I've been in the office all day today, listening to the soothing babble of BBC Radio 5 Live. The main topic of conversation has been, of course, the twitchy stock markets, collapsing banks and sliding house prices. A number of guests have been asked what, or who is to blame. The most popular answer has been....the media. Now, as a part-time journalist myself, I'm aware of the power of the written and spoken word. But it's not that powerful.
Blaming "the media" for all sorts of troubles and tribulations is the last resort of many a scoundrel. I've lost count of the number of celebrities whose indiscretions were revealed, only to turn round and blame "the media" for their demise. Of course, not doing the silly thing in the first place might have been a better way of avoiding public humiliation.
The most important reason why "the media" is not the guilty party is simply that there is no such thing as "the media". There are no journalistic cabals, no conspiracies, and certainly no Government control. If there was even a hint of the latter, then successive Governments would not get into difficulties, and blame, er - you know who - for their poor image.
All of us hacks simply report what we see and hear. And yes, bad news does make the headlines more then good news. That's what most people want to see and hear. Best advice is to take everything with a pinch of salt anyway. Life is good, and mostly funny. At least from where I sit.