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The routinely diverting, occasionally excellent and sometimes infantile Boing Boing website alerted my attention towards a growing trend in perfidious news reporting – bizarre causal conjunctions.
They pointed out that the infamous Daily Mail had linked the tragic death of a poor school girl to the fact that she was sat in a park because her teachers had the temerity (and unprofessionalism) to be out on strike:
Cue outrage. But then, yesterday, I came across something not too dissimilar on The Guardian:
Recession makes educated women in rich countries postpone having babies
In other words, all of those trends that suggested numerous reasons why educated women are postponing having babies have been trumped by the recession, and the political uncertainty that – of course – is linked to the narrative of the government cuts preventing the economy from a vigorous bounce back.
The Daily Mail is a particularly successful mid-market tabloid with a populist bent that appeals to a core demographic that might not be too much fun to share a slice of battenburg cake with. The Guardian is a less successful broadsheet that edges into populism when feeding the prejudices of the leftie-liberal readership, particularly now that more and more articles seem to be written by slightly naive 24 year olds fresh from university politics.
The next time somebody complains about Fox News, ask them what they watch, listen to and read. It’s evident that an enormous amount of online choice-editing goes on through the complex algorithms at the heart of web 2.0, but it’s also clear that an enormous amount of choice-editing is done by you, you normal monkeysized folk out there. Some of it is conscious, some unconscious. But it’s all best consumed after you’ve kindly climbed down from that very high horse that you are currently sat on.
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