Campbell on Sky News. "Dignity... dignity..."

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