Written by ‘Norman’
Working from home certainly seems to have an effect on journalists of the mainstream media and it’s starting to show. Away from the hot topics of the moment Partygate, the cost of living and Russia it seems not a lot is happening, presumably they are all glued to the same social media channels for ‘news’ or inspiration or fresh leads and are not part of the hurly burly of the workplace where other people will air their views and opinions standing by the coffee machine or outside for the ciggie break, where ideas are often formulated or rubbished of course.
Something is going on and it’s not an edifying spectacle. Not only is the way they write getting more and more ‘screechy’ and biased, they all write about the same things in the same way and if those video clips of ‘senior’ news reporters are anything to go by, more ‘tetchy’ and downright bad mannered.
Shouting across the street to anyone, let alone a senior government minister as we have seen this week or treating the Prime Minister as if you were having a go at that boring bloke down at the pub who’s always pontificating at the top of his voice about something or other, is not likely to get your questions answered or any sensible response.
It seems that some of these journalists have forgotten the art of asking probing questions without, as my mother would have said, ‘getting on your high horse.’ It seems that professional neutrality has gone out of the window and many are now behaving like social media activists rather than professional presenters or reporters.
In that case I suggest they give up the day job and try their hand full time on You Tube or one of the other video platforms although they may find their output summarily removed or censored and from what I’ve seen the competition, often working with minimal equipment and budget, will outclass their offerings.
Is that why they are so tetchy these days? Or is it that they belong to a generation that has never been told ‘no’? So full on these millennials, the children of generation ‘X,’ that they revert to behaving as stroppy teenagers. Just look at the righteous expression on their faces when told ‘no’ or told something they don’t agree with and you will see what I mean.
Not so long ago, hitting 40 years of age in your profession (using the word in its widest sense to mean anyone paid to do something) usually meant that after years of training, being told what to do by older hands meant that your opinion was at least heard, even if not acted upon.
The dropout rate in the emergency services, teaching, nursing and law for example is incredible, with the result that experienced management is patchy, poor or non-existent, older people are often ignored or bullied until they resign.
Bullying rife in education, the workplace and now politics apparently. Could this be traced back to the breakup of not only the nuclear family but the breakup of the extended one too? Schools back in the early 2000s were encouraging older people to visit schools during community study periods to give talks and meet students. Why? because it was found that so many pupils and students had little contact with older people and never spent much time, if any, with grandparents.
Add in the fact that the media at that time became ‘youth oriented’ and with no older role models is it any wonder why standards of personal and business life have fallen. Modern culture, in spite of, or maybe because of, the general feeling that we are all the same – which we most certainly are not – along with the belief that all cultures are the same, the ‘woke’ mantra with social media driving the ‘me me me’ attitudes has led many to not value the experience and knowledge of older people. Why bother when the answer to everything can be found on Wiki, YouTube or Twitter. Odd then that this media savvy ‘let’s all be friends’ generation find anything that they don’t agree with hateful while discriminating without fear or thought against older people whatever their background qualification or experience. Ask many how they have been spoken to by members of the medical profession and you will get the idea.
Old age, well according to the advertising industry, are people that are 10 years older than you at any given time. Their rosey, make-believe world of advertising and movies would have you believe that all are well-heeled, middle class, living a life of prestige cars, wonderful holidays and trips to exclusive restaurants, where an active d handsome couple will talk over their investments, next fabulous trip abroad or the latest device installed in their gated community of luxurious apartments.
Old age according to the French at one time, was said to start at 67 but as apparently 80 is the new 70, so that may be a little on the early side but is actually a reality for many. Often independent before the pandemic their mental and physical decline was often rapid and terminal.
Now, as we return to ‘normal’ older people are still being ignored, their concerns treated with disdain. Often the only call they have from their doctor’s surgery is when they are being asked to attend for their ‘spring booster’ jab.
Still clinging to telephone land-lines they are often subject to constant calls from marketing companies and who knows who. I can’t manage a smart phone, let alone a computer, several have told me. My hearing is poor and I get confused by all those automatic messages to press this button or that when I call the health centre and these days you can never get to actually talk to somebody there.
But of course I hear you say those are the worst case scenarios. Visit any garden centre any day and it will be packed with older people. Cafes are another favourite haunt as are cinemas and theatres, particularly matinee shows, because many have money to spare, good final salary pensions and all the rest.
Reality for others on a low fixed income is quite different. The cost of living inflation will hurt them even more. How do you continue to run your car which is often your only means of transport to town? I know of one 91-year-old man now worried about meeting his gas and electricity bill, his only non-food expense is his subscription to cable TV and that’s gone up. He says: “I really will have to choose between heating and the TV.” With few friends still alive and no relatives living nearby, he faces an uncertain and increasingly expensive future. No private medical treatment for many; the lady who had a fall in her own home recently in our area waited 20 hours for an ambulance and when taken to the local accident and emergency room waited another four hours for treatment.
Virtually none of this is being mentioned in the ‘Partygate’ press. Maybe when the politicians are faced with the next elephant in the room, unaffordable care home costs together with staffing problems caused in part by their insane decision to sack staff who refused the ‘jab’ and the Ambulance Service reaches crisis point next month, as one ambulance trust has already pointed out the penny will drop. But as usual I won’t be holding my breath.