No news is bad news

The Dutch media are once again talking themselves into the hole that will be tomorrow’s headlines. How many kilometres of newsprint and hours of broadcast time must we suffer over a ‘controversial’ film that has not even been released yet (and perhaps not even made)?

MP Geert Wilders must be rubbing his hands with glee at all the pre-publicity his latest islam-bashing project is getting. Of course it is his right to produce his propaganda: freedom of expression is holy in a democracy, as is the right to practice your religion.
And of course these two pillars of western democracy can clash sometimes – and clashes can make for interesting newspaper stories. But not if this means re-cycling the same old tired arguments day in, day out.
Some may even suggest that the a third pillar of democracy is an independent and campaigning press. The problem is that the Dutch press don’t quite dare to take up the issue of this anti-Koran film-to-be as a campaign.
Perhaps they should have a think about what news really is. Here’s a definition that translates very nicely into Dutch and is a big favourite at journalism schools all over the world: man bites dog.
And Wilders, the founder of the anti-immigration PVV party, hyping up his latest anti-Islamic provocation really is more a case of dog bites man. Not news. Yet.

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