Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Whatever happened to journalism?


IT IS 50 years since I joined the Sunday People, a tabloid newspaper then selling more than five million copies a week, and that meant 12million readers: about a quarter of the country’s population at the time.

Our newspaper was a successful mixture of fun stories such as ‘He’s the biggest cat in the world and he’s afraid of mice!’ and serious investigations like the famous one about the laboratory beagles forced to inhale cigarette smoke. Although primarily a fashion writer on the paper, I was also called on to take part in investigations and exposures. These were nerve-racking, often frightening assignments and we sometimes put ourselves in real danger, such as when one reporter entertained a murderer in her flat after his girlfriend had knocked her unconscious in a pub.

Over the years I reported, for various newspapers and magazines, on such subjects as dangers from tranquillisers, fluoride in water, alternative treatments for cancer, the success or otherwise of IVF treatments, the ethics of surrogacy and the efficacy of certain natural remedies. Editors allowed me to bring to the fore issues which were then in the shadows, such as domestic violence and child abuse. I was given freedom to write on controversial matters such as factory farming and NPK fertilisers and thus bring them to public attention. I also wrote about macrobiotic diets, vegetarianism and vitamins and minerals, at a time when any nutritional departure from meat and two veg was considered cranky.

Journalism was fun and exciting and we felt we were doing an important and responsible job.  A particular skill that I had, I like to think, was to read scientific, medical and academic papers and make them intelligible and accessible, even entertaining, to the general reader, without being patronising or dumbing down. I also explored esoteric subjects such as yoga and meditation, reincarnation and the paranormal.

Now, though, I am ashamed of the profession which I used to love so much and which gave me so much satisfaction. Instead of tackling tough subjects with honesty and open-mindedness, today’s newspapers and magazines are full of endless fashion and cookery pages, plus celebrity gossip and royal tittle-tattle.  Nothing serious ever gets a look-in.

Over the past three years, not one mainstream outlet, whether print or broadcast, has mounted an in-depth, critical investigation of the Covid crisis and the hasty rollout of experimental and untested vaccines. Instead of politicians like Andrew Bridgen being given a serious hearing for raising concerns about vaccine damage, they are demonised as ‘anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists’.  Not one major branch of the media has said of Bridgen: Hey, this guy might be on to something; let’s listen to what he has to say. Similarly, not one mainstream outlet has taken a hard look at Robert Kennedy Jr’s book The Real Anthony Fauci, where he exposes the scientists and others peddling the highly lucrative Covid and vaccine narrative as crooks and liars. Instead, Kennedy, now running for President, has been accused of ‘misinformation’, never mind that his arguments are thoroughly backed up and he has not been sued.  

It is true that some anti-lockdown commentators such as former Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption have been given newspaper space and airtime, but no editorials got behind him, and no national newspaper ever instigated an anti-lockdown campaign.  Yes, now that we have been freed from house arrest, they are asking whether the lockdowns were necessary or achieved anything, but none of them said a word at the time. Instead, we were bullied and cajoled into going along with it all, and woe betide any prominent person who dared to go out and about without a mask. No notice was taken of all the reports and surveys showing that masks were either ineffective or downright injurious to health. 

Even worse, celebrities were wheeled in to enjoin us to ‘follow the science’. TV doctor Hilary Jones was saying as late as November last year that ‘vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, friends’ – a remark that was reverentially reported in the mainstream press.  There was not one dissenting voice and this was at a time when people were known to be suffering, some quite badly, from vaccine-related illnesses.

Rather than being frank, fearless and free, as they boasted at one time, today’s newspapers have shown themselves to be mealy-mouthed, timid and spineless throughout this whole episode. Most of the mainstream media are still alleging that vaccine damage is ‘tiny’ compared with the ‘millions of lives saved’, in the face of ever- mounting evidence to the contrary.

It has been left to brave and outspoken sites such as TCW and the Daily Sceptic to publish authoritative articles and to report the evidence which mainstream outlets have been too afraid to publish. We can only be glad that so far it is virtually impossible to impose total censorship on what one is allowed to say.

What is happening now reminds me of the hymn Say Not The Struggle Naught Availeth, written in 1849 by Arthur Hugh Clough, who worked for Florence Nightingale, and in particular the lines:

For though the tired waves, vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain.
Far back, through creeks and inlets making
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

Through creeks and inlets, headway is gradually being made, forcing important material to get into the public domain and doing the job the mainstream should be doing.

It is also interesting to note that, whereas we journalists once prided ourselves on being ahead of the public, the public are now ahead of the journalists. The comments below the line on MailOnline, for instance, show that the public has a far greater awareness and understanding of what is going on as regards vaccine damage and the lockdown disaster than the journalists who are supposed to be the advance guard.  

One can only hope that thanks to a few courageous souls relentlessly chipping away at the lies, deceptions and sheer falsehoods, the truth will eventually emerge and the media, which has so shamefully misreported this whole charade, will have the humility to admit how wrong they were, and how they misled their readers.

If, by that time, they have any readers left. The Sunday People, once a mighty force, now has a pathetic circulation of just over 74,000.  Perhaps that says it all.

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Liz Hodgkinson
Liz Hodgkinson
Liz Hodgkinson is an author and journalist.

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