One nation, controlled by the media ?

There’s a Green Day song out at the moment called “American Idiot”. The lyrics go like this…

“Don’t want to be an American idiot
One nation controlled by the media
Information age of hysteria
It’s going out to idiot America”

However, I feel that it’s happening more and more here in the UK too. News events are spun by the media to purposefully worry and concern people. It’s scare-mongering and it’s happening now. We’ve already got people rushing to the doctors to get the flu jab and depleting stocks because they’re worried about “bird fu”, which the flu jab DOESN’T protect you against. However, news broadcasters and newspapers continue to churn out details of “the pandemic that we should all worry about”.

This is what happens…

Hype – Bird Flu will destroy us all! It’s in the UK now! Panic like hell, go to the doctors.
Reaction – People go to doctors. They get flu jab which they believe will protect them. Wrong.
Result – Stocks of regular flu vaccine run low, resulting in more panic and more people going to the doctors demanding flu vaccine before it runs out. End result ? Even less vaccine.
Reality – Flu Vaccine won’t stop bird flu. There’s been 24 deaths – none in Europe or anywhere near the UK.

Now everyone appears to be worrying about the new licensing laws here in the UK. They all believe that everyone will be able to visit pubs and clubs 24 hours a day getting smashed out of their tiny minds on lager. Yet again, more media hype that continues to rumble on. Yet again people panic and believe that they will be attacked by drunken yobs at 9 o’clock in the morning. The truth ? Well, the truth is somewhat different…

Hype – 24 hour drinking starts today! Everyone lock your doors! The pubs are open all the time! People will be drunk all day long! Panic!!
Reaction – People write letters to The Sun and The Daily Mail, complain about government decisions.
Result – Everybody believes that the new law is a bad idea and becomes worried of the consequences.
Reality – Around 60,000 outlets can sell alcohol for longer. However, only around 1,000 outlets have gone for 24 hour licences – about 700 of these are SHOPS, like Tesco or Asda! The other 300-odd are pubs and clubs. However, the 300-odd pubs and clubs can choose to use that 24 hour licence if they want. It doesn’t mean they will be open all day every day.

The landlord in my local last night said, “We’ve got a licence until 2 every night now – everyone has had to get a new licence anyway. However we’ll just carry on closing at 11 in the week then perhaps midnight on Friday and maybe midnight or 1AM on a Saturday. It just depends how busy it is. If there’s customers then we’ll stay open a bit longer. It’ll do good when you think about it – what are you doing now?”

… at that point I was buying “one last round”, even though I had plenty of beer left – purely because it was 11PM and “last orders” had been called. We were rushing that last pint. If I knew that they were open until midnight then I’d probably have left home later and spent more than 10 minutes in the house!