An Nuacht; The Strange Case of Nigel Trevor-Smythe

If you think that the “news” is absolute shite wherever you live, you should try watching it in America sometime. (You don’t have to go to America, of course. ‘Tis a silly place. Just watch it online. Positively dreadful. Pablum. Propaganda.) That having been said, it’s not as bad as Al- Jazeera or the “news” in China or North Korea.

Which is why I follow the BBC and RTÉ, every day.

Not that much better; but as they say, you have to travel abroad to get news from home.

I’m not knocking RTÉ so much, because there’s not so much to knock upon. With a few exceptions, their correspondents walk around on egg -shells for fear of offending someone and/or losing their jobs. Their news coverage is very similar to American news coverage; there’s war all over (but not in the northern six!—can’t risk losing that tourist money), a man died in a tractor accident, and just to make you feel better, a dog saved a child from nearly drowning.

In all fairness, their sports coverage is great.

Then we have the BBC; I interpret the initials in my own way; use your imagination.

I actually prefer the BBC to RTÉ. This is in spite of the fact that, as a child, every time I watched it on television, if there was a story about the northern six, there was always a photo of a car bomb exploding behind the talking head doing the broadcast. It could have been a story about wheat, or cows, or a Pat and Mike joke, or whatever. You still had to see that little blue Ford blowing up in the background.

Because, you know, that’s all Irish people do.

At least I’m not bitter.

Ahem. I actually do prefer the BBC, because even though they mince their words like all other mass media outlets, they at least make an effort to report on issues in the northern six counties of Ireland, and sometimes, they actually tell the truth; you have to read between the lines, of course, but that goes with any news organisation.

However, that does not stop me and my friends from making fun of them.

Every time we discuss a BBC news story, we have a little rule; you have to come up with the most silly British name you can think of, and when you’re done talking, you “sign off” with that name in BBC fashion.

My fake name is Nigel Trevor-Smythe. I hope there isn’t a real Nigel Trevor-Smythe out there; not because I’m afraid of offending him; I just hope there isn’t one.

(Yes, I know, there is a BBC correspondent named Nigel Smith. I hope his name is not hyphenated with Trevor, not because I’m afraid of being sued, just out of compassion.)

As I said, I follow the BBC daily. Like any news organisation, they sometimes (okay, all the time), have to put some “filler” up, so people have something to read or watch.

My favourite of late was back on the fourth of July.

“U.S. Army sun-cream unearthed on Salisbury Plain.”

It was originally posted online as “Stonehenge and American bacon”, or something like that, but BBC changed it quick. Because sun-cream is more politically correct than “American bacon”, I guess. Or maybe it’s because American bacon is not as good as Canadian bacon.

It seems that some folks from the Wessex Archaeology discovered a treasure trove of tins of U.S. military-issued sun cream preventive and tins of sliced bacon near Stonehenge. (The Wiltshire Plain was a training ground for U.S. and British troops during WWII.)

While I am equally fascinated by both Stonehenge and bacon, and appreciate the efforts of those involved in the discovery, given that my grandfather and great-uncle fought in that war, it’s not exactly breaking news. It’s something you write about when you have nothing else to write about.

Kind of like what I’m writing right now.

But the story was great, because the folks at Wessex Archaeology noted that the sun-cream was perfectly preserved.

But a spokesman from the department said, “Sadly, there were no contents left in the tins of sliced bacon.”

Obviously (I hope) this man was making a joke.

There’s nothing funny about the mass media, however; they are trying to scare the living daylights out of you to keep you tuned in, stay in, and drop off.

If you want the real “news”, go out and talk to your neighbours; failing that, just look outside your windows.

I’m Nigel Trevor-Smythe, Na trioblóidí.


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