This major beef I have with papers at the moment isn’t in this case an example from the Metro (the paper this blog is about) its from the standard, but the Metro and pretty much all the papers are doing it at the moment, so I do have a reason to be bitching here. It was just the standard was the one that set me off this time.
So: when you’re covering a huge issue that’s split opinion on major issues, what you usually do in order to allow your readers to make an informed decision on which side they fall in an argument, what you’re supposed to do in the name of balance is you get experts involved. You get statisticians to gather all this information and research and do lots of work and put all this information into easily legible pie charts and graphs and facts and figures…..or in this case (and thousands of others); just ask random idiots from a business for a quote.Now, in my cynical eyes, this “news” article translates out as this:
….okay two seconds, just had a better idea for a parody article:
Yes, a boss of Marks and Spencer’s says the benefits system is too easy on youngsters and they’ll get the wrong idea and stay with it because its easy, that’s definitely a neutral perspective, they have such wonderful insight into the topic with all their experience of how the benefits system works. Which I’m not claiming to have either by the way, but I wasn’t given a full page article or asked by the House of Lords about my lack of understanding or empathy regarding people enduring the government’s miserable attempts to kick as many people off benefits whether they’re getting a job outside of it or not. Therefore I think I’m fully justified in having a rant at papers that think this story means anything or is an actual story and not just another person’s opinion. This article has no concrete facts in it like most of these articles don’t.
Also note how there’s no mention in this article of the unfair and incredibly dodgy unpaid overtime all Marks and Spencer’s staff are forced to “volunteer for”…..
…..oh slander is that? Well if you ask any Marks and Spencer’s entry level employees, they’ll tell you it isn’t. Yeah, you have concerns for young people, don’t you? And what’s your solution?
…………………..yeah, no mention of that. They just wittered about it to the house of lords apparently. Again, taking an effective route to the heart of the problem there.
Seriously, if any of these businesspeople I keep seeing in papers talking about the massive unemployment problem don’t outright preface their opinion with: “Unpaid workfare placements and unpaid internships should not be a part of government employment statistics because its really not a job because no money or sustainable means of living is being offered,” then I don’t trust they have anyone except their own interests at heart. How does being a boss of M&S mean you have insight into why so many people stick with benefits? Here’s a suggestion: pay your employees for overtime, and pay people on workfare. I think lack of a sustainable living resource on offer is probably a bigger reason people stick with benefits rather than offer their souls to a corporation that can’t be arsed to pay them….oh you’re not going to mention that and just go on and on about how the system’s broken and people are lazy? Like everyone else who hasn’t been unemployed for at least two decades has been saying? Wow, I sure feel the full thrust of your insight here.
Either way: the standard, the metro, the mail, the express, the sun, all of them: you are not helping anyone by publicising the opinions on how to fix the unemployment situation given by people who have quite clearly been taxpayers for a long time and never had to go through the benefits system as it is. Just because someone’s in charge of a shop; that doesn’t mean they’re omniscient or have any degree more insight than you, me or any bastard you walk past in the street. M&S boss said that thing? Makes no difference. This should have just been some other letter on the opinion page. If you don’t have at least one pie chart; I’m not interested. Granted most pie charts on this subject use figures swayed by workfare being ruled as a job when it isn’t (stop openly lying, then I’ll start listening IDS,) but still, back yourself up with something; ANYTHING, or what you say means just as much as some idiot ranting on a blog.
Do some more research and get some empathy.
End of rant.
(Well aware of the hypocrisy by the way, its just this issue bugs the shit out of me.)