Friday, March 27, 2009

Newswipe by Charlie Brooker

Last night I managed to get to see the first of a new series by Charlie Brooker of Screenwipe fame called Newswipe (BBC4 Wed 10pm), instead of dealing with the trivia of everyday television in this he deals with the trivia of everyday news.

The opening title sequence is quite serious and newsworthy and I wondered if this was going to be something boring, it wasn't. Brooker takes the news apart with the same non-glee as he does every other thing he sees and holds it up for us to inspect the dissected corpse.

First up was, of course, the economy which he quite rightly points out is something the news agencies are loving, especially to pad out any other news story - just tie it in to the Great Economic Doom that has befallen us and job's a good 'un.

Shown up expertly with clips from Dermot's Economic Cycle in which Dermot cycles (har-de-har) around Britain to show the hardships we're facing. Cue Dermot's attempts to prize out tales of woe with Brooker acting as the inner-voice of Dermot growing ever bored as everyone tells him that 'well things aren't too bad really'.

Next was the non-event that was the tiny protest against the parade of soldiers that got blown up into a media frenzy, and the big event that was the thousands of peaceful protesters in Ireland that barely got a mention as it wasn't as 'sexy' as a school shooting in Germany.

The most perfectly, if obvious, edit came at the end of a piece on that same school shooting. Having a forensic psychologist psychiatrist being interviewed by a news station stating matter of factly what we can do to prevent these terrible events, he starts off with blaming the media... (I'm paraphrasing what he said here) [additional thanks to the video (see end) I can make these quotes now]

"Don't start the story with sirens".
"Don't start the story with sirens blaring".
Cue clip of news story with racing ambulances sirens blaring.
"Don' t show pictures of the killer".
"Don' t have photographs of the killer".
Cue clip of news desk with wall sized photograph behind it.
"Don't make this 24/7 hour coverage".
Cue news story shot of empty podium at which we're told the German Chancellor will be speaking.
"Don't lead on the number of deaths".
"Do anything you can not to make the body count the lead story"
Cue news clip with voice over of "A massacre here today". "Carnage in the classroom".
"Not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero".
cue news desk "Dressed in black combat gear the gunman opened fire at random"

"Don't make it a 24-hour rolling story".
Cue news story shot of empty podium at which we're told someone at some point might stand to talk about the shooting.

When he finished speaking we cut back to the news studio in which the anchor clearly stunned stutters "B...But" before we leave them there.

Perfect and just what we needed.

[Additional - Much as I dislike linking to possible unlicensed copyrighted material you can now see the clip in question on Youtube link found via Tabloid Watch]


Anonymous said...

What is the view behind Charlie Brooker - what section of London? I'm dying to know.

FlipC said...

Well Tower Bridge is the most prominent landmark with what appears to be London City Hall to the right of the screen. So the view is from around 51°30'19"N 4'48"W... okay am I the only one who thinks what I've just said is slightly creepy?