News Reporters Emulating Infotainers for Ratings is Backfiring

Infotainment has its place, Guido is a big fan of presenting information in the most entertaining way possible. If you just view Piers Morgan as an infotainer, he’s clearly excellent at what he does, there comes however a point when the entertainment becomes counter-productive. When thousands are dying the kind of hysterical shouty television with which Piers specialises in entertaining us, is just no longer so funny. Even if it is good for his ratings…

At the more serious end of broadcasting, Channel 4 News’ Alex Thomson last night was on a quest for culpability. His crass question at the Downing Street briefing basically accused Hancock and his advisers of choosing to kill off old people to prioritise protecting the young. Andrew Neil, who knows a thing or two about questioning politicians, was pointedly critical of the ridiculous questions at the government press conference:

Take the one which effectively asked — is the government letting people in care homes die so it can prioritise saving younger people in hospitals? First, the premise is absurd. Second, what kind of answer do you expect? “Absolutely, old bean. It’s our policy to kill old people so that the young can live. Have a badge.” Really? Put aside the morality for a second. Why would this government actively seek to kill those who vote for it? Madness.

Earlier in the week, Channel 4 News’ reporter repeatedly demanded from Priti Patel an apology. This type of performance isn’t holding power to account or about purely eliciting information. It is gotcha journalism and because journalists at the press conferences are asking their questions through the prism of establishing political culpability, they are getting defensive responses. It would be better to leave that to the opposition in parliament and leave the made-for-social-media infotainment to Piers. It might also arrest the dramatic drop in public confidence in the news media…

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