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June 12, 2007

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James

I am perhaps in the minority but I thought Blair made some really valid points today. I agree with you that media plays a every increasing role in all aspects of our life.

My concern is that if you ask the general public there views on politicians the vast majority will attach words such as untrustworthy and corrupt. I for one believe this is not the case and I think certain factions of the media are to blame for this. Clearly finding a solution is much harder than noticing the problem though

Chris Williams

You rule, Chris D, despite your strange inability to appreciate THFC, because you know what 'begging the question' actually means.

Mark Wadsworth

"the increasingly shrill tenor of the traditional media"

Bollocks, they're no different to how they've ever been, most people, most journalists and most blogs are just as stupid as they've ever been because politicians spend their whole time telling one lie after another, big, small, relevant, irrelevant.

As you said yourself, Polly Toynbee, Melanie Philips, what's the difference?

To what extent either of these ladies in particular is actually CORRUPT is a different question.

Chris

Interesting point about Guido - I often think blogs like his are picked up in the media because they do so much trade in hype and so little in content - they provide less threat to the traditional media's position.

cityunslicker

I think he is referring to Oona King's new blog actually!

james C

Why blame the Independent and its half a dozen readers?

Guido Fawkes

Yes we're not typical blogs, we're widely read for a start.

Shuggy

"Yes we're not typical blogs, we're widely read for a start."

Indeed. Plus you get to go on Newsnight - which must have been enjoyable? It certainly was for us.

Marcin Tustin

Indeed, I have a comment about how if this were a problem, Blair could have tried to do something about it by communicating with the public in a better fashion.

dave heasman

Whittam Smith gives quite good riposte this morning - he says (I paraphrase) that all other organisations are quite OK at dealing with the media, the government is uniquely hopeless and useless because a) they lie, b) they as individuals have never run anything, not even a whelk stall, before they're expected to run the army.

Neil harding

While the hidden right-wing agendas and underhand tactics of the press may not have changed that much, no-one can deny that there were only 3 TV channels in 1982 and now there are 100s and 24/7 news coverage. All this extra coverage has piled the pressure on politicians.

Criticise the opacity of politicians all you want (and I agree that politicians need to raise their game) - but as Blair said 'if you want to win power, you don't have much choice'. One slip loses you votes and to be completly honest in politics (and Ken Livingstone proves it can be done) you have to have virtual super-human knowledge of every subject. If we want to blame anyone for this vacuous politics then blame the electorate and especially the media they rely on. There is a lot of hypocrisy going on from people who criticise politicians but who lie to, conceal and deceive their own work colleagues, clients and others on a daily basis.

Paulie

A few comments; You appear to be in denial here. If you really think that a politician would be able to make clear coherent arguments anywhere without them being deliberately distorted, re-interpreted or under-reported by your profession, then I suggest you should stop watching Corry for a bit and buy a downmarket newspaper (or, sadly an upmarket one) for a few days. To offer 'clear coherent arguments' of the kind you suggest would be a way of condemning yourself to obscurity. And this would leave journalists no option (!) but to spend all of their time with those that are prepared to play the game and give them some decent copy.

You say that the conventional media may be less important today, but it is responding to it's falling importance with desperation. Your journalistic colleagues are more groupthinky and more desperate to make an impact now than they were twenty years ago. They are even bigger gits than they used to be, and that is saying something.

You say that the heavens wouldn't really fall in if a cabinet meeting goes past lunchtime, but where is your counterfactual here? Is Brown's main electoral rival - Bullingdon Boy - going to sack all of his communications team? Or has he beefed it up?

If Blair has made made this mistake, everyone else in his position is going to look at the same evidence and make the same mistakes. Are you expecting a Tory government to herald a return to cabinet government and a bonfire of spin-doctors?

As someone who believes in the quality of customers decisions, you seem to be doubting all of the evidence of the High Street here. The principled Burkean ideal representative is hardly the type that has risen to the top in the last thirty years, has it?

Blair has lasted ten years because he has been good at handling a spiteful and churlish media. When a young journalist tried to get Bill Shankly to disagree with Brian Clough, Shanks replied (I paraphrase) "When someone who has scored 251 goals in 273 appearances tells you something son, you should write it down and not argue."

And when someone with Blair's track record of political success (surely the most unblemished in living memory in that respect) talks about political management, it might be worth writing it down, dontcha think?

gracchi

The point Guido is that it isn't just quantity its quality- not sure you have the second though you may have the first- the Sun has always outsold the Economist but I know which is better.

Chris to your main points isn't there something about the way that people treat being interested in politics here also- that we look at politics as entertainment and consequently the journalism is entertainment journalism but actually its about issues and policies but that requires learning and understanidng more.

pommygranate

Shuggy

That Newsnight appearance of Guido's was so dire and so comical, it even made news all the way down here in Ozblogistan!

Stick to anonymous blogging, pal.

Now this, on the other hand, is a quality blog.

pommygranate

Paulie

Good points. We are way too critical of our politicians and have way too high expectations of them.

jameshigham

Did you see Guido's and Oona's recent results in the Blogpower Awards, Category 13? It seems that the blogosphere has a certain view of Guido and the readers have another.

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