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Tuesday, 14 February 2017


I may be naive. I may wear rose-tinted glasses when thinking of the past. But I don't remember feeling manipulated by the news as I grew up. I may be wrong, of course. As I recall, in my young Belfast years, if a bomb exploded, the news reported that a bomb exploded. If a riot happened, the news reported a riot. If death or injury occurred, death or injury was reported. A few expert journalists offered analysis and that was that that. Sometimes I felt fear and worry and concern. But I didn't feel that I was being manipulated. Again, I may be wrong.

Now, decades on, and I feel like a piece of putty being twiddled between the finger and thumb of whoever is in charge. I am forced by a curious mixture of truth, lies, facts, fiction, spin, bullshit, open persuasion, hidden persuasion, mischief and emotional strategy sifted through news that isn't really news, 'news' that is opinion, propaganda and agenda-driven.

Daily, we have warnings, surveys, forecasts, 'expert' analysis ands all sorts of other ingredients in the melting pot, a cocktail of stuff designed to maintain a simmering hysteria.

As a result, I watch, listen to and read less 'news'. Why do I need a headful of blether and blah? Very carefully and selectively, I follow a small number of columnists and I give myself space to make up my own mind. I don't need or want an Eeyore like Huw Edwards to give me 'news' in a hangdog, run-for-your-life fashion. I resist Fiona Bruce's glam-news style. Such is the presentation of 'news', especially on television, that I neither feel informed or enthused to 'get involved' by tweeting and interacting in all the other crappy ways that form the menu of social media, although I do weaken at times.

I resist a lot of the nonsense of current affairs. The world has grown obese on meaningless words. We are in a swampy era of a claptrap diet, exemplified by, but not exclusively, the clowns in the circus that we used to respect as the White House, with all its flaws.

I withdraw as much as I can from the ex-politicians who now claim to be wise, unlike their kow-towing time in power.

Keep the long-term faith, people. The cretins are only in power for a relatively short time. Well, at least until the next cretins arrive.

Where, oh where, is that truly genuine, sincere, inspirational leader to guide the new generations to a bright future? To dream the impossible dream.........

Can you think of a truly great political leader anywhere in the world?

Either way, watch, listen to and read less 'news'. It's all clutter.

I may be naive.

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