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Speaking out against the propaganda machine

....While there is a fashionable queasiness about the big bad corporations influencing children to adopt unhealthy lifestyles, there is little queasiness about TV delivering the Government’s messages. Celebrity endorsements of crisps, cola and sugary food by the likes of Gary Lineker are denounced as a shocking manipulation of children’s minds. But somehow it is not shockingly manipulative when the Food Standards Agency advocates that broadcasters use — guess what — celebrities and cartoon characters to sell children 5 A DAY (five portions of fruit or vegetables a day) messages.

BBC Worldwide uses CBBC characters such as the Teletubbies and the Frimbles to brand food products deemed nutritionally sound. It appears that Ofcom’s problem is not about using cartoon characters or celebrities to influence children’s diet or lifestyle per se. Rather, if they are to be used, they have to endorse the right diet and lifestyle. And what is “right” is increasingly dictated by the State.

Policy placement threatens journalistic integrity and political accountability. When policy issues are the focus of current affairs programmes, the journalists must adhere to strict guidelines of veracity. The Paxmans and Snows keep a rein on the wilder claims of politicians. Such stringent broadcasting criteria do not apply when policy messages are delivered through entertainment formats. Kris Murrin, presenter of the misanthropic Honey We’re Killing the Kids, can get away with terrifying hapless parents into believing they are poisoning their offspring by letting them munch on a bag of crisps, without any cross-examination of her “facts”. Where is the evidence to back up Sainsbury’s poster boy’s litany of ill-founded contemporary prejudices against modern food? Shouldn’t St Jamie be challenged to explain how our digestive systems distinguish between the nutritional content of ciabatta with a drizzle of olive oil versus bread and dripping?

Policy placement is not just about diet. Just when Tony Blair focuses the domestic agenda on “the politics of behaviour”, we have a flurry of reality TV shows about changing people’s behaviour. The message is that private lives need mentoring and monitoring by third party “experts”..... Claire Fox - The Times

I'm sure someone somewhere is adding her name to a re-education course she will be "invited" along to...

Comments

"BBC Worldwide uses CBBC characters such as the Teletubbies and the Frimbles to brand food products deemed nutritionally sound"

The Teletubbies? nutritionally sound? Surely some mistake???

Ciabatta with Olive Oil is more nutritionally sound because it's Multicultural - by which they actually mean it's Ethno-Posh, being not from around here.

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