Sunday, October 21, 2012

Scandal Incorporated

My last blog drew attention to the failure of Newsround to follow-through on their Friday morning item about the efficacy of wearing anti-racism T-shirts. So kids who rely on Newsround for sports news might not have known the views of Sir Alex Ferguson. But today's 10am bulletin began with a report from Ferguson's perspective -

Manchester United may have beaten Stoke 4-2 yesterday, but Rio Ferdinand is in big trouble with the side's boss for refusing to wear a special T-shirt in training. Ferdinand said he didn't wear a 'Kick It Out' anti-racism shirt because he doesn't think the campaign is doing enough to tackle issues in the game. But Ferguson says he feels let down and the player's actions will be dealt with.

Because of Ferguson's entirely inappropriate stance, this story has the potential to escalate. We'll have to wait and see. Newsround's midday bulletin was more balanced, as it also reported on the action taken by Swansea and Wigan teams.

The first story on last Tuesday's Newsround was about age restrictions on social networking sites. Ricky told viewers ".. if you're under 13 you're not allowed to use websites like Facebook and Twitter." Peter Bradley from Kidscape said that the rules are there to protect children against things such as cyberbullying, and stressed the need for kids not to give away any personal information on the internet. Ricky ended his video report with ".. for now, the rules to keep you guys safe are staying put."

A headline news story - the scandal embroiling the BBC - has yet to receive so much as a mention on Newsround. But there can surely be few kids who have not seen some of the newspaper headlines about Jimmy Savile or about Newsnight's controversial editorial decision. Last year Newsround called for kids to take part in a tribute to Jimmy Savile who, they said, was well known for fixing it for children's dreams to come true.

Newsround's continued failure to report the news impartially results in kids losing faith - another nail in the coffin of socially relevant TV.

This Blog is expecting the Savile story to be reported on Newsround very shortly - probably tomorrow.

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