Mainstream Media Maladies

Here we are again, Ruth Davidson, ever the champion of sticking to the day job, has given a speech on the economy this evening at Glasgow University. Her press team informed journalists in advance that she wouldn’t be answering questions or giving any interviews. So far, so the very same as last time and the time before. As an elected politician, it is incumbent on you to be able to not just articulate your position to the public but to defend it when subjected to scrutiny. This is the very essence of politics and the fact that the Leader of the Opposition in the Scottish Parliament is allowed to blithely stage manage event after event in this way, without the slightest scintilla of media dissent speaks volumes for the state of the media in Scotland.

Far from there being an outcry in the Herald, Scotsman or Record, or indeed from the myriad BBC journalists encamped at Pacific Quay, it is left to Channel 4’s Ciaran Jenkins to act as the conscience of his profession. He tweeted that it was important that we knew they had tried. This in itself would seem quite an innocuous comment until you delve into the reasons why he thinks it is important that we know they tried.

He knows and we know that there is an incredible disconnect between the mainstream broadcast and print media in Scotland and the lived experiences of her people. There is a marked reluctance within their ranks to ever describe anything the SNP have done in Government in a positive light, with the Sun going as far as to meticulously set a baby box ablaze in order to attempt to discredit a popular and credit-worthy idea that has an important principle at it’s core, the idea that every child should get a good start in life regardless of the financial circumstances of the parents.

The mainstream media in Scotland, and I use this term very deliberately, rather than the “Scottish media”, simply does not portray the reality of everyday life any more. Their fingers have slipped from the pulse of the country to her pockets, desperately trying to grasp some more money before their day is done. It is unrealistic to expect people to pay to support a media that is at odds with their aspirations, and which seems to believe that attacking the most popular political party in Scotland is the way to sell papers. Even the once trusted Sunday Herald has lost it’s sheen, with the lamentations of their journalists filling both the paper and their twitter feeds after completely deserved criticism for a woefully thought out front page that appeared to belittle the Yes movement. It was all rather Ratner-esque to behold. No business makes money by bellowing loudly and obnoxiously that their customers are the ones who are wrong.

I would encourage Yes supporters to give financial support to new media and in particular to the likes of Phantom Power who has recently launched an ambitious film project. This is where the future lies, not the noisily bleating mainstream media.