Sunday, April 15, 2007

The truth market

Mark Borkowski offers his analysis of the debacle of Iranian hostages selling their stories to the redtops.

His basic argument presents the press as amoral; it's in the their nature to get a story and will adapt in any way they need to the circumstances and political climate to get a scoop. As for the MOD, they were naive, failing to take into account that PR - or at least media relations - is a fact of life.

Lessons, says Borkowski, can be learned from Hollywood. The media don't report the world, or reflect the world, or represent the world - they are the world.

Yes reality does exist beyond the newsroom but as any basic Media Studies textbook will confirm, media reality is systematically distorted. We're not necessarily talking about journalistic conspiracies to bend the truth. Very often the truth bends itself to jump onto the media bandwagon.

The Sun's exclusive report of 'brave Faye Turney's terror' is loaded with the assumptions of how a British servicewoman might expect to be treated by Iranian captors - potential rapists and violaters of her 'baby' (the boat, not her daughter, Molly).

Her reported reaction was that of a real trooper - 'F*** off'.

The Daily Mail's stance does at first sight present a veneer of morality. Their headline last Thursday was They won't be selling their story, minister. This comment, aimed at Defence Secretary Des Browne, appeared over a photo of a coffin of one of the British servicemen recently killed in Iraq.

Unsurprisingly, the story does not indicate how much money the Mail had itself offered for an Iranian hostage's story.

Filed under:
Mark Borkowski   Iranian Hostages   Sun  Daily Mail  Faye Turney   media relations

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