Sunday 17 February 2019

Temperature’s rising, it isn’t surprising

It’s cold outside (and indoors too since we have to ration our use of heating) but tempers are being raised to boiling point.

The utter lack of manners, inability to discuss maturely and sheer arrogance we are witnessing on TV is being mirrored in real life by diehard supporters. Yes, I know it happens every time, so I should have resigned myself to it by now.  Elections in this country make some people whom I previously considered ‘normal’, go cuckoo.

That’s why I find it completely futile to answer certain arguments on Facebook from narrow-minded people who only seem interested in peddling propaganda all over cyber space and who “yell” at you through their keyboards and throw puerile insinuations around if you do not agree with their view.  Mature debate I can handle, but patronizing, nasty remarks can migrate to other places on the Internet where they seem to relish that kind of thing.

As a country our argumentative skills are pretty dismal – if you so much as reach out a tentative finger at someone’s sacred cow they go ballistic and become incoherent with rage. Why is that?

As if to prove this point, this week the Broadcasting Authority issued directives aimed at TV presenters on all the stations, laying down ground rules about how they should treat their political guests.

While these directives were badly needed because of the chaos reigning on TV talk shows at the moment, the fact that they were needed in the first place is damning evidence of how out of control broadcasting has become. Does a presenter/journalist really need to be told to treat all politicians equally and fairly? Not if he is a professional and knows what media ethics mean. A real journalist does not need to be told to leave his own passionate, partisan feelings at the door before he walks into that studio, especially on the national station.

As for the choice of subject matter on the talk shows, while it is important that Labour’s energy policy is debated and questioned because it is a crucial issue, fairness demands that the PN’s policies (when they emerge) are equally picked apart and dissected with the same thoroughness and fervour.

Now that we have seen Konrad Mizzi’s face day after day after day, being grilled (and rightly so) about what Labour is proposing, as a taxpayer and a voter, yes I do expect TVM talk shows to mete out the same intensive, critical treatment when the PN announces what it plans to do, if re-elected.  Each comma, each clause, each paragraph should be equally examined under the powerful investigative journalism microscope.

Really, is that too much to ask?


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