This posting is a straightforward lift from the Channel Islands Forum (http://www.channelislandsforum.co.uk/ ) and was written by “UserName”.
Posted at 9.54 a.m on Monday 24th January – and linked to this blog via comments – a number of my readers contacted me, in admiration of the article, but a little perturbed that they had to be registered on the original forum in order to post comments there. I was asked if I’d reproduce the work of the OP here.
The article is very perceptive and accurate; all Channel Islanders who want to gain some real insight into just how we are routinely manipulated should read it and share it with others.
As I’m very busy working on various legal matters, I haven’t yet had time to finish my next posting which will deal with the legal options available to survivors of Jersey’s child abuse disaster. But, until then, the article I reproduce below is more than enough food for thought.
THE QUALITY OF LOCAL JOURNALISM
(First published on the Channel Island Forum, Monday, 24th January 2011.)
The local bloggers seem a bit upset about just how poor the local journalists are at investigating anything properly, so here's how it is for those who haven't fully realised:
'Follow The Money' is, as ever, key to understanding how it works.
Channel TV is a good place to start. This is a local franchise that exists purely to make money for the shareholders, like any other company. There is zero obligation to do anything useful or helpful for anyone other than those who stand to make a profit from it. If they could, they would happily just relay the programmes from ITV London in full, save for inserting local adverts - and rake in the cash. The only thing stopping that happy state of affairs is OFCOM regulation ensuring that a certain amount of News is produced.
So you own a local TV station money spinner and want to come up with a news programme? Much of it can be sport, which is dead easy to film and comment upon, nice and simple. The weather isn't going to be expensive to cover either, which just leaves the actual What's Happening Out There. Thankfully there is a vast pool of wannabe TV stars eager to appear on the screen as a stepping stone to fame and fortune in the UK and beyond, so it's easy enough to recruit these fresh faced pawns to go out and record local events, accidents, and hooray! - local politics is so easy! Simply stand in the Royal Square and point a camera at any local politician who wants to increase their profile to help their next election prospects!
There's no need to really question anything or probe into the real background to any story or issues, as they wouldn't want to ruffle any feathers. The main business of CTV is selling airtime. Adverts bring in the money. From successful businesses. Run by their fellow businessfolk. Who mix with them socially. A self perpetuating ruling class who stick together with no real loyalties but to their own bank balances, but who collectively act as The Establishment in effect, or The Oligarchy according to the bloggers - a term which is scoffed at in some quarters but if you fully appreciate how the island society hangs together, is entirely accurate whether you like it or not.
There is simply No Chance Whatsoever, and no motivation for, any attempt to cover political issues in any real depth or expose any wrongdoings by anyone in a position of power, on the whole. Unless someone somewhere has fallen out of favour, can be disposed of without comeback because they have no dirt on anyone else - then, in that case, they can really go to town on finishing them off. Then they can congratulate themselves on what great journalists they are. Maybe apply for an award.
The same applies to Channel 103fm radio. It's all about airtime, baby. The only reason they make any effort to be entertaining is to sell advertising space. It's Lowest Common Denominator stuff - no edgy music or variety; just inoffensive background muzak with some inane humour if they can find a mug DJ to supply some, keep the audience research listening figures high enough so that the sales team can go and sell airtime.
They also produce the bare minimum of local news to satisfy their licence conditions, with no wish to upset their customers - the business community. What, you thought the Audience were their customers?! Hell no, radio isn't a service for the listeners, the listeners are the PRODUCT - that enables the money to flow inwards and onwards to the shareholders.
The shareholders of a radio station are of course totally uninterested in radio. It's just a cash cow for them. When the licence for a local commercial station was first put out to tender, there were applications from groups who actually loved the whole concept of radio for what it was. Enthusiasts caught up in the glamour and excitement of music broadcasting to an appreciative audience. But, naturally, the local frequency was awarded to the applicants consisting of local oligarchs, conservative establishment politicians, and people who had already set up BBC Radio Jersey a decade earlier. Keep it in the family, you see?
Is the local press likely to be any different? No, of course not. Sell adverts, fill the rest of the pages with just enough easily found words and photos to keep the punters picking up each copy they print. And the mug punters love it! Over a hundred quid a year to buy a JEP every day they print one, killing a tree in the process. There's just enough reporting of local social events to engender some sense of 'bringing the community together' - or in other words establish a GroupThink effect to subtly brainwash the readers into all agreeing with the editors' outlook upon life. Perfect for those who don't want to think for themselves - they can just follow the herd as usual.
Journalism, what journalism? In a one horse race like Jersey's, there's no competitive need to beat the rivals to a scoop and gain more readers. In a large market the paper with the best stories wins for that day, keeping everyone on their toes. Journalists can actually do that journalist thing and go find real stories!
Competition works! (but the those in the game hate it, naturally - they'd much prefer an easy ride). In Jersey there is that easy ride, no competition, people simply subscribe to the JEP and pick it up each day regardless of what's in it! So the lazy reporters can simply cut and paste from the press releases handed to them on a plate. Bingo. Job done, no need to actually question anyone.
That's it for commercial journalism in Jersey. You either toe the line and keep the Ruling Class (the wealthy) happy if you want to remain in the island and employed, or out you go on the next boat or plane in the morning and try your luck in the Big Wide Real World instead.
Our only other source of paid journalism is from the BBC. Here the situation is different, because Following The Money leads us to a similar set of overpaid managers, but not to corporate shareholders - instead the whole setup is dedicated to continuing to rake in money from the captive audience of unwitting licence feepayers, keeping the BBC Charter going, keeping Auntie Beeb alive, keeping the employees together. Don't rock this boat, chaps, it's a wonderful gravy train alright!
In Jersey the BBC trick is to produce cheap radio (presenters are ego maniacs who love the sound of their own voices and would do it for nothing if they were honest enough to admit it) by playing safe and dull music to the over 50s if they can get away with it, and for speech content there's a never ending supply of people eager to appear on the air. "Did you hear me on the radio the other day?" - "Oooh, you were very good!" etc.
There's no danger of the wheels falling off this juggernaut. The whole thing is so well set up that they have staff who actually fall for the whole 'public service' line, hook, sinker, etc., because there is some element of that. But mainly it's about keeping going, stay employed, keep it safe and don't rock the boat. If any decent programmes happen to rise to the top, then some National Pride can come into play too! Yay!! Aren't we lucky to have the BBC and their quality programmes?!
As usual, what is actually talked about amongst the normal everyday people of the island is completely different to what appears on any of the 'accredited media' offerings. At any social gathering, the state of the island and its management is always slated completely. Politicians are loathed. The media is derided. Yet, there's no evidence of this to an outsider who can only see or hear what is printed or broadcasted. The new age of media website comments allows some small amount of real feedback, but the outsider will only see a sanitised version, where dissenting views are made out to look like rantings of lone disaffected whingers. Any stories that could be really controversial don't allow public comments!
We were brought up to pity the poor unfortunates in the Commie countries where the media was overtly controlled propaganda, and be thankful how free we were. Is it really so different here after all? There may not be a military government censor installed at each media outlet to adjust what the brainwashed plebs receive, but by the magic of social engineering the end result is pretty much similar.
If you want the truth, you'll have to get out there and find it for yourself, keep an ear to the ground where the truth can't be hidden. Thankfully the late 20th century brought us the internet to make that easier. The blogs and forums allow real facts to emerge, blinking, into the daylight at last. You'll still have to make an effort to look around and find it, but the truth is there if you can face it and honestly accept it. No wonder the paid media dismiss the bloggers as un-accredited and unworthy of attention. They're running scared!
First posted Monday 24th January
Channel Island Forum