Stereotypical Journalism and Why It Infuriates Me

I read an article today published by local independent The Bristol Cable. An article which absolutely infuriated me.

I’ve seen a lot of these articles during the election campaign, stereotyping of the poor, working classes. Making sure that everyone who reads them knows that people who live in these poor areas are not only poor and hard done by but they are also uneducated and know nothing about politics. These articles have been produced from everyone from the independents like this one to the mainstream media, even my news programme of choice, Channel 4 News, have had a few debates in such places.

This time the article was in my area, well it was in Avonmouth, a mile from where I live. My Twitter location always places me in Avonmouth to give you an idea of how close I am! I’m in Lawrence Weston (mentioned in the article). A very poor, quite run down area, it has seen it’s fair share of troubles over the years. I grew up in a council house in Shirehampton, a mile in the other direction, far more run down now than it was when I was growing up, but far less council properties than there used to be although the youth club I grew up going to is now a private daycare…say no more.

So, now you have your bearings. My problem with these articles, and it isn’t just this one, as I say I’ve read several over the past few weeks in multiple areas. But this time it got personal. Is that the reporters go into a “poor” (read low income) area and they go to a “working man’s” club (because what’s more “LABOUR” than a working man’s club?!), then they find the most uneducated people in there to interview and so it begins.

This particular article has gems in it such as the “who?” response when asked about Ed Miliband, and nonsensical answers about why they support UKIP. “I don’t think UKIP will get in but they’ll shake up a few feathers, and that’s the only reason I’m voting for them.” Seriously?!

The pick of the quotes was this: “If you’re white, working, and drive a car you’re fucked” No reasoning why they thought this. It made absolutely no sense, but most of the quotes included made no sense, further proving that people in these areas are thick as horse-shite.

Well, I’m afraid I’m here to say that’s not true. I may have grown up in this area, gone to school in this area and now be living back in this area but I am far from uneducated. I am also not alone, there are a lot of very well educated people who live in Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, and Shirehampton. We don’t all agree with each other, we will all probably vote differently but I am going to write some things here now to prove that we aren’t all thick as horse-shite and that as a community we are fed-up of being represented as such.

I have always been interested in politics, everybody should be in my opinion it affects every aspect of our lives. We are taxed on the money we earn, food we buy, the petrol we put in our cars, if we need to claim benefits how much we get depends on who is in Government. Things that do or don’t happen in our local area can depend on the local MP we have and whether they are someone willing to fight our corner. The environment is of vital importance to everyone, public transport costs which in Bristol are abhorrent and so on it goes.

Like many people when an election is coming up I read every single part manifesto, even UKIP’s (sigh), I do this despite my ongoing and public support for The Green Party which has lasted for several years. As a result of this I voted for the Lib Dems at the last General Election (oops) instead of the Greens which had been my standard vote until that time (and since then in local and European).

I take each election as it comes knowing that whilst my heart may be with The Green Party my brain may quite sensibly steer me to another party. I also think it’s important to know what everyone is offering, what I am turning down when I put my X in that box on polling day.

Yes, I am currently on benefits, I have Bipolar Disorder and suspected Schizophrenia and have been very ill with it recently. I defy anybody to suffer with a severe mental illness and not need to take time to cope eventually. I managed ten years after diagnosis without medication. I am now moving onto medication so have to adjust to a new way of living, the medications are hard, they affect you physically and mentally (believe it or not) and take a lot of getting used to. Contrary to Conservative propaganda I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on benefits, I have only been out of work for the past year and prior to that I ran my own business. My Husband works part time but has to care for me, I’m still unable to manage my own meds, go to appointments on my own, a lot of things many people may take for granted.

But that being said, my goal is to get back to working, I hate not having a proper routine and earning my own money, and I certainly hate living on the breadline.

I am pro-immigration, pro freedom of movement within the EU, I believe immigrants to this country add economic and cultural value to our country on the most part. I have made use of the freedom of movement within the EU and lived in Greece for a year.

We have a moral obligation to help refugees, God help us if this country were to decay to the point of many African or Middle Eastern countries if our reaction to their refugees is anything to go by.

I am consistently stunned that people don’t know who is running in their local area, this is something which was mentioned within the above article when the Green Party were mentioned as they said nobody had been campaigning. All of this information is available online, nobody has campaigned in this area for The Green Party, The Lib Dems, or UKIP but people are running for all of them, and the people in the article said they would vote UKIP (contradiction…shakes head).

I find it disappointing that the candidate who has been the MP for this constituency is Conservative. She has done a stellar job locally and as an individual, an independent, in a local election could sway me to vote for her. But unfortunately I am not going to vote for the Conservatives in a General Election.

I come from a Labour family, but for me, Labour have never been an option. They are far too right wing for my taste. They have also always made decisions when in power which have adversely affected my life, and how many people have forgotten that it was Labour who let the banks annhilate the economy I have no idea!

I will vote Green. I doubt Green will gain a seat in Bristol North West (my constituency), but they have a very good chance of gaining a seat from Labour in Bristol West so I have my fingers crossed for that.

Ultimately, I want the press to stop assuming people like me, who live in these areas are stupid, and know nothing, and going out of their way to prove it. I get so infuriated when I read these articles. It is not hard to find intelligent people with genuine, informed opinions.

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One thought on “Stereotypical Journalism and Why It Infuriates Me

  1. I wanted to add some comments I've received privately concerning this, firstly from Twitter:

    “Miliband quote was sarcastic, informed by views on political system” from @TheBristolCable (publishers of piece I refer to)

    “I thought the interviewees were intelligent & had valid opinions on Labour's failure to support working class” from @DrewR0se (coordinator of The Bristol Cable)

    I also received this comment via email from someone who wishes to stay anonymous:

    “It's very obvious what kind of article he wanted to write doesn't properly reflect the neighbourhood and makes the people of the area look downright backwards.

    Just for the simple fact that he would publish there swear words and the drinks they were drinking he's trying to create a judgement on the people just by adding those to the piece, were all members of the population required to add to the conversation where was the woman's point of view the 20 something's point of view how old were these people if they remember the thatcher years. If you ask me if you are driving a car you are lucky as that used to be. Luxury for most. Lazy news, lazy reporters, painting an off picture and trying to make everyone thing that Bristolians are racist. Totally agree with you.”

    Evidently I'm not the only person who's nerve was hit here. Please do add your thoughts to this debate, either with a comment here, or by one of my social media channels, you can also email me at BrizzleLassClaire@gmail.com to stay anonymous.

    Like

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