How crucial is the media?

An article in Swissinfo is headed: Media ‘crucial’ in creating transparency; from which one statement is worth repeating:

The motives for working as a journalist have remained the same: to inform, research, ask critical questions and create transparency. And to entertain people – Iwan Rickenbacher, communications expert and former party manager.

Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom, journalists (with the exception of Christopher Booker) do not inform, they obviously do not know the meaning of research, they would not know a critical question if it was written out for them to ask; and thus they do not and cannot create transparency.

HL Mencken is reputed to have said: American journalism (like the journalism of any other country) is predominantly paltry and worthless. Its pretensions are enormous, but its achievements are insignificant – while Oscar Wilde reputedly said: By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the that community (my edit).

The quotes aforementioned become even more pertinent when we learn that anyone can become a journalist, even though experience in that profession amounts to failing to gain a place on The Times trainee scheme and being interviewed and subsequently rejected by The Economist (source) – but then neither, it appears, does the absence of any qualification in economics stop anyone from attaining the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer. It also helps if, starting a new career, one does not carry the baggage of conflict of interests. In any event the position of editor is not that demanding; all they do is separate the wheat from the chaff – and then print the chaff.

Journalism today can best be summed up as the art of knowing very little about an extremely wide variety of topics – for example, think Brexit. Not that any criticism should be limited to journalists – it is equally relevant when practicing the art of politics. An example of this has been the recent appearance of the Brexit Secretary of State before the Brexit Committee. Indeed as with journalists, the pretensions of politicians are enormous, their achievements insignificant.

When the media per se can decide for itself what it will and will not print/report, then that which results is censorship – no more, no less.

2 thoughts on “How crucial is the media?

  1. Perhaps it’s me but I look for entertainment as well as substance when I read ‘the news’. Hence I must say I find both Rod Liddle and Douglas Murray of the Spectator worthwhile.

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