Thursday 22 March 2018

Gene Kerrigan: Journalism is being sent to the spin bin

The media can't tell it like it is because it has surrendered control over the language, writes Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

In A Midsummer Night's Dream (a play I've never seen or read), Shakespeare wrote about the "poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling", glancing from heaven to earth and back. "And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown the poet's pen turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name."

I've no idea why or how I came to memorise that in my teens (probably trying to impress someone), but I loved that notion of giving "to airy nothing a local habitation and a name".

In the humdrum world of journalism, that would translate as "we name things for what they are". In journalism, when our eyes roll in a fine frenzy, it's usually the drink. But the notion of naming things for what they are is at the very heart of the business.

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