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A clichéd view of the media

Ivor Gaber complains that the the “media frame” for reporting on the murders of Lin and Megan Russell in Kent and its aftermath was “those trusted clichés ‘the bungling bureaucrat’, ‘the misguided psychiatrist’ and so on”.

And this is how Gaber, a newspaper and TV journalist before becoming an academic, who was brought into the Stone inquiry team because media coverage had become an important issue, starts his piece in today’s Media Guardian:

“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” is a mantra drilled into journalists from the time they first submit their expenses claims.

There is no humour in this. It is presented as a fact. So here we have him taking a totally clichéd “frame” which undermines everything else he says in his article on how the big Michael Stone story was missed.

Yes, the phrase about not letting the facts get in the way of the story is used in newsrooms but often ironically and usually about a competitor whose story is not as fully researched at it should be.

Those who take the phrase as a literal guide do not, on the whole, last long. They get sacked or eased out by an editor afraid of the courts or the PCC.

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