No newspaper is good newspaper

My media consumption has become more and more sparing and selective in recent years. Take newspapers for an example. Until a few years ago, every Sunday I used to return home from the church with a Chinese newspaper. Not that any of the local papers was ever worthy of anyone's time, but I found leafing through the only non-compliant paper in Hong Kong a leisurely way to spend a Sunday morning. But as I became increasingly disgusted with and disillusioned by the hypocrisy and consumerism, I felt that having to pay a few dollars and sacrifice a few trees for information of such ludicrously poor quality an insult. I turned to reading the same paper online for a while, but even that has now ceased to be a habit.

But I do browse sometimes, to look for something just to sneer about. There is no disappointment or anger because the expectation has long gone.

In the last few days, what I paid attention to was the frontpage headlines following the shooting incident in Manila. One can find, in mega-text, something like "MOST PAINFUL", "COME HOME - FEEL THE LOVE OF HONG KONG", "PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER JASON", "HONG KONG HAS AN IRON MOTHER" and "EVIL POLICEMAN". I don't know how many people see these as words of compassion and encouragement, but I certain think they are perfect examples of cheap sensationalism, reflecting an attempt to profiteer from a most unfortunate incident.

These may not be as bad as the frantic scramble in 2008 to publish the obscene photos of some Hong Kong female stars that had been uploaded to the Internet, but the ultimate purpose remains the same - to sell more copies.

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