TV

Make the news great again! A lament for imbalanced reporting, on both sides

Lazy, sneery, uninformed views are fine for magazine columnists, but we expect more from TV reporting. Sam Delaney holds his nose and sticks up for Trump

Donald Trump eh? What a wally, what a dick, what a horrible fascist. With his hair. And his daft red tie. And his wall. God, I hate him.

Apologies if my invective offends you. I’m pretty out there with my political beliefs.

Of course, this is all just my own opinion. This is a column in which I am free to express my own prejudices with gay abandon, no matter how radical and surprising they might be. In other words, you shouldn’t believe a word I’m saying here. None of it is factual, none of it arises from rigorous journalistic research or has been subject to impartial analysis. I’m really just spewing from the gut.

Boys with their toys: Presidents Macron and Trump

Here’s the thing though: while I am decent enough to flag my own lazy clichés as just that – so as not to confuse you, the slack-jawed, easily swayed reader – others are less up-front about it. Recently I watched Channel 4 News, previously a bastion of fair and balanced reporting, nowadays more a bourgeoise north London dinner party broadcast live via CCTV cameras, which covered Trump’s plans for a US military parade in Washington.

It was presented from Washington, like a proper news package. It was, in fact, a two-minute tirade of empty sniding about another country’s elected leader. Don’t get me wrong: I really do think Donald Trump is a prick. Why wouldn’t I? But he’s their prick, they chose him and – frankly – him fancying his own carnival of patriotism in his own capital is the least of my worries.

The reporter barely concealed a condescending chuckle as he compared the glorious élan of the annual French military parade to what he assumed would be the crass crypto-fascism of an American equivalent

But this report was indicative of the lame, lazy and slightly smug approach to reporting on the US President practised by much of the news media. Donald Trump was said to have been inspired by attending Bastille Day in France last summer (above, with President Macron). The reporter barely concealed a condescending chuckle as he compared the glorious élan of the annual French military parade to what he assumed would be the crass crypto-fascism of an American equivalent. He interviewed citizens on the streets of DC, all of whom concurred that it was a horrible idea more suitable to a military dictatorship than the Land Of The Free.

Is all really fair and balanced in the Channel 4 newsroom?

But it’s not just military dictatorships that stage flag-waving military pageants, is it? It’s the French too. And, come to think if it, the UK regularly goes nuts for their unelected head of state as she parades herself up and down her streets in a solid gold carriage surrounded by preposterous guardsmen in fuzzy hats. Imagine if CNN, NBC or even Fox took two minutes out of their flagship news report to get stuck into that absurd – but ultimately harmless – bit of national celebration. And dressed it up as journalism. Wouldn’t that be absolutely ghastly of them?

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