Sunday, 23 October 2011

Too much information?

Having sat through the last moments of Colonel Gaddafi's regime borne out in the media this week,India Knight ha decided that she has had enough of TV footage.

Writing in her Sunday Times column this morning she says that there is such a thing as too much information. We’re drowning in our own voyeurism, drowning in ghoulishness, drowning in other people’s blood

He’s about to die! He’s all bloodied! Pause, rewind, freeze-frame — it’s all yours! This ... this thing is on the home page of The Guardian’s website and starts playing automatically, forcing you to watch for the seconds it takes to scramble away from the page. Links to photographs of his corpse are pinging up all over the social media, should you fancy that instead. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling a bit Libya-ed out, the broken, dying Chinese two-year-old is still one click away.

It's a point taken up by Peter Preston in his Observer column this morning as well.Preston tells his readers that whilst television warned of "distressing images",newspapers had no such easy get out clause.

Indeed he detected that only the bitter taste of exultant revenge seemed to matter here.

The true answer, now, is that this is a race beyond winning. It's all-embracing, all-consuming, utterly unavoidable; the defining taste of failure or success. You can't, as an editor, sit piously on the sidelines any longer. You're doomed to compete, because not doing so is a kind of censorship – and a shot in the foot, not the head.

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