13 June 2007

Michael White on the media beast

Some quotes from Michael White of The Guardian, responding to Tony Blair's analysis of the modern media and their effect on public life. (The emphases are mine).

"The consequences [of the modern media being driven by instant technologies and 24/7 global markets] are hard to dispute. ... The tricky bit is how society responds to the problems thereby created, notably the fast-declining levels of public trust in public institutions, by no means confined to politics and politicians in an information-rich age where the boundaries between facts and comment - and between both and entertainment - have all but collapsed."

"But as a political reporter for 30 years, I believe [Tony Blair] is more right than wrong, as John Major often was.

Margaret Thatcher was luckier with the media - until the very end.

A high proportion of allegations routinely made against governments, Labour and Tory, in the media are untrue - though they are widely accepted as true.

Dealing with that fact of life was what led Blair and Alastair Campbell into the jungles of spin after 1997 - an error, he admitted today."

"As for the tired claim that newspapers are accountable to their readers, TV to the viewers - well, that's humbug, although you will read a lot of it in tomorrow's papers.

The media has little of the external accountability which other walks of life now face.

It's a major player in the triangle between government and governed, but rarely acknowledges its own role."

Read the whole article here.

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