Friday, July 18, 2003

more credibility issues from over the pond 

Controversy in this mornings Guardian over a story filed by a Sky News correspondant aboard the HMS Splendid during Operation: Iraqi Freedom. 10 year veteran James Forlong has resigned over a report he filed in which "'gave the impression that HMS Splendid was engaged in action against Iraq, when, in fact, some of the scenes were reconstructions, or from library footage,' said Mark Sharman, the deputy managing director of Sky Networks, who chaired the inquiry." While it is a shame that this man has to lose his job over what was, essentially, video that lacked a caption stating "file footage", it appears as if our confidence in our media (here i'm referring to both the American and British public) is held together by such thin shards of faith that almost any incident must be dealt with severely for fear of irrepairable damage.

On this subject is where the Guardian story gets interesting:
After 12 years in which Sky News has sought to build up trust in the face of scepticism from the industry and the public, staff fear the danger of becoming tarnished with poor journalistic practices.

Sky News is proud of its news channel of the year award from the Royal Television Society - such accolades have been hard won, particularly given the attitudes of those who are suspicious of the channel's major shareholder, Rupert Murdoch.

I spent two weeks in Europe at the end of May and beginning of June. I was very surprised to find out that the two or three people that I happened to have political conversation with had never heard of Sky News. Not being familiar with the way television works in Britian I can't even begin to fathom all the possible explanations of this, but it's a sure bet that every college kid here has at least heard of Fox News.

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