"Yea, a Daniel come to judgement!", I thought as I read a piece on the Guardian's Comment is Free pages by former journalist & MP Martin Bell:
The reason for my quoting the Bard? It was Bell's excoriating assessment of what passes for journalism in the age of 24/7 news channels, as well as the web.
Bell has a neat, telling label for the sort of guff served up on news bulletins, & the 24 hour news channels in particular: "necro-news". He also notes the obsessive, almost purient coverage given to the McCann story.
One particular passage merits republication here:
"So the journalists retreat to fortified compounds, emerging occasionally for 15 minute 'news raids' into the real world. Hence the growing phenomenon of rooftop journalism, in which crisply dressed performers address their audience in front of the two most famous palm trees in the world. They are in the area but not on the scene. It looks like news and it sounds like news, but bears as much relation to news as fish paste does to caviar."
Brilliantly put, Martin.