Skip to main content

Home Truths about the British Press

To return to a perennial problem in British democracy: what can we do about a press that is both so biased it is twisted, and so aggressive it has rightly been called "feral". 

The Reporter- once a by-word for integrity- think Alistair Cooke or Ed Murrow- has instead become a by-word for tetchy arrogance or profound corruption- think Piers Morgan, the Murdoch Press, the Daily Cancer-Scare or, lets face, it large parts of the BBC.

From overseas, I find it extraordinary that there is not more condemnation of the blatant manipulation, and outright lies that comprise a large part of the newspaper stories on the political pages- and increasingly in broadcast media too. Yet even in the fairly unimportant world of teen pop stars, the naked nastiness of the press- and especially the paparazzi in Britain- is making lives miserable. Justin Bieber, for example, is a fairly harmless teen sensation, who has been harried and hassled all through his visit to the UK- he is only 19, and may not have behaved well, but the abuse that he has had from the British Press makes it all too "Belieber-able" (sorry about that, couldn't resist) that he has no wish to visit the UK ever again. After all, why would you want to deal with the hostility and aggression that he has seemingly had to deal with?

The fact is that the general reputation of the British press internationally is growing more negative by the year.

HL Mencken famously said that "Journalism to Politician as dog is to lamp post". Mencken meant that all political ideas should be challenged, British journalists have taken him more literally. The problem is that they seem to have the delusion that spreading their effluvia everywhere they can in their own nests is something other than nasty and foolish.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…

In praise of off-shore tax havens

The last few years has seen a spate of "scandals" about the use of off-shore tax havens. The hacking and subsequent leaking of data about who does and does not hold assets in off-shore jurisdictions has become an old perennial in the British press, rather like the "COLD weather happens in winter and QUITE HOT weather happens in summer", whose alarmist capital letter laced headlines are such a lazy part of contemporary "journalism". 

The increasing sophistication of the hackers, whether Russian-inspired or not, has resulted in a steady trickle of information becoming a torrent. After the relatively filleted release of data in the so-called "Panama Papers", the data release of the "Paradise Papers" is even larger.  Of course, just natural curiosity dictates that the off-shore ownership, or even just "ownership", of assets is of general public interest.  Celebrities, from the Royal family to the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys, are …