I just saw an interesting documentary by Adam Curtis entitled A film about how all of us have become Richard Nixon. Have we become a nation of ‘paranoid weirdos’ with journalists fueling the fire through immoral and unethical reporting? The internet allows even faster communication of information with many stories passing from one person to the next like chinese whispers. The truth is more often than not distorted, yet the root of the issue lies not in the content but our capacity to accept what we are being told as reality. A prime example was the Telegraph’s distortion of Professor Stephen Scott’s comments at the think tank Demos last year regarding the positives of same sex parenting. The Telegraph’s Amy Willis reported that Scott, (who is director of research at the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners) had stated “Lesbians make better parents than a man and a woman”. This statement (in which Scott was misquoted) was taken completely out of context and sensationalised for the sake of a news story. But should we be suspicious of everything we read? There is a need to have an increased awareness of the underlying codes and systems that produce such stories, and the part we play in their growing prominence in the way world events are reported. But let’s not become a society in the grips of fear and mistrust of everything we read – surely there is still quality journalism we can trust and rely on.
Check out Curtis discussing whether we have become paranoid weirdos here: