Thursday, April 07, 2011

Journalism in Britain: Spanish practices and hypocrisy

As I was coming through Heathrow yesterday, it was hard to avoid the blizzard of ink yet again being focussed on Nick Clegg.

This time, apparently, he was being put in the stocks because he has spoken out against the idea that so many middle class kids get ahead because their parents can sponsor them through an unpaid internship in one of the professions. What's so shocking? Well, apparently- get this- Nick Clegg too benefited from taking an unpaid internship. Cue a football crowd level of abuse for Clegg's so-called hypocrisy.

Of course you would never find nepotism, favouritism and indeed unpaid internships in the media. Well, apart from the large number of people in television with rather familiar names, from Dimbleby to Cellan Jones; apart from so many journalists being called Lawson or Coren; apart from so many people in the media having been to the same schools.

The fact is that the most arcane Spanish practices are found in media and journalism- a group of people so narrow and so unreflective of wider Britain that both Michael Beurk and Peter Sissons have attacked the BBC for simply uncritically taking their line from the day's "Guardian" editorial.

So is Nick Clegg a hypocrite?

No, of course not, because whatever he may have benefited in the past, he recognizes that internships and the rest of it only serves to exclude most of society to the benefit of a rich, largely publicly school educated, sectional, interest.

The hypocrites are the journalists who think that's OK.

After all a large number of them benefited from this themselves- and they have failed to declare an interest. They are turning their abuse on Clegg in order to distract attention from themselves and thus maintain the crooked system, not to question it.

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