In illiterate cultures, three or four hundred years ago, news was declared by the town crier and the minstrels.
The minstrels, in particular, had to make it entertaining whilst keeping it moderately in line with the agreed facts.
By the 19th century, London had more than a hundred newspapers, each one with its own opinions and sensibility, no doubt.
Whose facts do you want?
There are various paradigms claimed in print news.
All the News That’s Fit to Print declares that experts have made a study of what is important.
All the News That Fits admits that there are 64 pages and they have left out what they deem as unimportant.
Human communications is reduced to the in-tray, the out-tray and the shredder.
As we trend back to illiteracy, with the advent of the moving picture and the cartoon, we return to the age of the minstrels and the town criers.
News as performed by the actual people in question has a far greater amount of detail.
How something is said can show those same words in a completely different light – with a disturbingly different meaning.
The transcript of the conversation is a half-truth. It can even be a lie.
A film composer tasked with underscoring two actors staring blankly at one another must invent what they are feeling, what their unspoken thoughts are.
A reality television editor can take a shocked look from three days ago and juxtapose it as a response to a completely different scene and circumstance.
Today, Boris Johnson’s bumbling and hair-mop ruffling sends the message that he is an adorable soft toy to be hugged.
Donald Trump is the bully that you steer clear of.
As for Prince Andrew … he’s always had his coif and cloak above the parapet. And the tradition of beheading disappeared centuries ago.
I recently declined an interview with a newspaper that promised that I would be “edited and verbatim”.
This is a patent paradox whereby the publication would put their point of view with my words. They would choose the fragment that would suit them. They would choose what I would seem to say.
In the below video, which is “edited and verbatim”, I’m telling you what to think by telling you what to think about.
Welcome to fake news.
Red Symons is a musician of the ’70s, TV vaudevillian of the ’80s and ’90s, radio voice of the new millennium and a sprinkled condiment in the theatre and print