It’s 0.26am and while you, especially if you’re elderly, infirm or, better still, have a young child, are a bit tender, Reporting Scotland is ready with your occasional but potent dose of Fear of Nightmares medication delivered aurally in our long-running failing hospitals soap. From the smiling Nurse Shearer, who according to our facial expression analysis register software (FEARS), believes what she says and is just following orders:
‘Good morning. The health of Scotland’s children is being put at risk by staff shortages according to a new study.’
Well that’s woken us up. I can feel the sharp dip in my emotions.
‘The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says a shortage of children’s doctors is leaving staff struggling to cope and could lead to more paediatric wards closing.’
A ‘royal college’ with a big word in their title? Impressive. They probably can be trusted unlike, say the RMT. What, they’re a trades union which campaigns for their members interests?
They did a ‘study’. That’s like research and not just journalism, isn’t it? Well we don’t hear about their methods but, based on past experience, it will be another self-selecting sample using the ‘squeaky wheel’ algorithm which gives you the best results if you want to make demands.
Here are some earlier reports on the kinds of ‘research’ done by our royal colleges trades unions:
Now, I haven’t talked of the media ‘constructing’ reality here because the word can suggest ‘making up’ reality. The social scientists first using the term ‘construction’ did not, of course mean it in that way, but to avoid accusations of paranoia from the usual suspects at BBC Scotland, I’ll use the term ‘agreeing’ based on this piece which I only partly agree with myself:
‘The media can act as a socializing agent by constructing reality and then disseminating this reality to the mass public. The “social” element comes into play when upon receiving the media’s “reality” message, the vast majority agree upon this reality and accept it. Following this pattern, social construction may be more appropriately referred to as social agreement of reality. The term construction seems to imply that the media is “making-up” or “creating” reality. While some would agree with the previous statement, I believe to spout such an assertion is ludicrous because the media often must report issues that are simply a matter of operating by typical journalist guidelines/standards. Someone must make decisions concerning what information passes on to the public. Should this be a government responsibility or the responsibility of individuals who have a real desire to be in the industry and have studied the industry? While it is easy to sit back and criticize the media, they are providing a necessary function to society and individuals need this function (i.e., information providing).’
I’m going to argue here that a group of individuals at BBC Scotland are making decisions leading to distortion of reality with damaging consequences for wider public health and for democratic engagement, despite having the guidance of a royal charter to make them ‘responsible’ and to ‘inform’ having, presumably, studied the industry at an academic level.