Written by Alex Hickey
Breaking News! Maltese media blows it … again!
The island shed a tear together last weekend at the loss of one of our youth, Zack Meli, I had the pleasure of meeting him back in my high school days, despite not ever having the chance to get close. But for the most part we ran with similar crowds and I can say with confidence that he was one of our nations’ best. He may have not always been an ideal role model, but he was a good guy and enjoyed his life and tried to stay out of trouble and it bothers me that now, on top of the fact that he is gone, we have to suffer through the fact that the last stretch of his journey on this earth was shrouded in speculation and questionable claims.
What should have been a solemn occasion of reflection for us all turned into a media circus where fingers were pointed and people were unnecessarily put under the spotlight. Is there no rest after one’s parting anymore? But that’s not what this is about, I want to give him the peace he deserves in the end of the day and I am bound by that. The issue I want to go over today is about the media sensationalizing stories to get their numbers up and the deep underlying issues that come with that. Sounds boring? Well hold on tight there snowflake, we’re getting to the juice.
Are governments spying on schizophrenics enough? There you go, told you it would get heated up. We need more cameras in their house, caretakers watching them day and night. These were the insane claims of a local station out in Florida one hot July afternoon, and would have struck a chord with many had it not been so obviously a humorous joke meant to play to the kind of sensational bullshit that is a key selling point for so many viewers. And this is a major issue with the news world today because when information becomes a product then the providers of that product have to find a way of getting people to buy it. And when the value of news goes down, ratings do go up but only because you’re catering to the lowest common denominator, the uneducated and hostile.
For example, when another online tabloid put up a piece about a clearly disturbed woman jumping into a dumpster last year and had to take it down a couple days later because it was deemed insensitive, lotsa lovin’there, we can see that for sure. And these are the kinds of people who get thousands and thousands of views but as American media taught us way back I the eighties, where’s the beef baby? Because in the end anybody can create a scandal when you apply it to a gullible, insecure demographic of people and that is no offense to anyone who reads these things, media outlets are smart. Who wouldn’t check out a picture or two with those beautiful shimmering seas and not feel proud, or find out about what humorous exploits some guy trying to raise money for some cause would go through to get there. Fact is, we do sometimes need some scandal, some fun and something light, but when we leave that in the hands of irresponsible amateurs, then we need to remain extremely careful when they decide to make an attempt at actual journalism.
That being said, in the Meli case, it was big media that actual told us that this was a murder case from the start, without any actual evidence other than the fact that there was a guy and his girlfriend in Paceville at the scene of the crime. Now I am not going to jump on the train in the opposite direction either, if there was a case of wrongdoing which may I remind you no one in Paceville is innocent in that respect, from drunken Maltese teens, zealous European tourists and bouncers who could possibly take out a tank, however that is not the point here; this was a fucked up incident and it wasn’t dealt with correctly and the media needs to address this issue.
And even with an apology, it wouldn’t matter much as we have once again opened Pandora ’s Box to the us against them argument that so many are suffering from. And again, I will watch my words as this isn’t a Maltese issue either as we have clearly seen in the last section of the Italian elections. However, there is a fervent sense of nationalism even in Malta that is developing and the last thing we need is news outlets fanning the flames with scandalous claims, referring to someone who by the way was named in the first sentence as ‘the Bulgarian’, I mean come on, how sick are these people, do they have no integrity anymore?
So what is all this about? Where is the beef, you may be asking? Fascism, that’s the beef that I have. And there is a lot of it and always has been, I have no issue with people and their views, let them do as they please, but don’t provoke people to take unnecessary actions when you are not even sure that the situation happened as you are claiming it did. It’s when things get redundant and unnecessary that the news goes from being informative and important to tabloid gossip. If the Maltese media want to use that in their day to day pieces fine, but they should probably give up their credentials as purveyors of news and focus on their juicy stories like other tabloid news who want to talk about things they have no idea about just for the clicks, like how many ġbejniet it would there are in parliament and what it would take to get intelligent votes. Let’s start by educating then we can get to the cheese.