The Birmingham Mail covered this exchange on Pete Ashton’s blog, which is good â€”Â it’s a story. To sum up, an advertising company working on behalf of the Rep Theatre were using reverse graffiti, they â€” mistakenly one would assume â€” used it on a monument (that it’s a monument isn’t immediately obvious, if you don’t know Brum), Pete pointed it out, they apologised.
What annoyed me was the way that the Mail’s report worked â€”Â it is so dumbed down as to be wildly wrong in a couple of places:
“A BIRMINGHAM theatreâ€™s unique way of advertising with jet aqua sprays to create â€˜reverse graffitiâ€™ has left them in trouble.”
Unique? Let’s see what ‘unique’ means :”existing as the only one or as the sole example” â€” while reverse graffiti might be still thought of as fairly new, it’s not unique, not even for Brum – here’s an example from 2007 of BRMB using it:
Later on in the article they tell us that Pete “writes a blog on Birmingham” â€” he doesn’t, he writes a blog on whatever stuff he wants to, including publishing pictures of himself dressed as a cloud. Maybe that’s why they don’t link to the blog, give the URL, or mention that the whole incident played out on the blog (instead they imply he’s talked to them – he hasn’t).
All media outlets have a style, but lowering the standard of discourse so far that it becomes factually inaccurate? Yes it happens all the time. Everything has to be “new” and “difficult to understand”, and “frightening” â€” so people never think that they should go off and find something out about things, never think that maybe there’s stuff they’ve missed, never think that they can go off an have their own thoughts.
Is it because they still blindly assume they’re the only place people get information from? Or do they really want to keep people stupid?
[EDIT: I’d just like to point out that this post isn’t about not linking or crediting internet sources (gwad knows we’ve all been over that one), but about the terrible tendency to simplifly things to the point of incorrect. Whatever the process, reverse graffiti isn’t unique, Pete doesn’t write a blog about Birmingham â€” leave these two bits out the story is better.]
[EDIT the 2th: My point is that I know what’s correct here, because I know of Pete’s blog, and have seen the development of the reverse graffitti thing and â€”Â while neither are important in themselves â€” it begs the question, what else do the media get wrong that I don’t know about? Maybe some really important big things. I worry.]