Perhaps it’s just me, but there’s nothing more certain to get me to zone out of any media encounter than that moment when the subject replies to a question with: ‘So….’….and then off we go.
Or not, in my case. Headphones out; radio off; reach for the remote: click.
“So.” It’s the new must have standalone as a way in to any reply. An edgy tic. Better than ‘Er..’Surely? Well, er, not sure on that one either because at least it shows a sense of collecting thoughts.
The ‘So’ crowd aren’t collecting, they’re owning. They’re closely followed by the ‘Look’ crew who believe they control space by setting a firm starter. Pay attention. It’s me. Focus. Er, I’d rather not.
Take a moment and count them as the ‘so and so’s’ land across medialand in the new decade.
Decisive Westminster politicians sought to show just how brilliant they are at making decisions by answering the Brexit miasma questions they faced with a firm, decisive, ‘Listen…’ as their starters.
BREXIT: PUZZLED AND DESPONDENT
Remember all those dire debating dramas as amendments and crucial votes sapped the will to live from the hearts of millions of puzzled and despondent listeners? It went like this:
Hack, to Very Important Politician: ‘You’ve a big decision to take today. How will you vote?’
VIP, chest swelling: ‘Look! We’re at a very important point. It is vital we get this right for us all.’
Hack: ‘Does that mean you’re voting yes or no?’
VIP: ‘Listen. I’ve already told you, there is nothing more important than what we decide today.’
On it goes; or rather on it went to nowhere in particular. With Brexit now mercifully a dreadful memory of the twenty-teens we’ve new themes topping the media agenda: Climate. Trump.
TRUMP AND CLIMATE
Here’s my pick for the worst Q&A’s we’re going to get in the months ahead.
Hack, to VIP (pundit, or politician): ‘Will Trump quit or be forced out by scandal and chaos?’
VIP: ‘So. The President is facing an unprecedented challenge on so, so many fronts….’
Hack to VIP 2: ‘Is the climate change disaster irreversible in your opinion?’
VIP: ‘Look. We have to act NOW. We know this, we all do. Listen; I’ve been warning for years that….’
And so it goes. The way the media works to encourage this nonsense is by inviting them back time and again and there’s the prep-team helping them get ready for their 15 seconds of fame with useless advice encouraging them to dominate and display their authority and ownership. Dreadful.
My plea to them all for the new decade is to tell it like it is. Goes a bit like this;
Hack, to (honest) pundit; “Do you think Trump can win again despite everything?”
Pundit: “Who knows? Trying to second guess a clown or a genius will turn you into one or the other and I’d rather stay just looking puzzled.”
Hack: “Does that mean Trump can win and climate change will get worse as a result?”
Pundit: “I don’t know. The people who really know are keeping quiet, just listening. Silent majorities always win these things because they know the way to win is to walk away from the certain winner.”