I am a consummate newspaper and magazine reader. All online versions nowadays. It is for a large part on a 'need to know' basis for work and on the other because I am interested in what is happening in the world. I am fortunate enough to be able to read several languages perfectly well, moderately so others and struggle through a few more. There are a few papers I cannot be bothered to give the time of day to: The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Sun, La Croix, Bild, Express plus a whole wagon load of Italian and Spanish papers. That is not snobbery, I simply prefer to know what is happening beyond the bedrooms of supposedly famous people. I also look at some US papers. Then a few magazines like the Economist, New Statesman, Der Spiegel or Time. Clearly I do not read every one of them every day but glance through several for stories I want or need to read. I also avoid political bias or interpretation in any single direction by reading a cross section of mainly broadsheets.
I am getting rather fed up though. Apart from particular papers defending the party they are closest to, such as The Guardian and the Liberal Democrats or Libération being a bit too defensive of Parti Socialiste, all we seem to have at present is absolutely justifiable criticism of the government in office, its policies and then the foibles and outrageously crooked exploits of various ministers, MPs and prominent members but without straying from their preferred party's line. That is across the board, not just France or the UK, in fact Italy's government is about to fall apart as I write. The entire Italian press seems to be concentrating on that and not a 'caught in somebody's bedroom' story in sight.
Normally the press seems to be unbelievably interested in what so-and-so has been up to, be that having an affair, being caught with a finger in the till and other matters that are definitely news but not truly worthy of headlines. The most recent obsessions seem to be with the activities of Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, other (ahem) leaders of right wing parties and the electoral fortunes of those parties in the wake of last week's Swiss referendum and with global climate change. The former is a panicky but probably unnecessary wall of negative comment about migration to and within the EU. At present the obsession with Bulgarians, Romanians and Roma seems to have gone on the back burner as 'Nero fiddles whilst Rome burns' attitudes all that is coming from governments who should be getting up off their ever increasingly collective fat rumps and doing something. The latter is because of extremes such as the wet, warm and windy winter in Europe, mini ice age in large parts of North America, arid conditions in Australia, tropical storms and other extraordinary climate and weather conditions. Scientists are trying to explain that it is climate change and not global warming, whilst politicians are getting cold feet and generally treading cautiously between denial and making promises about details such as flood defences in Somerset. Newspapers are reporting those two issues alone so badly that I am finding far more contradiction and misrepresentation through badly researched and written journalism than actual information. I can easily see how people who read particular papers because of their political preferences are being lead by the nose into a world of being told what to believe and know rather than by being properly informed.
The rest of the world's news is given so little reportage that it sometimes takes ridiculously long to find out what is happening in Syria, the Central African Republic and other places where there is a conflict where children, my professional sphere, are seriously affected. The non-Northern Hemisphere elections with the exception of Argentina and Brazil get little coverage, so the real picture of political change that does have an effect on global politics in the long term is under reported. The economic situation of the world is somehow or other suppressed rather than thoroughly reported and only comes through in specialist publications such as the Financial Times on the inside pages. unless there is an immediate crisis such as yet another bank going down or exchange rates going haywire that make headlines, plus opinion pieces in the Economist and one or two other magazines.
There is always the national interest in such matters as health, social security and education sectors that is presented as all being in one state of crisis or another, which is usually how they are, but no real discussion that looks at what is being done to resolve them. Football is well featured, at present the Winter Olympics too, rugby, cricket, American football and a few other sports get some space.
Am I alone in being thoroughly cheesed off with the quality and content of newspaper and magazines or are we all starting, if not already, wondering why bother? The problem is that if we don't bother we tend to go into a kind of protective shell and that when something does happen we tend to be shocked. It is one of those no win situations, damned if you do and damned if you don't try to know what is going on.
Who else feels that way? Come on then, do what the journos are not doing at present - spill the beans.