Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I find that journalists are ‘making stuff up’, I admitted yesterday.
As a professional who started writing copy in a sweaty, cigarette-filled newsroom twenty-seven years ago, I feel that I have seen the worst side of human behaviour, from bullying editors to fact-twisting to unnecessary railing against ‘health-and-safety jobsworths’.
Blue-hair? Must be guilty
I have made the knee-jerk assumption an art-form. I have deliberately ignored what was on the dictaphone and put the big quote, (which happened after the interview was over, and the poor girl thought she was off the record) into the headline. I have started paragraphs with the words, “I’m not a racist, but…”
I have even dressed rape victims in short skirts for the photographer, and made kiss-and-tell girls wear basques. Honestly, basques!
Hobbies: shocking depravity, lust, envy...
But I never, ever thought I would descend so low as to make stuff up. I felt sordid, depraved and disgusting. I will soon write a book, 375 pages all describing how sordid and disgusting I feel. You'll be able to get it cheaper after "Winterval", in those Discount bookshops.
Political correctness gone bi-polar!
Ordinary people just don’t realise the stresses we journalists have to go through filling these rags every single day!
The hacking scandal (there but for the grace of Dacre) forced me to confront the sordid truth that getting a scoop – and, of course, selling papers – is more important than protecting innocent people from their attackers, or hurting their relatives. But now that I can’t rely on a regular source of real quotes by the friends and relatives of victims, I am forced to invent things to make my story more colourful.
BBC cancels Christmas. Councils ban two-week bin collections. My wife is leaving me… for a woman. What do you mean redundant?