Friday, 28 October 2011

Tory media in cynical liars shock!

Earlier this week, the Daily Telegraph took a thermal imaging camera down to the Occupy London camp outside St. Paul's Cathedral and turned it on the tents. Next day, screaming headlines in all the rightwing papers claiming that the protesters were 'part-time' and therefore lazy untrustworthy scum.

"It is like a phantom camp – a big charade," said Matthew Richardson, a Corporation of London councillor, who is calling for action to be taken.
"It just shows that most of the people don't have the courage of their convictions and are here just to make trouble and leaving your tent here overnight is a good way to do that."

Then all the TV stations took it up.

Apparently nobody on the newspaper was scientifically literate enough to work out that modern tents tend to be thermally efficient. The occupants' body heat is reflected back into the tent to keep them warm. The protesters have made this point rather wittily: by hiring the very same camera and demonstrating what happens when hot bodies climb into a tent:

Specifics aside, this is a perfect example of churnalism. A partisan report isn't subjected to any scrutiny by editors because it suits the ideological perspective of the newspaper. Political allies pick it up, as do other media outlets because it's a 'new angle' and creates conflict, which is what drives all news stories. The need for speed means that no fact-checking or scrutiny is conducted at any point - and so an untruth becomes prime-time news and nobody learns anything. That's churnalism!

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