, 7 tweets, 2 min read
One of the failures of journalism in this period has been the unwillingness to do ‘the dog that didn’t bark’ stories.
Time and again something is promised or threatened, doesn’t happen, and is then simply regarded as ‘no longer a story’. But it is the *absence* that is the story
We’ve had years of ‘If Brexit isn’t done by x date millions will take to the streets and there’ll be violence’ being breathlessly repeated by excited hacks from a Leaver’s baseless claim - giving it authority and having the effect of embedding that belief in the public mindset
What we should now have is reports with clips of those threats, then shots of Parliament square to show there’s only a few people, and contrasting footage with the peaceful million-strong people’s vote march - and questions like ‘is Brexit really still the will of the people?’
Could also include clips of previous times that mass popular protest was promised by the Leavers but didn’t materialise even after weeks of promotion - like Nigel Farage’s infamous march of ‘hundreds of thousands’ from the north-east to Parliament, which only got about 70 people
When I was a (very minor) journalist, my diary file was a key tool. Each time a politician, company or other key figure made some pledge relevant to my beat about something happening on or by a date, I stuck a note about it in my diary file. That date comes, I’d follow up.
Because otherwise the danger is that you only report on things that happen, and miss out on the things that don’t happen. But they are just as much of a story.
The dog that didn’t bark is the clue we should all be looking at in a time when Leavers claim ‘the will of the people’
Another example of the failure to report on ‘dog that didn’t bark’ stories - the Russian Interference in UK elections intelligence report that didn’t get published:
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