What News Should you Choose?

From Sky to the BBC, Sidney Pinsent dissects the best and the worst of our news channels.

Sidney Pinsent
27th November 2017
David Holt (flickr) [Under the following licence: 'Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)' ]

There was a time when 24 hour news shows were all the rage, signifying the immediacy of news delivery in the new millennia. But since the era of the smartphone began, they only entertain the elderly and critically bored.

If you were to choose, there’s only one option - the BBC. Only they offer constant updates on all your niche interests, from The Papers to the Asian Business report. All the flashy animations and rolling news of Fox and Sky are no match for the steely middle-aged BBC news reader. They’re a special breed of human, determined in their quest to deliver the news with perfect rhythm and timbre. They rely on the news to do the talking but remain unique in their field. Have you ever seen someone with a stage presence like Clive Myrie? Preaching truths like “you cannot be a dickhead and win sports personality of the year”. It was after the watershed.

"All the flashy animations and rolling news of Fox and Sky are no match for the steely middle-aged BBC news reader"

This moves me onto the second best news channel which, I hate to say it, is Sky News. This may be seen as quite the accolade but as there are only two British 24 hour news channels, it’s no achievement. Previously there were three, with ITV News running for 5 years after it was launched in 2000. The fact that it was closed so more funds could go to CITV demonstrate how hard it is to make 24 hour news watchable. Ever since, like a non-stop Jeremy Kyle with celebrities, Sky have been spouting sensationalist crap over our airwaves. Sky News attracts only the very worst journalist, presenters, and guests. Kay Burley may be the most vile woman in television today. Their outlook is thinly veiled right-wing propaganda, easy on Tories and brutal on Labour, while bashing extremism in an attempt to look moral. The only comfort I can take from Sky News is that nobody watches it.

Sky News: "thinly veiled right-wing propaganda, easy on Tories and brutal on Labour, while bashing extremism in an attempt to look moral." 

Unfortunately, Sky News isn’t the least watched 24 hour news channel. There's a whole host of government owned TV channels from Russia, India, Qatar and Nigeria that broadcast in English. It’s no secret most of these channels are just facades that hide realities behind oppressive regimes. Saying that, RT’s (Russia) panel discussion can be fun, until they start reporting on international issues: then it can’t decide if they’re hard-core commies guarding the fatherland or neo-Nazi puppets of the Kremlin. Al-Jazeera (Qatar) has captured a huge youth audience on social media, but the feeling you’re being sold a lie by a tyrannical regime lingers.

This leads me to what may not be the best but is certainly the most entertaining news channel. MEMRI TV is a non-profit news agency that translates Arab and Iranian TV to “bridge the language gap.” However, it is now known as the most violent and offensive news channel around. They brawl over whether Saddam Hussein was a martyr, throw shoes and claim beatings are the cure for wifely disorders. You won’t find that on the BBC.

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