I am the enemy. Or at least I used to be. Once upon a time, I was one of the bad guys.
Back in the day, I earned a crust as a member of the Fourth Estate, Oh yes, dahlings, for a great big chunk of my adult life, I worked in the media.
Yep, cue catcalls and cries of derision, dark mutterings and shaking of heads. The media, they’re the pits, right? Muck rakers, peddlers of deceit, and spinners of entrapment webs. Aye, scumbags and slimeballs to a man, and a woman.
I can confirm, having been on the receiving end more than a few times, that these beliefs are widespread and heartfelt, and are applied with broad brush strokes no matter which branch of the media you might ply your trade. These anti-media feelings are sometimes even delivered with outpourings of ill-informed, undiluted venom – and not just from Glasgow taxi drivers (who are never slow to vent their opinionated spleen). Even when negative feedback is a bit less bile-laden, cynicism and distrust prevails. Oh aye, public opinion puts journalists and their ilk right up there with bankers, politicians and estate agents in the nation’s loathe list. Blimey, us lot are blamed for just about every contemporary evil under the sun, and The Sun.
And let’s face it, some of that blame needs to be taken square on the chin, there’s been more than a bit of bad behaviour from certain hacks and hackettes in the trade. I’m not about to apologise or make excuses for some frankly disgusting behaviour, except to say that most “media types” are not at all in the business of tall tales and porky pies. Just like every other profession who tend to be tarred with one brush, there’s much more to the media than a bunch of booze-sodden newshounds, hellbent on delivering a scoop, not matter the cost or the number of phones hacked.
I do not deny that words and stories will sometimes get twisted to fit editorial slant, but for those of us (and there are many) who have done our level best to educate, entertain and inform without the pressure of profit – frankly, my dears, we’ve done you a service. But not for much longer, I fear. Us old-schoolers have had our day, and the industry’s already in its death throes. A generation of more scrutiny-savvy media consumers and citizen journos demand and deliver a whole new approach. For them, me and my kind are has-been, old hat.
But haud on a minute, tiger. We’ve brought the news, views and the world straight to your eyes and your ears, and we’ve done it for years. So sometimes, just sometimes, gonnae just ease off on the bad press? Call us to account by all means – it’s only right that the media are kept on straight and narrow of storytelling. But, dear reader, this is a two-way street – and accountability is never old news in my book. So when you’re casting those anti-media stones, are you sure you’re without sin?
You don’t have to like the press, radio and TV, but you have to admit, we’re still able to call crooks to book. We can still shine lights in dark corners, and expose dodgy deals. We’ve still got a nose for the bad guys.
And you’re sure going to miss us when we’re gone.