The media takes us for fools!

It’s been quite a fortnight, hasn’t it?

Richard Kingscote won the Derby! He’s a top guy and a big fan of superbikes. I have to say, it pleased me hugely that he took this win the same day the Isle of Man TT races started. 

The Queen had her Platinum Jubilee. I celebrated at home on the yard in Oxfordshire with my family, ‘the queen’ and of course, Dave. I did try to get a photo of Dave with HRH but he’s a racehorse so trying to get him to trust the blow-up doll we had fashioned into Her Majesty was a bit of a non-starter. Instead, I have included a lovely photo of my dog Archie singing God Save The Queen. (Pic: Archie is a German Pointer but that didn’t stop him putting on his best tie and singing the National Anthem for Lizzie)

Monkey Pox appeared to take the bank holiday weekend off too, which was nice of it. Although I see, like the rest of us, it had to get back to work on Monday so the media had something miserable and concerning to write about. They certainly like us all to be afraid, don’t they? Just a month ago they had us convinced Putin was going to drop a nuke on London. I have to admit I was a little on edge at that point. Ridley Scott was here with 80 horses, filming a Napoleon fight scene on the round gallops. Hollywood didn’t care if their faux cannons sounded like WWIII was kicking off. They went for it. I decided to stop watching Sky News for a bit. My heart couldn’t take it. 

The very sad news of Lester Piggott came last week too. A name I remember from my childhood. A real legend of the sport. My favourite memory was seeing him on Desert Orchid at Wincanton. I was surprised to hear the announcement that he had died, given that the Racing Post had announced the night before that he was coming out of hospital in the morning. And, this is where we arrive at my rant of the month.

Back in the old days, you knew which papers you could pick up and get some kind of unbiased sense out of. You only had yourself to blame if you picked up a copy of the Daily Mail. Today, it appears that all mainstream media is just made up of nonsense designed to sell advertising space. It’s not limited to any particular industry. The Racing Post is mostly just drivel these days. The motorbike equivalent, MotorCycle News, is the same. Sensationalised stories designed to excite, enrage or entice you towards some kind of nonsensical framework. There is always a rush to be the ‘first’ to break a story to keep you relevant. The truth, sadly, very rarely gets printed. It’s as if news outlets have forgotten what news actually is. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last year or two. It started with Maddy Playle’s Racing Post article and social media posts regarding Adam Wedge. We don’t need to drag it all up again but Adam made the mistake of referring to racing as “a man’s sport.” Now, as a woman and one that would happily call herself a feminist, I feel qualified to say I think we all knew what he meant. I certainly wasn’t offended. I tell people to ‘Man Up’ all the time. Just this morning I had to tell myself to grow a pair of balls. These phrases are not really the issue. Anyone who heard Wedge say what he did knew that there was no malice behind it. He doesn’t think that women shouldn’t be allowed to race horses. Or that the industry is male exclusive. But, the papers know that if they position the quotes correctly, they will cause enough debate that engagement rates will skyrocket and advertising prices go up.

It’s not about truth, it’s not about fact, and I can assure you, the Racing Post does not care about what Adam Wedge said. It’s all about money. If the Racing Post truly cared about sexism in the sport, they would be writing gritty exposés and holding governing bodies accountable. They’d have columnists that wrote freely without worrying about stakeholders (for the sake of this article let’s exclude ‘readers’ from stakeholders) They would be ignoring the easy to sensationalise nonsense (which can be pretty damaging to good guys’ reputations) and would focus on the real issues that feminists want us to deal with. Better female facilities for a start. Dishing the dirt on the BHA and their lack of action when Bryony Frost raised a complaint about Robbie Dunne. Maybe, had they been highlighting these equal rights topics that actually matter, Frost and Dunne would have had a very different outcome. Of course, they don’t want to do that. It would mean upsetting too many apple carts. By allowing Maddy Playle to sensationalise the Adam Wedge quote they tick all the boxes. Female writer? Tick. Shocking misogynistic comments? Tick. Accountability? Tick. Bob’s your uncle Racing Post, you’re a gifted demagogue! Every feminist’s hero, and you haven’t had to get your hands dirty at all. *eye-roll* 

Since the arrival of the internet and subsequently, social media, mainstream media have found more and more ways to steer us away from the truth and toward their own agendas. Usually, agendas that help ensure the money keeps flowing. Or that they can secure the big announcements and stories. In racing, relationships with trainers, tipsters, betting companies and their own investors are more important than the relationship with the reader. The only thing important about you, as a reader, is how much you engage with an article, your data, and whether you are paying to subscribe. Do you know what is sad? It doesn’t matter if your response to their article is positive or negative. It just matters that you respond. A retweet is a retweet. Regardless of whether you added the line ‘read this catastrophe of an article’ to it or not. 

Mainstream media is now up against an audience with access to information and multiple different platforms to share our thoughts. Not only has this given a platform for whistle-blowers as we saw in the Gordon Elliot case, but we are also starting to see a rise in ‘truth-tellers.’ A vigilante style of journalist who remembers what journalism is meant to be about. Presenting the truth to the reader. Using credible sources that have been thoroughly checked out. Taking time to research, understand, and deliver a story. Allowing the reader to digest facts without being gaslit and driven to a manipulated way of thinking for the sake of any stakeholder. This vigilante journalist takes a story like the Gordon Elliot one, runs with it and is NOT afraid to keep reminding you about it. They prepare their stories based on the truth but present them from the left, right or middle. They don’t keep changing lanes to suit a narrative supplied by whichever honcho they need to please at that moment. 

The public wants the truth.  Not the putid claptrap we keep being offered. This can be seen in the recent Depp v Heard case. While the mainstream media decided to follow the #metoo movement and were very clearly happy to bend stories to fit the rhetoric. The internet was alive with super sleuth style journalists such as Jessica Reed Kraus, an internet truth-teller with nearly one million followers whose bold and creative presentation of the facts of a case is utterly compelling. She didn’t hide behind what stakeholders needed to hear. She looked at the facts and said ‘something isn’t right here.’ Her reputation for incredible research and delivery of the truth has led to her being a very trusted source for witnesses and insiders who no longer trust mainstream media. Her readers value it. They value it so much they pay her to cover cases. Through her Substack, she was funded to travel to the courtroom in both the Depp v Heard case and before that, the Maxwell case. Readers don’t always agree with her, but they do know they are getting clear and honest facts. And guess what? Every source she quoted or published over the Depp v Heard case, was proved to be true. When Amber Heard replaced her PR team with a new PR, David Shane, it was Reed Kraus that got the scoops from alleged victims of David Shane who were brave enough to come forward, with evidence, that he was a bit of a sexual predator. And guess what, David Shane pretty quickly vanished from the internet and then more women came forward and the truth won. 

Strong, independent journalists are out here delivering the truth. And the public wants it. Authorities/government/people in power hate it because they can no longer hide their filth. They try to discredit everyone that is exposing it. It truly is a tragic spectacle. You only need to look at William Jones’s recent article about Catherine Beloff from the BHA. He was threatened over his involvement in blowing the whistle on the BHA’s failure to regulate racing and, as a result, protect BOTH Frost and Dunne (her from the alleged bullying and him from nose-diving his career).Those that are used to holding the cards when it comes to media control are trying to beat down the truth-tellers because they do not want the power to shift. 

Right now is a fantastic time for writers and readers. Soon, newsletters like this will have a bigger following. We will stop putting our money into the paywalls of Racing Post and start putting our money directly to people we value, such as Reed Kraus. The likes of Racing Post, Motorcycle News, and even the Farmers’ bloody Weekly will merely be a commercial sponsorship venture. Their value will drop because readers will make the shift to credible, independent journalists. 

With any luck, this will also happen to The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Washington Post, BBC News and Sky News.  –IRC.

Follow Nancy on Twitter @NotNowNancy.

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