Although I have been moaning for some time about my perception that Channel 4 News was disproportionately reporting stories about radicalised Muslims and immigration, I was genuinely shocked at yesterday’s calculations of 42 minutes out of 55.
Here are the timings and content for day two to the nearest minute.
19.00 – 19.09 A story about Libyan “migrants” attempting to reach Italy and being rescued at sea by the British Navy, amongst others, and how a new policy is to withdraw support for these rescues and “let them drown” as a deterrent.
19.09 – 19.17 A follow-on story about as many as 2,500 illegal migrants gathering at Calais trying to enter Britain. “Is it really that many?” an incredulous Cathy Newman asks Paraic O’Brien.
19.17 – 19.19 “North of England Correspondent” Ciaran Jenkins reports on the ongoing child abuse scandal in Rotherham and elsewhere.
19.19 – 19.22 A report on LLoyds Bank proposing to close branches and lose jobs, following on to the wider issue of technology replacing jobs.
19.22 – 19.25 A story about a Muslim woman who is believed to have taken her small child to Syria. “Up to 25 British Muslims have been killed in Syria” and as many as “five Britons a week” are going to Syria, “a huge number”.
19.25 – 19.31 Ebola
19.31 – 19.40 A feature about Muslim radicalisation and the attitudes of British Muslims.
19.40 – 19.45 Diabetes
19.45 – 19.49 A report on the soon to be elected new Police Crimes Commissioner for South Yorkshire and Michael Crick managed to put in a special mention for the UKIP candidate.
19.49 – 19.52 New weather forecasting super-computer.
19.52 – 19.56 A story about Sir Nicholas Winton who aided Jewish children to escape persecution in pre-war Czechoslovakia.
The Libyan “migrants” are actually refugees from a country in anarchy after the US / UK / NATO military intervention. Libya is chaos and awash with weapons and militias. Rather like Somalia. And Iraq. And Afghanistan etc.
2,500 migrant / refugees in Callais is not that many, actually. Sure, it is a problem that has to be dealt with but there was no acknowledgement of what is driving these people out of their own countries, just an attempt to relate it to benefits.
Every time they use the term “North of England Correspondent” it makes me feel warm inside.
I do not dispute that some British Muslims are becoming “radicalised” and, again, I do not claim that it is not a problem that should be addressed, but 25 British casualties when present as combatants in a war zone is nothing compared with the estimated 700,000 killed in the “War Against Terror”, and five a week leaving for Syria is not a “huge” number.
At half-time there was a reasonably substantial feature that at least attempted to give a voice to a number of British Muslims and how they felt in the current atmosphere anti-Muslim paranoia. However, it was still about us and them.
Tuesday’s quota turns out to be only 29 minutes (give or take a minute) out of 56 (and no adverts) on immigration and radicalised Muslims, which is better than Monday but still more than 50%.
Whilst I do not dismiss that both of these are real issues that need reporting and action, what concerns me is the exaggeration and the resulting paranoia, which I believe is a politically-seeded editorial policy in order to make immigration a major campaigning issue in order to push the electorate to the right.
I also watched Al Jazeera for a while today, and it seems that the United Kingdom is not the only country in the world.
And nothing on (ahem) certain issues that might (or might not) have far reaching repercussions in the establishment.