Spilling it all on the news

Should news programmes have ratings certificates? As a parent, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to be relaxed about introducing them to the world and an awareness of what is happening in it.

News programmes are an endless stream of details about wars, religious hatred, anti-immigration and racist rants, murders and worst of all, sexual abuse of children. Even having to write this makes me sad, and nervous.

Listening to the news in the kitchen or bathroom in the morning I fear the questions, but am prepared to either answer their queries, or, if necessary, censor it by switching channels. But I have to worry now about leaving a radio on anywhere in the house in case a news bulletin comes on and I’m not there, and they are.

There was an interesting discussion about this subject on Broadcasting House (a great programme, but only for UK audience, sorry), this weekend (19/1/2014 – go to around 10:00, just after the news, ironically).

It annoys me, because I WANT to have my children participate in discussions, whether it is about news, or, in my case, with alcohol. I WANT to have them ask questions and be able to bring them up with the concept of personal responsibility.

What I find annoying, however, is that our news programmes are not JUST about news, but they are really turning into just more entertainment programmes driven by ratings. Why else would you get Kirsty Wark to dance to Thriller on Newsnight? Why do we get endless verbal sparring on Today, instead of debate? Why else would we need to have the endless updates on ongoing court cases, about people who have NOT yet been found guilty but are having their reputations destroyed?

Better people than me will have views on the news and what is wrong with 24 hours news media, but as a parent, I’m frustrated.

Whose responsibility is it?