Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Three cheers for Blair's speech on the feral beast that is our media...

Tomorrow's papers will no doubt rip into Tony Blair for describing our national media as 'a feral beast tearing people and reputations to bits'.

But I believe it's a thoughtful speech well-worthy of serious consideration and debate.

The full text is at epolitix.com.

The Prime Minister argues that modern journalism no longer reports the facts but instead relentlessly mixes up comment with news. He singled out the Independent for particular criticism, saying it had become a 'viewspaper' rather than a 'newspaper' worthy of its name.

He concludes that the relationship between public life and our media needs urgent repair to prevent it sapping the nation's confidence and self-belief.

As a former journalist who was trained over 30 years ago (call me poacher turned gamekeeper if you will...) I'm often appalled at generally falling standards of today's national media - and not just the so-called red-tops.

So I'm chuffed that the Prime Minister today said what surely needed saying.

It's certainly not the kind of speech any incoming Prime Minister could sensibly risk delivering.

But given his 13-years in the firing line, he knows what he's taking about.

I hope the media tries at least to give his words a fair hearing...and think about changing their ways!

10 comments:

Eugene D. Gibson said...

We have the same problem here in the Bahamas we only have a few papers but it seems sensational is an igredient they sometimes employ

Anonymous said...

He singled out the Independent? The Independent? Not, oh I don't know, the Daily Mail, the Sun or the Times, one of those that have been a viewspapers FOR DECADES?

Brynley said...

T.B. has worshipped at the Murdoch shrine. We all remember him heading off to Australia for no other reason than to seek his blessing.

So what's this? No problem with the Murdoch empire, apparently, but knives out for the brave, thoughtful and serious Independent.

Mrs Doyle (Skegness) said...

As a devoted reader of the Daily Express, I am kept up to date with all the facts about the murder of Princess Diana.

Imagine how grateful I am to Tony Blair for pointing out that it is The Independent newspaper, who have been peddling wild theories, including the unsubstantiated claim that we occupied Iraq on a pretext and that Mr Blair signed up to the invasion long in advance, which should be treated with suspicion.

Thanks for the warning, Tony.

Staf said...

"Anonymous said...

He singled out the Independent? The Independent? Not, oh I don't know, the Daily Mail, the Sun or the Times, one of those that have been a viewspapers FOR DECADES?"

Well, if you read it again, you may notice that he singled the Independent out for the fact that it began as a fight against the kind of folly that it now employs.

The Daily Mail, Sun etc. were always intended to be either plain tabloid or to make news exciting/sensationalised.

Staf said...

Oh and 'here! here!' to Fair Deal Phil

Michael Oakeshott said...

lol at anonymous 1.39 who confuses Blair's point. Instead he just lists the papers he doesn't like and no doubt doesn't even read anyway. Dear oh dear.

For once, the PM is basically right. In the age of the internet and instant news, the papers will focus on editorial. But it is hard to agree with him about the Independent(a decent though misguided paper). He is obviously still sore over Iraq, and sensitive when others accuse him of the lie he undoubtedly told to take us to war. At least he isn't dead though.

Let's be clear. Blair took us into a war on false statements. He conned pensioners out of billions. He gave us MRSA. He disgracefully had an inquiry into our relations with the Saudis closed. He sold peerages, and took cronyism to a new low. Is he expecting to be lauded for such things?

Like Princess Diana, Blair was made by the media. It is rather hard to take him seriously now that they have turned on him. It all looks a bit sad and desperate in the last days of Blair's Reich.

Anonymous said...

Staf - you're right that Phil's post is mis-leading, but Blair does mention the Independent, and it seems odd that he should name it as the "metaphor" for newspapers becoming "viewspapers" when, out of all of Britain's national dailies, it's the least guilty of that charge.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Blair should try running the government rather than the media.

Michael Oakeshott said...

He has tried and failed Geoffrey.

He should try running a bath rather than running the country, it might still be beyond the cretin.