All The News That Isn’t News

These days I only ever get to occasionally watch TV at my brother’s house. And over Christmas I watched a bit. A couple of items stood out, both of them like sore thumbs, as very good reasons for not watching TV, and never buying a TV set.

The first one was ITV’s lunchtime national news a day or two back, where the lead news item was about Public Health England’s alarming warning of a UK epidemic of smoking and drinking and eating and lack of exercise that was killing people in droves.

That was the LEAD NEWS ITEM, FFS!!!

Fortunately, smoking was just a part of the tremendous epidemic that was sweeping the UK. There were lots of things killing people in droves, and smoking was just one of them.

Well, Christmas is usually a pretty slow news period, and perhaps there just wasn’t much else to report, so they ran the PHE story. But then we’ve had a spate (an epidemic?) of celebrity deaths: Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt, Wham’s George Michael, Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher (and her mother Debbie Reynolds the very next day), as well as an entire Russian choir in the Black Sea, two minutes after taking off from Sochi. We even had a 30-car pile-up on icy English roads, claiming at least one life. But nope, Public Health England got the lead news item.

I found it a bit ominous. And it set me wondering whether PHE might start getting more and more lead TV news items. What if this sort of “news” started to completely dominate TV? Perhaps it already does?

It’s non-news “news”. Because there isn’t actually a smoking “epidemic”. Nor is there a drinking “epidemic”. Or a fast food eating “epidemic”. Or a sugar or salt “epidemic”. None of these things are epidemics. And they aren’t killing people in droves either. They are illusions, conjured out of nothing. They’re twisting words to try to make them mean something they don’t mean.

The really bad news was that this sort of non-news “news” had managed to make it onto the top news item on ITV’s national news.

The other TV show that drew my attention was this:

Eric Idle and Professor Brian Cox to star in BBC Two musical Christmas special.

Science, Monty Python style

Brian Cox is Britain’s Pretty Face of Science. He’s also a climate change alarmist. He was also once a member of a boy band.

I didn’t watch it, because it was quite obviously going to be super-dumbed-down science. Or non-science “science”. A  bit like ITV’s non-news “news”.

A science musical, FFS!

And it seems that these days you need celebrities to drive ratings. Nobody will watch science programmes unless there’s Kim Kardashian’s ass plastered over them. Most celebrities are famous for some reason (like being in a band, or writing a book). But Kim Kardashian is someone who seems to just be a celebrity for just being a celebrity. i.e. she’s a non-celebrity “celebrity”.

Regular readers know that I take a lot of interest in asteroids, and have done so ever since I started wondering whether the Chelyabinsk fireball of 15 Feb 2013 might have been a companion of asteroid 2012 DA14, which passed the Earth on the same day (it could have been, although I’m pretty much the only person in the world who thinks so). And there’s been an upsurge in public interest in asteroids.

And now, of course, there’s the celebrity-driven Asteroid Day:

In February 2014, Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist and famed guitarist for the rock band QUEEN, began working with Grigorij Richters, the director of a new film titled 51 Degrees North, a fictional story of an asteroid impact on London and the resulting human condition. May composed the music for the film and suggested that Richters preview it at Starmus, an event organized by Dr. Garik Israelian and attended by esteemed astrophysicists, scientists and artists, including Dr. Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Rick Wakeman. The result was the beginning of discussions that would lead to the launch of Asteroid Day in 2015…

“The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it became that the human race has been living on borrowed time,” remarked Brian May. “Asteroid Day and the 100X Declaration are ways for the public to contribute to an awareness of the Earth’s vulnerability and the realization that Asteroids hit Earth all the time.” Asteroid Day would the vehicle to garner public support to increase our knowledge of when asteroids might strike and how we can protect ourselves.”

Singer Peter Gabriel is another celebrity signatory. And in a way, almost everyone involved is a celebrity. Stephen Hawking is a celebrity scientist. Richard Dawkins is a celebrity scientist and author. I’m not sure if Kim Kardashian is on board yet.

And I’m wondering whether Asteroid Day’s “asteroid awareness” about “living on borrowed time” on the “vulnerable” Earth is going to merge with Public Health England to give us an “epidemic” of asteroid impacts, that are killing droves of people all over the world, and leading to calls for people to wear hard hats all the time, and live underground.

Why not? After all, as well as being a physicist and famed guitarist, Dr Brian May is also a virulent antismoker.

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25 Responses to All The News That Isn’t News

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Celebrities, Public Health England, ASH etc we should all do without them in 2017 !

  2. petesquiz says:

    I became quite concerned, yesterday with the ‘news’ that people in the age range 40 – 60 (still just in there!) were either overweight or drank too much or didn’t exercise enough. Well, I can tell them they are WAY OFF the mark…there’s no ‘OR’ about it…I’m all three!!

  3. Michał Witek says:

    Hello Frank
    I’m Michael I’m from Poland I love to read Your Blog it is very informative and really enjoyable
    I want to just say Hello
    There in my Country Smokers are treaten bad, we have so many restritions where we cannot smoke. Today the world is more crazy and more complicated than ever.
    Take care Man and Happy Happy New Year To You!!!!

    P.s. sorry for my English it is not my native language

  4. garyk30 says:

    “Epidemic” is ,indeed, over used; but then, most of the left’s rantings consist of such nonsense.

    Especially since the meaning of those words is twisted and useless.

    • garyk30 says:

      ‘Diversity and Equality’ are a couple more words that have come to mean nothing.

      Also, ‘fair share’, ‘liveable wage, or ‘entitlement programs’.

      • Frank Davis says:

        There are any number of such words.

        • Smoking Lamp says:

          That’s because political discourse has been replaced by propaganda and polemic. The media (owned by the global elite) operates to perpetuate the manipulation and division of masses. In effect these ‘words’ are newspeak designed to convey alternative meanings to bolster control.

      • waltc says:

        Whenever I hear “fair share” or that other progressivist euphemism “common sense” I run for the air raid shelter, wordly goods in hand. They do, unfortunately, mean something–the first means they’re going to take your money anf the second that they’re aiming fir more of your liberties.

        • Frank Davis says:

          that other progressivist euphemism “common sense”

          Is that really a progressivist euphemism? I occasionally use the word myself, but only ever in the sense of what is commonly done/thought. i.e. what most people do/think. Although I realise that what is commonly thought or done can change. So what I really mean by it, I suppose, is what most people used commonly to do/think 50 years ago. I think of my father as a man of good common sense. And to a very great extent my mother too.

          I agree that “fair share” is a pretty loaded term. But it’s words like “solidarity” or “sustainable” that really sets the alarm bells ringing. I think that words like this are used to signal to other people that you are a) some sort of commie, and b) some sort of tree-hugger. i.e. one of “us”.

        • waltc says:

          To Frank’s post below: Here “common sense” is used by the left to modify their extreme proposals, as in “common sense gun control” or tax policy etc. It’s an effort to make it seem that their ideas are perfectly sensible and, more important, commonly held by all sensible people.

  5. Clicky says:

  6. waltc says:

    I think the timing of promoting a fatal smoke/drink/food epidemic is meant to scare people into having no fun in the season that’s supposed to be Merry and Happy and in which they might otherwise (merrily, happily) smoke, drink and eat. Can’t have any of that can we? The media is rife with almost biblically apocalyptic visions: rising seas, scorched earth, asteroid collisions, death by meat. They’re turning the meaning of the old blithe “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die” on its head to mean if you do any of the above, tomorrow you will die. I think they get away with planting these visions because the (real) world is so unsettled and people already feel so unsettled in it. In a terror-free, economically prosperous time, they’d be laughed off. Now they smell fear, play to it , and use it for social engineering.

  7. Rose says:

    On tv this morning.

    Heavily indoctrinated primary school children and tv medical celeb, used to make new antismoking ad.

    “Pupils from Earlsdon Primary School have drawn their own anti-smoking packaging ahead of the country’s plain packaging rollout in May 2017.
    Public Health England (PHE) said it hopes the message “resonates” with the UK’s 7m smokers.”

    “National director for health and wellbeing Kevin Fenton said: “I hope the children’s heartfelt pleas will resonate with smokers around the country to encourage them to take advantage of the free campaign tools and support available, and to make 2017 the year they quit for good.”

    “Campaign group Forest, which supports those who choose to smoke, said the use of children for an anti-smoking message was “emotional blackmail” and should not be “financed with taxpayers’ money”.
    Director Simon Clark said: “Using children to make adults feel guilty about smoking is a new low for the public health industry.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      the children’s heartfelt pleas

      Since these children will have been bullied and blackmailed into drawing these pictures, we can be perfectly sure that there is nothing “heartfelt” about it whatsoever, and that a great many of them will, at the first possible opportunity they get, smoke about 50 cigarettes in one sitting, while simultaneously knocking back beers and cheeseburgers.

      Back in my time, when none of these things were regarded as semi-lethal, it was only natural if the more adventurous of us would try out drugs like cannabis, which were viewed with the sort of terror that’s now been extended to everything else. If you are to be a rebel these days, it seems to me, you absolutely have to smoke cigarettes. Smoking cannabis will be optional, because that’s what many mums and dads already do, and it’s old hat.

      • Rose says:

        Sky News was running a banner across the bottom of the screen earlier this morning saying Public Health England has been accused of using children for ’emotional blackmail’ in a new anti-smoking advert, which is how I first found out about the story.

        Simon Clark has more.

      • prog says:

        Adults are bullied and persecuted, children are groomed to bully. The crunch will be when the control freaks use the same tactics to demonise adults who enjoy alcohol, which will result in violence against children.

        Just harping back to the enjoyment of tobacco topic, DP quoted a wannabe quitters who were deterred by the patronising, holier than thou, and uninformed attitudes of Smoking Cessation staff…

        “I had worried that quitting smoking would be bleak dull soulless and righteous. Everyone I dealt with through stop smoking services confirmed that view. Not wanting to be like them is one of the reasons I started smoking again”, “It was rubbish and I was rather stunned when it was pointed out to me that ‘By now you are supposed to be using weaker patches and close to quitting’. I was not aware I was on some kind of timetable and they witter on so much at you. They turn it into something much bigger than it needs to be and pepper their speech and information packs with so much negativity and wittering on that it just isn’t worth continuing.”

        Smokers commented that they had found a judgemental attitude on the part of staff within the smoking cessation clinics that had a negative impact on their contact with the service: “I felt the advisor was condescending and holier than thou”, “Weak, of little consequence, and coming from a position of sanctimony and patronisation, anti-smoking products are a placebo, they don’t work”, “Pseudo sales person for the pharmaceutical industry products. Promoted by quit smoking advisors who lacked any knowledge of smoking other than the anti-smoking dogma”, “Negative vibe because I am a smoker”.

        …’Not wanting to be like them is one of the reasons I started smoking again’. I think most here will agree – a very pertinent statement and, I imagine, one that goes along way to account for the dismal track record of quit services.

        Anti smokers might think they’re doing the world a huge service, but basically they’re abnormal, partly due to the fact they lack empathy with those they seek to ‘abnormalise’. Personally, I try to keep them at arm’s length and that includes some family members and virtually all non-smoking former close friends. It’s almost impossible to reason with the brainwashed and hence generally not worth the effort. ‘Agree to disagree’ is the best one can hope for, but that’s merely a case of ‘let’s not talk about it’, which damages relationships. Truth is, if one goes along with all the TC bullshit then your more likely to swallow all the other lies we’re now being told on a daily basis.

  8. Rose says:


    “Along with those patient surveys, an anonymous survey of mental health providers found that 91 percent of psychiatrists and 84 percent of caseworkers had the impression that their patients had no interest in quitting or reducing the amount they smoked.

    “There is quite a disconnect between the two groups,” said Chen, who also is a staff psychiatrist at BJC Behavioral Health. “Our goal is to realign the desires of patients and the perspectives of the physicians who treat them.”

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