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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Things I will not rant about: 3. The Citizen Reporter

Now I'm no fan of daytime TV, nor do I advocate GMTV as a medium by which intelligent information is disseminated effectively to the nation.

However, latest shock! Horror! claims (excessively hyped up in The Mirror) reveal that an angry public has prompted an investigation by Ofcom. You can read the story here: GMTV blasted again after expert claims breast milk is as ‘bad as cola’ -

Quite simply, what was expressed by a professional midwife as a genuine medical opinion about not letting your children drink breast milk after the age of two has been jumped on by the great unwashed as a terrible thing to say.

Why? If all the people who wrote/phoned in to complain were all medical professionals with experience in paediatric care, then yes, I think Ofcom should complain. But they were nearly all mothers who have let their children breastfeed well into toddlerhood. One panellist admitted that her four-year-old still breastfeeds. (Psych).

Seriously, that is weird. Let the child grow up, woman. Do you want it to have an Oedipal complex? Do you want it to turn into the character from Little Britain?

Back to the theme. this brand of citizen journalism really bugs me. Why do we have to listen to the voice of Mr Joe Average about the state of the economy? Why do I care that Tracey Shadwick, 22, of East Finchley, thinks that John Terry should still be captain of the England football team despite his philandering? Why is it important that Jane Doe of the Home Counties believes the midwife's comments were reprehensible? Is Joe Average an economist? No. Is Tracey a renowned sports commentator? I don't think so. And Jane Doe's children are locked up in Thailand for smuggling hash on their year out from Oxbridge.

Let's get this straight: I pay a licence for my TV, and despite this, I have no control over the content that is beamed into my living room from any of the channels. What I do want is informed, intelligent opinion that will help me make informed, intelligent decisions about where to invest, whether to sell my flat, how to feed my children (if I had any, that is).

I do not want 15 minutes of my precious time taken up with the half-baked rants of some lonely people who need to voice their opinions on every single matter on which they have no proven authority. All it does is preclude freedom of speech, as was the case with the midwife on GMTV, whose comments are being investigated by Ofcom. As a result of which 'citizen reporting' by the great unwashed, GMTV will have to make a grovelling apology - especially as its weather reports are sponsored by Nestle (or were) - and no doubt the midwife will be held to account for giving her opinion.

By treating this professional woman like a social pariah in this way, the public has reacted to her in exactly the same NIMBY-istic, Voice of Offended Britain, way that they reacted to the BBC showing the BNP Leader Nick Griffin on Question Time before Christmas.


STOP giving opinionated people the right to express views publicly when they have no professional experience to back up their view.

This is how the next GMTV - or even radio phone-in (don't get me started on radio phone-ins) should go.

Lorraine Kelly (for it is she): "Now we go to Lucinda Kirby of High Wycombe. Lucinda, what's your view on whether policemen should carry tasers?"

Lucinda: "Well I have to say..."

Lorraine: "sorry Lucinda, can I just ask if you've ever been arrested? Or a member of your family? Are you or a member of your family in the police force? Have you studied the effects of tasering on the public? Do you work in the medical profession? Have you ever used, or seen, at taser?

Lucinda: "No, I'm a teller for Ladbrokes."

Lorraine: "I'm going to have to stop you there. Thanks for calling in, Lucinda. That's cost you £3 on our premium rate phone lines."

Lorraine Kelly


The Old Tarf said...

good to see you ranting, or not ranting.

how are things?

talk to you. Soon

El-Kevo said...

Have you ever tasted breast milk ?

Uuuurgh !

(I don't know what kids see in it.)

Mermaid of Moorgate said...


No I've not tasted the delight since I was a child, but I don't particularly want to either!

Hey tarfy, I've been in Poland :0 It was awesome!

EmmaK said...

STOP giving opinionated people the right to express views publicly when they have no professional experience to back up their view.

I hear you about ordinary people being unqualified to give their opinions but I'm pretty sure Richard Madely defending Blair should be gagged too.what say you?

Anonymous said...

You are quite right. And why do people on Question Time have an opinion about everything? I am waiting for a guest to say "I have absolutely no idea..."

Hogday said...

How splendidly you summed up an unavoidable eavesdropped conversation on recent journey on a bus, in Leeds. Talk about not wanting the drivellings of great unwashed in your living room, this was pure torture in the first(unwashed)person :-/
I was just about to black out when I managed to get my iPod fired up. Sexist, mysoginistic AC/DC lyrics never sounded so good. "And now, Lorraine, its back to topless darts from Roehampton"

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Hi Hogday - I know, I know! Isn't it awful how many personal phone conversations you have to listen to? Worse still is the mothers who let their children run up and down the bus while they're on the phone to Chantelle, talking about how much of a trasher Shanika is, at the top of their voices!

GR. iPods were made for such occasions!