In its purest form, a newspaper consists of a collection of facts which, in controlled circumstances, can actively improve knowledge.
Unfortunately, facts are expensive, so to save costs and drive up sales, unscrupulous dealers often "cut" the basic contents with cheaper material, such as wild opinion, bullshit, empty hysteria, reheated press releases, advertorial padding and photographs of Lady Gaga with her bum hanging out.
The hapless user has little or no concept of the toxicity of the end product: they digest the contents in good faith, only to pay the price later when they find themselves raging incoherently in pubs, or – increasingly – on internet messageboards.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Charlie Brooker has an excellent column in the Guardian today in which he calls newspapers 'the biggest threat to the nation's mental wellbeing':