Tag Archives: Journalism

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.

Home Truths (4)

#4 – a question to politicians and journalists

Whatever we wish to achieve in the future, it must begin by knowing where we are in the present- not where we wish we were, or where we wish others to think we are, but where we are in fact.

Where Brexit is concerned the sooner politicians and political commentators realise the truth contained in the above, the sooner we will be spared what can only be termed their asinine outpourings on this subject.

The conflation, by both politicians and political commentators,  twixt membership of the European Union and access to the Single Market is not only boring, but also frustrating; and does only increase, among those of us who have an understanding of ‘matters EU’, our contempt  of them.

The latest examples of the foregoing can be seen in articles by Matthew d’Ancona in the Guardian and John Rentoul in The Independent – on both of which I have commented. As an aside, the responses to my initial comment on d’Ancona’s comment just illustrates how people can be misled by statements issued by those who are supposed to be all-knowing but aren’t –  and on such misinformation is public opinion formed. In regard to John Rentoul, he obviously does not appear – at the time of writing – to bother to review comments.

So, the question to politicians is: if you so obviously know not about Brexit (or other matter) just why the hell should we elect and re-elect you, or listen/read what are your ill-informed statements; and to journalists, just why the hell should we purchase, or read on-line having paid, in some instances, to overcome what amounts to a form of censorship, the newspapers for which you write?

Just asking………………….




Laugh of the year?

I note that the Daily Telegraph now has a ‘premium’ level of access (£); however, there is a free level which affords users to one article per week. Having subscribed to this free access I promptly received an email from the Telegraph, part of which read:

Premium has been designed to provide exclusive online access to the highest quality journalism from the reporters and commentators at the heart of the story. [ ……….] Our team of award-winning writers, authorities and insiders offer you a unique perspective across all of the world’s most important stories……….. (emphasis mine)

‘Highest quality journalism’? If only……………………….

Afterthought: I exempt from my criticism Christopher Booker and, possibly, Ambrose Evans-Pitchard.