On the morning prior to the first day of the 2013 G8 meeting in Fermanagh, BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty admitted to being ‘cynical’ about the thirty-ninth meeting of world powers. The widespread media proclivity for hyping these conclaves and what they might mean for the world is never met by any commensurate action from G8 leaders, she complained. It was a rare moment of media introspection; for all the lavish optical fanfare bestowed on this meeting of the leaders of twelve per cent of the global population, few journalists have either the honesty or temerity to ask questions regarding the role of the media in aggrandising an event that invariably ends with the dampest of squibs.
This role of the media – local, national and international – in facilitating the fabrications of the G8, its narrative of progress, its obfuscation of the substantive facts of world inequalities, is surely the major issue to emerge from this conference. The big issues (war, inequality, taxation) become like tributaries of truth dispersed into a Lough Erne of floating inanities. Headlines scream about the ‘Lockdown’. Countless column inches amplify hysterical predictions about violent protests, mad anarchists, crusty clowns and dissident threats. The provincial naval-gazing of ‘let’s showcase the new Northern Ireland’ trumps the global implications of a small minority stewarding the rest of the world into austerity for the masses and unprecedented wealth for the few.