The main news story today has been the resignation of Fabio Capello as the England football team’s manager, it has been everywhere since it was announced. If you look on the BBC homepage this story, and the story of another aging manager’s court trial, are pretty much dominant features. And what irritates me is that everyone has an opinion, is talking about it as if it affects their life, and generally accepting the massive coverage that has been going on. Why? Because the UK is a nation of football fans, you only have to look at an average tabloid newspaper’s TV advert to see that the majority of the working and middle classes focus a lot of their attention on which of ‘their’ teams has beaten the hated rival (which incidentally changes to suit every single match), rather than realising that there are bigger news stories out there.
The same applies to the importance that the general media place on stories of celebrity hook-ups and break-ups, it is almost painful to see a BBC newsreader, used to reporting in a warzone, relegated to a red carpet event just to ask some jumped up ingenue about what it was like to kiss Brad Pitt. Fuck. Off.
I’ll admit, the world of entertainment is something of an interest of mine and while I can’t stand football, if there’s a story about the All Blacks then I’m all ears. But the point is that if I want to read about such subjects, then I go to the relevant source, I do not expect Perez Hilton to get as excited about a general election than he did about Kim Kardashian’s wedding. Of course, he does report quite often on political matters, particularly ones relevant to gay civil rights – which is very admirable – but that’s not why I read his website. If I go to the BBC News homepage, I expect to see stories that fit in with their reputation for high brow reportage, not the revelation that millionaire Russell Brand will not be asking for any money from millionaire Katy Perry. Yes, it’s refreshing to see celebrities mid-divorce behaving like adults (I’m looking at you Halle Berry), but I’d much prefer to hear about what has been going on in Syria, or at the Leveson inquiry.
In a way, I’m mostly annoyed with other people. The media has responded to signals from their viewers about what constitutes an engaging news story, and they are going to do whatever they can to increase their ratings, I get it. But just once it would be nice not to have to get my information about more serious topics from sources on Twitter, rather than have to wait even past the human interest story, in which a farmer has grown a marrow bigger than his entire family, to learn a bit more about what’s going on in my country.