Nov 7th, 2008, 06:20 PM
The Lying Press
We all know the media lies and tells us how to think, right? I mean it's general knowledge. YES? But you really have to experience it to get it I believe.
I often work on a Catholic Newspaper and the two editors are so honest and forthright, you know every statement is as true as they believe it to be. And it's not the most exciting read on this planet, but I know it's all true. And I know not all journalists are like that.
But lordy, I got taught a lesson recently and my co-worker (another designer who works on magazines and newspapers with me) is as stunned as me.
Many on you will have come across me moaning about my home being knocked down and also the new home I bought being accidentally gutted by the council. The council lied to me (and still are as it goes but that's another story) to the extent I contacted my local paper. The news became popular and got into the Nationals. At once I found myself repeating myself, telling 'misunderstood' journalists the REAL facts. I mean, how did they keep getting it wrong?
Then a few magazines offered me money for my story. Now considering it's going to cost me around £1500 to fix what the council's done, accepting money for my story seemed fair enough.
A few magazines bidded and the best bid was £300. I went for it. They emailed me questions and I spent an afternoon answering one hundred percent honestly. To me the truth as to what the council has done to myself and neighbours was hard hitting enough and I didn't want to ruin it with exaggeration, hearsay or slander. So I took a lot of care and consideration.
The journalist phoned me up asking a lot of silly airhead questions about decor and my cats?!! She kept asking for more and more photos. Of my old house, my new house, me, my cats, the area, me having fun in the old house with mates. etc etc
When they called me last Monday (And I'm so glad that did this, I'm fucking grateful) with the read through, I was stunned. It was so loosely based on what I'd said it was hilarious, were I not worried about the council suing me for slander. Like a Hollywood remake.
For example, I told them that many months before demolition I was informed by letter about it in an impersonal matter and that myself and my neighbours had campaigned to fight it. The magazine wrote it like we all woke up one day to see bulldozers and wrecking balls totally out of the blue, and that this was the first we knew about it!!
It's full of fictitious conversations of people I'd mentioned in conversation. And my ex neighbour will be surprised to hear that she had hanging baskets, was my best friend and grew a community garden at the bottom of the road that we all sat in. In truth, she grew a lovely private back garden and gave me a few plants over the wall.
The lies about me I let go (my old home was in tatters, never redecorated since the 70's and my cats have opinions on the decor) because I was weary making sure the stuff about the council was true lest they took me to court. So I bit the bullet and thought that as it's a crap magazine barely anyone would read it so it didn't matter.
But you know, I had a say on the final WORD edit.
And considering I emailed them around 30 photos in all, you wouldn't think they needed any more!
But next to the real pictures of the trashed bathroom and kitchen, they've used FAKE photos of my lounge which are far worse than what the council did with the caption 'my lounge' above it! And then photos of wrecking balls - I never saw one. And bulldozers knocking down buildings I've never seen in my life.
This has certainly been a learning curve and when the press so easily lie about something that only matters to a handful of people, - in fact they were stunned that I was annoyed that it was so wrong - think about the astronomical lies you are being told EVERYDAY.
I used to read it all with a pinch of salt. Now I don't see the point of reading it. I may as well read Grimm's Fairy Tales.