SENSATIONALISED MEDIA

For the first time since 2009 (when I spent 3 months on a small island in Honduras with no technology), I am beginning to feel relaxed… despite the noisy 2 year old who shares our lives.

I think, one of the reasons for this (aside from the weather and stunning scenery) is the laughable media in Australia. The pieces are poorly written, often with spelling mistakes, and the topics are regularly beyond amusing; “Wayne’s car was stolen last night from outside his home in (insert obscure township name here). The local citizens rallied together in an effort to locate the culprit…” At the end of the story, we usually discover that they all chipped in a fiver and bought him a new vehicle.

These are the sorts of stories that occupy 90% of the internet/newspaper/TV news releases. And I love it! There is of course a balance to be had – and on occasion we are politely reminded that there are a few wars currently ongoing, and that some other actor/politician in A.N.Other Country has done something rather comical… but gone is the ramming of hysterical media down my throat. In the UK, before I had even stepped out my front door, BBC News had found 15 different ways to remind me that the “evil powers of some country were trying to kill everyone and we should be fearful and the Government isn’t helping etc.” I could go on, but I am sure you get the gist.

I think it reached a point that everything in the news was so depressing. The Daily Mail continued to misquote and misrepresent everything NHS related, the Daily Star plodded on with its tales of celebrity drug/rehab escapades (and boobies on page 3), and the Guardian/Telegraph/Times maintained their usual fisticuffs over political stances and war.

What happened to the morale boosting news? The tales of rags to riches? The story about this Guy who did some extraordinary good dead/thing and we should all be very proud of him? I get it… Yes, there is war, famine, death, illegal immigrants. I understand that we need to know about it. But each day, you report the exact same information. So let’s take a break? Tell me something to lift my spirits! Remind me that the world isn’t such a bad place and that there is good in our lives.

2 months after arriving in Perth, there was a terrible incident on the East Coast. A group of people who were sat in a cafe were attacked and held at gun point for many many hours. The culprit? A Muslim extremist, hellbent on showing us the error of our ways. To curtail a lengthy story, this event and the deaths of those involved gave rise to the the #illridewithyou movement. Rather than hatred towards Muslims, the powers spoke out about acceptance, and understanding. People recognised that the crazed words of a few did not represent the thoughts of the masses.

Why was this possible? Well I am not convinced that the same effect would be seen in the UK. Australians are profoundly proud to be who they are, and the way media stories are written makes this giant nation feel like a tiny village. People feel closer to each other. So Wayne, in Wooloolmooloo (Yes that is a real place), I’m so sorry to hear about your Ute getting pinched Bud. 

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