My basic point here is that news media seems to have become a cartoon, yet it is the viewer who is standing in thin air, holding a hand-lettered sign reading “Have mercy”.

“News” has always been subject to partisan adaptation, but in recent years there has been a lurch towards more and more overt manipulation and propaganda.

I don’t mean all that made-up stuff on Facebook. Which, by the way, appears even MORE made-up the more I see that one screen grab that proves Russia was trying to make fools out of America in the Presidential election. The Satan arm-wrestling Jesus one? I’ve never seen it in any other form except that one screen grab. Anyway.

The problem of the use by Trump (et al) of the term “fake news” is that what is frequently termed “the mainstream media” (MSM) (which I take it refers to traditionally reputable reporting outlets like newspapers, their online versions, BBC, ITV, Sky News, and the US equivalents) are, indeed, now perhaps more than ever, offering clearly biased versions of events, or frequently just making shit up.

It is a pantomime so painfully laboured that it is unclear for whom the entertainment is intended.

It could be argued that with the presentation of some issues in the news cycle being so blatantly one-sided and manipulative, there must be some other aim to the parade of bogus views, faked outrage and nose-leading opinion pieces masquerading as reporting.

Distractive media, one might call it, existing purely to have everyone looking at something else while some particularly egregious scheme is effected.

In the UK, for one example, we have Katie Hopkins, whose utterances I greet with a shrug when I hear about them. Her provocations are such a contrivance that I cannot expend any energy on them.

For another example, follow @geoffreyjewdas on Twitter and work backwards to the BBC’s latest round of character assassination concerning Jeremy Corbyn.

The Salisbury “chemical weapons” thing.

It is documented fact that eccentric multimillionaires attempt to control the discourse. Their reaction to a loss of monopoly, through individuals being able to access information directly, with millions simply not trusting them n’more, seems to have been to insist that their broadcasting organs present increasingly quixotic and offensively skewed information.

There’s a sense of acceleration about it too, an increasingly frantic scramble towards the base, which appears also to be a mode manufactured deliberately.

Yet with cackhanded obviousness, brazen wrongness. This seems more about attempts – and I mean comically slapdash attempts – to control people’s perceptions of events in a way that suggests our overlords don’t care who knows they’re trying to do it, or that they think no one can tell. Only, is it because “they” – The Man – think it’s safe to just do what they like, or that they want everyone to think that?

It calls to mind a real-world version of Facebook’s walled garden. A place where individual stories can’t change individuals’ decisions, but the overall backdrop can manipulate the way those events are interpreted. Only the backdrop here is apparently one of those Wile E. Coyote works, painted over a canyon wall, through which Roadrunner disappears, and from which emerges a truck, with horn blaring.

Viewed from outside the cartoon, it is funny in its preposterousness. Inside the world of the cartoon, from the point of view of the Coyote, it is an affront to reason, one that might legitimately prompt another hand-lettered sign saying “What the fuck is going on?”

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Just got round to watching Guardians of the Galaxy this evening. Really good fun.

Then after, just before switching off, I was reading some news links. Logging on, a late night last orders in a quest to still a drink itch. Doesn’t matter what news. Then, found myself wading through the comments in a Grauniad article. Doesn’t matter which. Equivalent to Jaegermeister-shot-in-a-half-pint-of-lager.

Definitely time for an intervention. Or intergalactic abduction, maybe.

Tonight we’ve been mostly busy watching some Doug Stanhope, and I was reading this fascinating article by Matt Bolton on Media Bias and the ‘News’ Form.

That article resonated extensively, having taken some time to catch up on “the news” earlier, reading some opinion pieces and so forth. “Why, ’tis but to read the comments ‘pon a YouTube clip,” one might term a futile and possibly psychically damaging venture. One of those unfortunate cases where one cannot get the ink back in the bottle, or the genie, or the booze… it’s just foaming on the carpet, good for no one and sending that little accusatory fizz at you. ‘Move. Towels. NOW NOW NOW.’

So anyway, here’s They Might Be Giants:

Non-soccer fans not wanting to read something all about le foot may wish to look away now.

Today was the official closure of the first Transfer Window of the year in the UK, which was again being treated by the BBC and Sky Sports News (generally the two most reliable sources of soccertainment upon our sceptred isle) as the Single Most Gripping Thing to Happen in Association Football.

Perhaps the nadir of rolling news non-event sports journalism filler, the reportage throughout today was particularly poor. First of all, setting up a relatively recent innovation as something footie fans have been eagerly anticipating since the days of Sir Stanley Matthews is disingenuous and more than a little reminiscent (in its sickly enforced carnival excitement) of the Seasonal Red Cups at Starbucks “tradition” campaign.

Second, the posts on both the Beeb‘as it happens’ and Sky’s Clockwatch took on a tone of holiday camp enthusiasm, the typing on the tickers speaking of reporters all wearing a rictus of desperation as non-event after non-event spattered their empty chat room walls with rotten eggs, tomatoes, shite.

Witness the BBC this morning:

1154: Is it just me, or is one done deal graphic for five hours work a touch on the disappointing side? Worry ye not, though – it just means there are more to come. Plenty more. Is everyone you know getting involved yet?

Glossing over the graphics – technology now allowing us to assign a whimsical little icon for every possible permutation of non-event, such as the flying pig for ‘wild rumours’ – and the concluding plaintive and misguided attempt at whipping up some, any, interest, however, it must be noted that plenty was not forthcoming. It was not, if you will allow some abysmal football-related wordplay, even top ten finishing or relegation battling. Fast forward to:

1701: Of course, there’s bound to be stuff going on we still don’t know about. There’s just bound to be. Or I can just get my coat and leave…

…and you can almost hear the hiss of the toaster in the bath, Brian. At least the BBC were trying to lighten the tone by admitting it was watching-Johnstone’s-Paint-dryingly dull. Over on Sky, the channel that arguably invented modern football and take it VERY SERIOUSLY, in the way that people with buckets of cash depending on the issue will tend to, the tone was much more studied:

15.19 Sky Sports News understands that Valencia midfielder Ever Banega will not be making a deadline day loan switch to Everton.

That “understands” was priceless. It must have been so dismal in the Sky News Room having to cover what essentially amounts to a bunch of faxes being sent between lawyers that any attempt at intrigue was to be encouraged. How do you make nothing happening interesting? Over to Jeff Stelling:

“Exciting news from Merseyside there; our sources suggest that there is confirmation nothing is also happening at Ewood Park – Charlie.”
“That’s right, Jeff, nothing IS happening here in Blackburn. Nothing was rumoured to be taking place earlier on, and we can now verify that to be the case.”
“Great stuff, Charlie! Now, over to Jim at the Stadium of Light, where there’s nothing happening… can you illuminate us, Jim?”

Etc etc etc.

Eventually, it became obvious that the only way to liven up the Traditional Excitement would be to have the hapless hacks at the BBC and Sky covering each other’s updates:

16.55 Sky Sports News believes that the BBC suggests Svensson is NOT going to Bradford on loan, we understand we can reveal.

One could have gone on for, oh, 8.5 hours or something. Easy! Easy!