Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

What really matters?

October 7, 2008

As the world’s media is caught up in an economic free fall frenzy, share prices are dropping dramatically and financial stability is ever so fragile I ask myself one question; So ****ing what?

So what that the FTSE, ISEQ, Wall Street is down the tubes. So what that our banks and financial institutions are in crisis.

I ask myself- are these the stories that really matter? As we slide dramatically back to the days of 1929 and The ‘Great Depression’ looms large- Do I really care? The answer my pocket fumbling friends is NO, I don’t.

You may ask yourself- well, what should be making the world’s headlines while I’m flicking through my paper this morning? As I read about economic forecasts for 2009  I can’t help but wonder where are the things that really matter?

What I’m talking about are the news stories that actually affect not only every single one of us on the planet but our animal friends and our environment. While people are worrying about monetary instability what the hell does it matter if there isn’t fresh air to breath, clean water to drink or any trees left to give us oxygen to live.? What does the slide in the markets matter when I watch the destruction of the globe happen in front of my very eyes?

The stories that really matter are not the finanical crisis. The stories that matter are the environmental crises. The apathy to environmental issues by the media and the public at large disturbs me. As capitalism is in crisis why do our leaders and media moguls not seize the opportunity to once and for all change the focus to what really affects us?

 As I breath into my inhaler and I struggle with the adverse weather conditions on my way to the hospital to visit my uncle dying from cancer. I can no longer deny that climate change, our sedentary ‘first world’ lifestyles as well as environmental destruction doesn’t affect me.  It affects all of us and why aren’t we in a frenzy about it? Because we are too worried about the bank balance and the change in our pockets.

I’ll include a little example of the type of disaster I am talking about. It’s about the melting of Europe’s largest glacier in Iceland. No big deal…


Bitter pills to swallow (preferably not prescribed by NHS)

April 21, 2008

Thank goodness there are celebrities out there who can inform me of the injustice there is in the world. If it were not for these keenly up to date media moguls how would anything good ever happen?

It is with the utmost gratitude that I have to thank the ever so talented singer Joss Stone. Little Miss Stone has highlighted the abhorrent treatment of British Servicemen on their return from Her Majesty’s service. In her youthful modern tone of speech she told the Evening Standard newspaper: “I think the way the Government treats our soldiers is really f***** up. They can go to war and fight for our Queen and country but if they get their leg blown off they come back and are dealing with the NHS.”

“I think the NHS is the best thing about this country, but they should have a right to private treatment paid for by the Government.”

Not only is her impassioned speech endearing but it contains no hint of class elitism whatsoever. Does it?

Indeed the NHS is a fantastic service offered to Britons but we all know that private health care is better and who better to give it to then the military men who so deserve it.

Maybe Joss should be made aware that British Army chief Sir Richard Dannett is to launch a £2m a year service for former UDR and RIR soldiers in an effort to help them adjust to civilian life and cope with the legacy of the troubles. It was after all an incredibly difficult task those loyal sons of Ulster had in defending their sectarian statelet. The amount of suffering caused by the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent loss of a Protestant state for a Protestant people will be a pain that even £2m a year will never be enough to ease the trauma.

Who knows maybe Northern Ireland’s ministers can have a whip round for the Billy Boys who so loyally defended ‘their wee province’?

Bob Geldof and Bono could organise a special concert with concerned personalities such as Joss Stone to create awareness as nobody listens to people with credentials anymore.

Style over Substance

April 16, 2008

Taken From the BBC website thanks to

Italians have fallen for the not-so-subtle charms of Silvio Berlusconi once more.

Always ready to burst into a broad smile or to disarm an adversary with a personalised quip, he has swept up more votes than even he dreamed might be possible.

Silvio Berlusconi

A casa: on TV Mr Berlusconi appears to enjoy himself

His admirers say that he has an innate understanding of the Italian psyche and an almost Midas-like capacity to turn everything he touches to gold.

But, with a vast media empire that spans national TV stations, newspapers, advertising and film, his critics see a far darker figure lurking beneath the sunny surface, someone whose image and message is meticulously created and controlled.

One of Mr Berlusconi’s most outspoken critics is journalist Marco Travaglio, author of a series of controversial books on the media tycoon.

‘Shaping reality’

Mr Berlusconi’s pernicious control of Italy’s most-watched medium – television – Mr Travaglio says, is the key to explaining why Italians succumb time and again.

“He is incredibly good at using TV to alter, hide and change reality, to give people a completely deformed impression of himself,” he explains.

“Only those who read books and newspapers know about and remember the disaster that was his five years in power,” he says.

Mr Berlusconi’s period in office between 2001 and 2006 was Italy’s longest-serving government since World War II.

Silvio Berlusconi appears on television
He’s not the only one to enjoy the limelight – I know 57 million other Italians who enjoy it too
Clemente Mimun, Mediaset

Mr Berlusconi, he says, has been very adept at shaping reality to suit his own ends: “Italy has been living in a Truman Show for almost 20 years now.

“Berlusconi is the main character, the screenwriter, the cameraman, the light technician… it’s very difficult, living within his Truman Show, to be able to see its negative and grotesque aspects.”

But for Clemente Mimun, head of the daily Tg5 news programme at Mr Berlusconi’s Mediaset company, his friend Silvio’s appeal is far more straight-forward.

“He is seen as a nice guy, he’s successful.

“Berlusconi is a man who has built up businesses, made himself a bit of money and absolutely everything he has turned his hand to has been a success,” he explains by telephone from Milan.

“He is unique, he’s not a television phenomenon, he doesn’t have plastic politics.”

Having the last word

On the small screen, Mr Berlusconi works hard at looking relaxed and is adept at transforming himself from interviewee to television host.

He has a habit, particularly in election campaigns, of turning magician too – pulling tax cuts out of his hat as a final surprise.

But, as Mr Mimun says, there is nothing wrong with enjoying being in the spotlight. Indeed, it is yet another facet of the national character that he shares with many of his electorate, he suggests.

It doesn’t matter what actually happens in Italy. All that matters is what he [Berlusconi] wants you to know
Marco Travaglio

“He’s not the only one to enjoy the limelight – I know 57 million other Italians who enjoy it too,” Mr Mimun says.

“Listen, in 1994 – when he got into politics – he already had a whole series of TV stations – he didn’t need any excuses if he wanted to get on TV.

“You must look beyond the choreography – to his solid political manifesto, his real pragmatism, his successful life. The man is not just good, he is brilliant.”

A career built on managing television networks has made Mr Berlusconi only too aware of the medium’s hold over the Italian electorate.

In the campaign he initially refused to take part in a live, televised head-to-head with his younger rival, Walter Veltroni – whose communication skills he has repeatedly praised – citing Italy’s rules on equal airtime for all parties.

In the end he took part in a “virtual dual”. Both candidates were interviewed in the same studio, but separately, one after the other.

Determined to have the very last word, however, Mr Berlusconi leapt up from his white armchair and crossed into vision in the closing moments of the programme.

Much to the consternation of the presenter, he managed to address the camera and tell viewers that voting for his rivals would be a wasted vote.

Information wars

Despite these exuberant moments, Mr Mimun is convinced that the international portrayal of Mr Berlusconi as a buffoon reveals a lack of neutrality.

Silvio Berlusconi appears on Italian television

As a guest, Mr Berlusconi is often tempted to seize control

“When I hear about an English newspaper criticising Berlusconi I do wonder if an Italian newspaper article lambasting Gordon Brown would receive as much coverage on British TV,” he says.

Most ordinary Italians, he adds, are a bit puzzled by the foreign media’s obsession with the new prime minister’s ongoing conflict of interests.

“Italians are a strange race. They tell lies when you ask them who they voted for at the exit polls; they don’t admit to looking at horoscopes but then they do; they are all too ready to condemn the system of nepotism but only too happy to use it when it suits them – it’s a dual morality.”

But for Mr Travaglio – banished from state TV Rai during Mr Berlusconi’s previous period in office – it is precisely his control of influential portions of the media that allow him to come back to life, again and again.

“It doesn’t matter what actually happens in Italy,” he says. “All that matters is what he wants you to know.”