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Breaking news – TV bulletins in plastic packaging alert


It’s fantastic news that Iceland is dropping the plastic packaging that ruins our environment.

Shame it took several decades and a campaign by the Daily Mail to make them see the folly of their actions.

Still, that’s how all corporations work – from Bejam to the Beeb, from retailers to retellers. Many blindingly obvious ideas get stuck in the narrow bottlenecks of strict hierarchies. Customers get ignored. But they’ll listen to powerful lobbyists.

Isn’t it time we examined the damage caused by all unnatural packaging? There’s an awful lot of media products that have a short display function and then spend a lifetime fouling up the environment.

If only the media would follow Iceland’s lead, examine their consciences and consider the damage caused by plastic proletarians and the padding out of all their products.

The big media supermarkets, the BBC, Sky and ITV, all have identical products.

They run a sort of enhanced BOGOF deal on news. Every day, they give you three identical news items, for the price of one BBC licence.

The lack of variety is bad enough, but the deception is even worse. Trump-bending stories (known in the trade as ‘Trump L’Oeil’) are injected with all kinds of confections. Then there’s the notorious Despite Brexit department at the BBC, that puts harmful fake colouring into everything and weighs it down with bias-ballast.

They rarely take fresh produce from independent specialists although there are a few exceptions. Social campaigners such as Peter Tatchell or Julie Bindel are the genuine article. You have to respect their courage and integrity, even if you wouldn’t want them to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. Their organic growth has been naturally fertilised by the compost of the environments in which they have spent a lifetime campaigning. The thing is, Tatchells and Bindels take decades of work to cultivate.

But alongside them, there are endless gobby, goady, products which have been artificially seasoned under the hot lights of a studio. These can create an adverse reaction.

If you look at the ingredients of any news products, there’s always plenty of fleshing out with cheap Owen Jones soundbites. ‘Independent’ analysis comes from BBC colleagues standing in or, worse, from rentagobs who don’t seem to be experts in anything other than glib generalisations.

As soon as you see one of these labels on your screen – Katie Hopkins, James O’Brien, Milo Whatsit, Guardian columnist – the best you can do is switch off.

Look out also for these deceptive ‘farm-fresh’ style newsroom weasel worderies: ‘People are saying’, ‘According to sources’ and ‘Some might ask’.

People are never saying, there are no secret sources and nobody, apart from Evan Davis perhaps – might be asking.

Many of the fruits of the news counter have been artificially ripened in plastic proletarian ‘Polly Toynbee tunnels’. As a result, we are getting unnatural products which look good under the lights but have no real intellectual nutrition. And worse still the temporary packaging used to dress up news stories creates long-time environmental damage and drips poison into the well of human kindness.

As a result, many people are starting to grow their own news on YouTube or Twitter – often with dangerous results.

Meanwhile, I’m going to try to find a branch of Iceland. Which won’t be easy as the local store is now a Lidl. If only they’d dispensed with the packaging earlier they’d have won over the public a lot sooner.

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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