Monthly Archives: October 2014

It’s the end of the world, or is it?

If you believe the media we are all going to die. Sorry to be morbid about it, but basically that’s it for us. If Ebola doesn’t get you then the quadruple dip recession, that we are apparently teetering on the edge of, will mean we won’t be able to afford as much as a piece of bread. And if you are lucky enough to be spared these fates, struggling around in haz-mat suits and desperately trying to avoid anyone else sneezing on you, then there is always the impending global warming disaster and power shortages to look forward to.

Not much of a choice really; catch an aggressive virus, starve to death in abject poverty or freeze to death in the dark. Lets be honest, it is a bit like the Daily Mail made a disaster movie. But the problem is that this bleak outlook is simply not accurate. Only this week scientists have started saying that they may have drastically overestimated the onset of global warming and that the effects are likely to be less severe than first thought. And whilst this week the recession is back on, last week everyone was in recovery. So what on earth is going on?

What it basically boils down to is that the news corporations have nothing better to do with their time than lead us all up and down the garden path. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, you can take it or leave it. But when it does become a problem is when they start reporting unhelpful things about the spread of a virus like Ebola. At the end of the day we aren’t really impacted if a footballer did or didn’t do something, or even if the latest Yew Tree suspect is guilty. They are both relevant stories but they don’t individually affect us. However, reporting that the Ebola virus can be spread through the air is not just inaccurate, it is irresponsible. It causes panic in a lot of people who get their only source of information on the subject from the media.

And this is the problem with the media, in so many ways. They have the remit to pronounce whatever they like and then repent later. This can be the cause of mass panic at the stroke of a pen (or printing press). Years ago they reported that there was going to be a fuel shortage. So everybody rushed out and filled their cars, jerry cans, even wheely bins with as much fuel as they could, and low and behold there was a shortage. Irresponsible reporting led to the shortage in a situation that otherwise would have been quite manageable.

And this is also the problem with the ‘right to be forgotten’ law. It gives people the remit to do whatever they like, without fear that it will haunt them forever. They can just have the search result removed. No harm, no foul. But there is harm here. The news corporations should be held more accountable to report information accurately. If they don’t have the detail then they shouldn’t report it. Of course, this won’t happen. The system is balanced in their favour. So for now we will just have to be content to ignore the news and hope that we don’t die of one of the many things we are apparently at risk from:

200 different forms of deadly cancer, terrorist attacks, deadly viruses, rampaging illegal breeds of dogs, swallowing lithium batteries, snow storms, avalanches, out of control buses crashing into your home, mad men, dementia, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, sink holes, drug overdoses, asteroid collision, global warming…

…but don’t worry, you’ll be glad to know that when you do die, which is apparently any minute now, your body will be handled with care!