War and the Death of News by Martin Bell

War and the Death of News by Martin Bell – Reflections of a Grade B Reporter – is a lovely book. Martin Bell had an impressive career, read at the end of the post the ‘about the author’ bits if you are not familiar with him. I didn’t know about him, but I’m glad I discovered this book while researching objectivity in journalism.

War and the Death of News by Martin Bell

I found his points on news presenting very poignant. The book is a delight to read and I highly recommend it. It is a memoir which makes a clear argument for the overhaul on how news are made. I will share two short quotes from the book instead of talking more about it:

‘There are actually websites with the appearance of being regular news providers but which exist to make mischief (and
money) by propagating falsehoods and fabrications. Their lies are no longer lies but ‘alternative truths’.
It is a strange time indeed for journalism to turn its back on swathes of modern life. We stand precariously at the most dangerous juncture in world affairs since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Some of the dangers are old and others new: nuclear proliferation, rogue states, border disputes, catastrophic climate change, wars for oil and wars for water, the plague of jihadism, the great tides of refugees flooding out of the Middle East and Africa into Europe, the wild-card presidency of Donald Trump and ‘black swan’ events of one sort or another.
It is surely no time for soft news, the fluff and froth of a journalism crafted to entertain rather than to inform. Yet that is the

‘The BBC in its coverage of the EU referendum campaign in 2016 returned to the old curse of on-the-one-hand-this-on-the-other-hand-that journalism. There was neither insight nor assessment, but only balance, timed by the stopwatch. Truth and falsehood, those who knew what they were talking about and those who did not, were given equal time. The broadcasts were therefore meaningless.’

I like his down to Earth approach and clarity. Do read his book if you have the chance.

War and the Death of News by Martin Bell

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Oneworld Publications
Year it was published: 2017
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): Memoir/Journalism
Pages: 300

About the author: Martin Bell, OBE, is a British UNICEF Ambassador, a former broadcast war reporter and former independent politician. He was the Member of Parliament for Tatton from 1997 to 2001.
Bell is the son of author-farmer Adrian Bell, compiler of the first ever Times crossword. His sister was Anthea a literary translator. He has served as a corporal in a colonial army, been embedded with British forces, gone on missions with Americans and crossed the Suez Canal with the Israelis. He joined the BBC as a reporter in 1962. In his career as a foreign affairs correspondent he covered eleven conflicts and reported from eighty countries.
Website & Social Media Links: –

2 thoughts on “War and the Death of News by Martin Bell”

  • Excellent quotes that you shared. I’ve often thought reporting changed for the worse when news channels began airing 24/7. There’s too much filling airtime with “talking heads”.
    Kelly recently posted…Hummingbirds and a SpinMy Profile

    • The book is very interesting. I read it especially for the war reporting parts, where he talks about editors’ reluctance to show things like blood on TV, not to upset people, and many other similar things.

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