The election has only just been called and already I’m feeling fatigued at being bombarded by blasted vox pops: all this ‘what do you think?’ nonsense as if what I think is what’s going to turn the election. And the more disinterested, younger or simply ignorant the target audience is perceived to be, the worse it gets. So while I’m pointing the finger at Radio 1’s Rant to Brant, I’m whinging at everybody. Indeed, not so long ago I stopped watching ITV News because populist means vox pops on everything.
Not only are vox pops lazy journalism – just step out in the street and speak to ‘the people’ – making no claims to be representative of anybody other random individuals, they waste time and are boring. Moreover, they distance the audience from the electoral process, while creating an illusion of participation.
Rant to Brant is typically wrong headed. People who don’t normally bother to vote and confess to knowing nothing about party politics are offered someone like them naming the issues they sort of care about. It’s a so what. Knowing that someone like me sort of cares about x, y and z doesn’t tell me if voting will make any difference to x, y or z or whether any of the parties has an x, y or z policy. The folk of Vox Populi are ghettoised; talking only to themselves and shielded from the debate deciding the election, they are destined to be ignored.