Thought for the Day for Lincs FM…
I love my record collection! Started when I was only fourteen years old, I can trace my teenage years, my twenties: getting married, starting work, getting ordained, children being born, the loss of loved ones and friends. All of these can be located and brought from the back of my memory into the present by the simple playing of a disc: as I play it, I’m back in the long hot summer of 1976 or some such. The media is the message.
The same is true of books, as I glance along the bookshelves at, in some cases, the dusty tomes or, in others, the brightly coloured dust jackets, I can recall the beach I was sat on when I read that Bill Bryson, the desk at college when I read that book on Church history nor the bed-time reading of that Thomas Hardy. All of the books, a little parcel of instantly recalled memory…waiting for me to pick them up and remember where I was, who I was with and what I was feeling.
To some extent, this also true of the newspapers…a newsagent’s son, from the earliest age I would pore over every newspaper in the shop as I prepared them for the paperboys to deliver: long forgotten titles: ‘The Daily Sketch’: ones that have persisted until today…the Guardian, once the Manchester Guardian, and the venerable titles which spoke and speak of a rather grander Empire past…the Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph. And so, I remember following every nuance of the first Miners’ strike in the Daily Mirror; the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher in the Guardian. Once, even, when struggling to find and agree a name for my first child, identifying the eventual winner from a discarded copy of the Sun left on a bus top by some appreciative browser of the female form.
Over the years, the media has played an increasing role in my own life as I continue to plunder its riches and, in the odd occasion, make an appearance in it.
There has been one constant: throughout the years, whether reading a book, listening to the Radio, enjoying a cd or reading the papers, we have had to rely on them being trustworthy and reliable; honest and with integrity. If I don’t read the Bible itself in this way and as in some way reliable and coming to me with integrity, then it is nothing worth.
Of late, certain members of the media have besmirched and tarnished this image of reliability and honesty and have trespassed into areas which don’t just interfere in the lives of the rich and famous and, therefore, to the media ‘fair game’. In these instances, the lives of ordinary suffering and distressed people have been invaded. A paper has closed as a result, and the whole media is under the spotlight…can we trust it?
There are signs of hope and redemption amidst the seedy tactics. Perhaps the media had got too powerful and manipulative? Governments having to keep proprietors sweet for the next election and more. The closure of a paper suggests that the power of the British public can still overwhelm and assert its moral and ethical standards. This is a source of light in a very dark episode.