In The News : The News

It’s been a bad week for journalists not quite understanding what they’re talking about.

Sky News’ presenter Jayne Secker was interviewing gospel rap artist Guvna B, who was discussing youth violence.

“My mum’s from Ghana, and she used to say this Ghanaian saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,'”said the rapper, whose real name is Isaac Charles Borquaye.

Unfortunately, Secker took the proverb quite literally by reminding Gangsta B that “we’re not in a village in Ghana” while later adding that “there is much of a community in some parts of London.”  Fortunately the musician took to Twitter to make sure everyone else understood.

I actually thought that the answer was very well structured and very eloquent.  I do sometimes wonder if the presenter doesn’t understand or just feels the need to challenge.  This question was exemplified by Richard Madeley who challenged Our Future Our Choice co-founder Femi Oluwole about whether being in the EU is the same as being in the Customs Union.

You absolutely need to watch the video to get the context.

Oluwole, a law graduate with a special interest in EU law who is also a youth campaigner for a People’s Vote, appeared on GMB to talk about Brexit and a second referendum.  He kind of knows what he’s talking about.  He is proposing another referendum question: “Deal, versus membership of the EU.”

This had Madeley stumped.

Theresa May’s deal does take Britain out the EU as mandated by the second referendum on membership of the EU, but keeps Britain as part a customs union.

Madeley argued that many people don’t like the deal – “They don’t think that it does take us out of the EU because it keeps us in the customs union.”

When Oluwole reiterated that the two things weren’t the same, Madeley pressed ahead with questioning then about why, in that case, are people so against the deal, as if to question the expert’s authority. As said expert pointed out, if Britain was out the EU it would lose any control and influence over the Customs Union, and given that Britain currently has three times as many votes on the subject as any other EU member state, it’s a lot of control to lose.

Unperturbed, Madeley keeps going getting increasingly argumentative. “The people that voted to leave don’t agree with you.”

“It’s a bad deal but it fulfils the mandate and 100 per cent takes us out of the EU”.

“Well, a lot of people say it’s not 100 per cent. Just saying it, doesn’t make it so,” Richard responded.

Law literally says so, Femi insisted. “No, no, no. Law says it makes it so. As in I literally studied EU law. We’d be out of the European Union. It is literally an exit deal.”

Having been well and truly told how stupid his argument was (and, obiter, how uneducated a lot of people including Madeley are on this subject), the bit that irritated me wrapping up the interview was when Madeley suggested that they would just have to “agree to differ.”

There’s this phrase about letting people think you’re an idiot, versus opening your mouth and proving it…  Sometimes I wish the news would only challenge to the extent that it is an informative presentation of both sides of an argument, rather than for show business.

I think that Georgia Diebelius may just have made a mistake.  I think it might take more than the church and two pensioners to change the alphabet.

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