This week of rolling news has been hysterically entertaining. More, please!

The Skinny | No 12. The Media in Times of Crisis

What are we skinning? The local media… or rather, local media in times of crisis.

Wait, didn’t we do a shameful hagiography of this very paper just last week? No, this time it’s different. This time, it’s NOT personal.

How do you mean? I repeat: what ARE we skinning? Well, given recent – and, in many ways, still-developing – events on a local sphere, we felt it would be apt to consider the many ways in which the media influences, eases and exacerbates public opinion and debate.

That sounds like a bona fide contradiction right there. How can something ease and exacerbate in equal measure? Therein lies the rub. The events we’re experiencing right now unsurprisingly ignite a powder keg of emotions and allegations which put plenty of pressure on the media landscape...

Pfft. ‘Pressure’. Cry me a river. The media also has a responsibility not to fan the flames of hatred and speculation... Yes, certainly. But people also turn to it for answers, and solace.

Solace? Yes. Newspaper editorials can serve as a temporary ‘dam’ in an ongoing stream of rolling news and social media hysteria.

Okay, fair enough. But do you believe the Maltese scenario is mature enough to rise above the pettiness that characterises a lot of this? Whatever the case, we have to try. We need to do good. No, we need to do better. For the sake of our citizens, and our comrades. For those who are still with us, and those tragically felled.

Do say: “The demands we place on the backs of our journalists and media houses should be equal in moral heft and ethical expectation to what we aim to expect from politicians and other public officials. Only in this way will the general public be able to walk in tandem with the media and effect meaningful change”

Don’t say: “This week of rolling news has been hysterically entertaining. More, please!”

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