Silly season: Mountains from molehills

Please note: The current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.

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Some people are more than fed-up with media coverage of the current pandemic. Even those considered most at risk (like me with multiple sclerosis, a disability, a heart condition, and being over 65), have really had enough. Despite the saying “No news is good news”, that is what exactly what they want to see.

At this time of year, in normal times, countries north of the equator are shrugging off the ‘silly season’. That’s when, traditionally, the holidays cause a scarcity of news stories and the media often makes much more of a story than it is really worth.

silly seasonThis slow news season, to use another name for it, tends to last from late July until early September. While nations in the southern hemisphere experience a similar period after Christmas, during their summer.

Worldwide, it seems to be a summer event.

The year 2020, however, cannot be considered normal. Far from it.

  • The so-called silly season this year has been dominated by the continuing COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic and its resulting effects.
  • Black Lives Matter campaigners ensured that their message grew significantly after George Floyd died at the hands of then Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. It has led to international calls for an end to racism.
  • The US presidential election continues but is being dominated by Donald Trump’s handling, or mishandling, of both issues.

Of course, those three events alone did not make all the summer’s news but they created a massive amount of media coverage. Was it all worthy of the treatment it received or was some boosted in importance by a lack of other stories?

More coverage than deserved

And, sadly, I believe that some stories have been given more coverage than they really deserve.

While not seeking to belittle any of the three events I have chosen to highlight, the fact remains that ‘over egging’ (a British expression meaning to go too far in exaggerating or embellishing something) does take place.

We didn’t need daily coverage of the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths. Often inaccurate, the daily repetition had a numbing effect and reduced the impact of important pandemic stories.

Similarly, the latest politician, sports star, or other celebrity to ‘take a knee’ became a bigger story than the anti-racism message itself. Surely not the intention.

And the US presidential election seems to lurch from one relatively minor story to the next, but perhaps that is true-to-life.

silly season

Silly season news: UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, taking a knee in his office. But was it news? No. (Pic: dailymail.co.uk).

What can we do to get mainstream media to not get sucked into the silly season maelstrom of making much of minor stories? Well, in truth, not a lot.

Journalists working for mainstream media have a job to do. They have to write, or say (depending on the media), something. And the silly season means they do their best in very trying conditions.

I know, I have been there!

Today, as a independent journalist, it is different. I am my own boss and if there is nothing worth saying, I just don’t. That’s why there was no post on this site on August 13.

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Spelling

Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre      not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)    Colour                               not color                                                                                     Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                      Haematology                not hematology                                                                          Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.

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