Shrink my horizon

A documentary filmmaker, Nick Angel, put himself on a four-week information diet consisting solely of the UK’s Daily Mail as the source of his news – rather him than me – in the same vein as Morgan Spurlock did with hamburgers:

In Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock called on nutritionists, dieticians and assorted doctors to chart the physical effects of eating nothing but McDonalds for a month. My own means of gauging the effects of a Daily Mail diet were more subjective. Once, when a helicopter flew overhead, I reflexively thought “surveillance society”. But it wasn’t so much specific issues, as a general shrinking of horizons. The Mail has almost no foreign news – sometimes not even one story from the rest of the world – and my own interest waned correspondingly.

Most striking of all, a few days before the end of the experiment I realised that I had stopped worrying about global warming. For the Mail, it barely exists an issue – and certainly not as something to frighten us with – and this, surely, is the secret of the paper’s success. Phantom menaces are given prominence over real ones. The anger it stirs requires no action, no moral or intellectual effort, but simply confirms existing prejudices. By painting the world as a dystopia, we cling to our own cosy certainties.

He cites the advice given by a sub-editor to a former Mail journalist:

The ideal Daily Mail story should leave you hating someone or something.


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