No Idea

Consider this scenario for a moment;

Out shopping in nearby Chatswood, on Sydney’s north shore, last week, my wife and I were on our way back to the car after an uneventful but enjoyable lunch of fettuccini, sav-blanc and stimulating conversation. Walking hand-in-hand Jules stopped suddenly, looked me in the eye and said hurriedly;

“I forgot to pick up the New Idea.”

The New Idea (sometimes referred to as ‘No Idea’) is a magazine of gossip and sensationalism, a classic example of a ‘rag’ that sells copy based on the headline and picture on the cover. “What do you want that for?” I asked. “It doesn’t have a single new idea in it.” “I just flick through the pages and look at the headlines and the pictures,” she replied.

Jules had taken leave of her senses, I thought. But maybe I was wrong. For it was the senses, I’d been taught years ago, that effect our response to what we see and feel. It was our senses that gave rise to sensationalism.

As we strolled hand in hand toward the car, Jules said with surprise; “Look honey, Bec and Lleyton are splitting up, getting a divorce. It says so right here. See!

‘Bec and Lleyton Torn Apart!’

I guess it was only a matter of time.”

Bec was Lleyton Hewitt’s wife of a number of years and a former soap opera star. Hewitt was the Australian tennis star that had once won Wimbledon. As a couple, they were, one could say, ‘celebrities.’ In fact, they had once had a contract with Woman’s Day, another magazine of the same ilk.

If one happened to take the time to read the article Jules was referring to, one was advised that Hewitt’s wife was allegedly sick of following her husband around the tennis circuit and felt a better life could be out there somewhere. Perhaps a retirement was on the cards to keep the family together.

Further down the front page it declared;

‘Harry’s Joy! My palace romance.’

Prince Harry had recently toured Australia and was on his way around New Zealand. He took with him an assistant (female, to be sure) who initially came from New Zealand but worked for the Royal family. She brought with her local knowledge of New Zealand, hence the reason why she was ‘always by Harry’s side.’ To refer to the relationship as ‘a palace romance’ may have been overstating the facts just a little bit.

The Woman’s Day, another magazine one could rely on for ‘updates’ on celebrity gossip, was not to be out-done.

The following link, http://www.womansday.com.au/celebrity/australian-celebrities/bec-hewitts-shock-phone-call-11751, leads one to a story from March of this year.

Entitled;

‘Lleyton’s strip club scandal,’

the article goes on to describe how his wife was allegedly furious at finding out Hewitt had been ‘on the town’ in Europe with Bernard Tomic, another Australian tennis star.

‘Bec would’ve been very cranky,’ confirms one close friend. Shocked at Lleyton’s wild night in Europe last week, the pal reveals Lleyton would’ve dreaded making the phone call to his wife to explain his exploits.

Read all about Bec and Lleyton’s bust-up only in Woman’s Day, on sale 16th March.”

There are many more such titles available, this week’s being about Bec feuding with her long-time friend from Home and Away days, Kate Ritchie. Previously, and for many years now, these magazines have sold copy on such titles as;

‘Bec and Lleyton: It’s Over,’

and;

‘Lleyton is Packing his Bags,’

all of which fit neatly into the sensationalist reporting featured here and elsewhere within certain media outlets.

This story from Susie O’Brien of the Herald-Sun, on 4th July 2015;

“Tennis player Lleyton Hewitt and his wife, Bec, have also copped a lot over the years. For years it’s been game on in Camp Hewitt. Headlines such as “Lleyton is packing his bags” made it look as if the couple were breaking up when he was just going on tour — with his family.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, comes this;

Sensationalism is a type of editorial bias in mass media in which events and topics in news stories and pieces are over-hyped to increase viewership or readership numbers. Sensationalism may include reporting about generally insignificant matters and events that don’t influence overall society and biased presentations of newsworthy topics in a trivial or tabloid manner contrary to the standards of professional journalism.”

As Lleyton Hewitt says himself, on his website, http://www.lleytonandbechewitt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=219&Itemid=29;

“Week after week, the paparazzi hide in cars, follow us, trying to take photos…where they think…we don’t look happy. Magazines, notably Woman’s Day and New Idea, then buy them and fabricate a negative news story, because they believe that is what sells. [They will] make up whatever they like so long as they can sell [copy].”

Welcome to the world of sensationalism. Welcome to mass media.

Now think back to Prince Harry and imagine what the Royal family have to put up with.

 

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