How can you spend 2000 pages failing to report that our media no longer report the news?
I never stop being amazed by the media’s ability to latch onto a story somewhat late, but then change it with all speed to a story about something completely different. It’s almost like they have a three dimensional gearbox in the newsroom, which has one gear forwards and seven capable of lateral movement.
The reason is nearly always pretty obvious. For example, neither the Guardian nor the Telegraph really want to focus on the obvious paedophile circles they come across in Unite and the 1922 Committee, because that way nasty things might pop out of the jackinabox.
So too, Rotherham has ceased to be a story about endemic abuse and corrupt policing, becoming instead a cliffhanger about whether UKIP will take the seat. While a peer and his bullying low-rent lawyer threatening people with legal action unless they cough up is presented as the triumph of justice over smears. It isn’t about systemic Welsh care home paedophilia any more, not least because Lord McAlpine is threatening to sue anyone who uses the word within a hundred light years of his name.
Now today, even that story has become one about Sally Bercow. Not one of the disturbing aspects of Rotherham, Bryn Estyn or the validity of McAlpine’s case is being addressed.
Abroad, the fiasco of hypocrisy played out between Brussels, Berlin and Athens during 2009-11 soon stopped being a story about unbridled banking corruption, Greeks being groomed to lie about debt by Wall Street, and cynical bondholders buying debt purely in the hope of triggering default insurance. Within weeks it turned into Greek Crisis Live, endless meetings, men inside cars being driven about, new dawns being proclaimed, and complete bollocks about Greece being on the road to recovery.
About thirteen months ago, a tale of insanity about braindead German austerity economics and dodgy arms deals with Greeks quietly shifted scenes, and became Will Greece Be Kicked Out of the eurozone. Briefly six months ago, reality surfaced in the shape of respected debt dealers and economists saying Greek debt was unrepayable, and it was an obscenity to pauperise innocent Greek citizens while the bad guys got off scot-free. But within days that was pushed offstage in favour of yet more shuttle diplomacy, more all-night meetings in Brussels, more calls for Greece to face its responsibilities, north European politicians with their own unassailable debt mountains calling for yet more austerity, and a fantasy Fiskalunion being depicted as the Promised Land.
Today, the EU story is very obviously one about the eurozone being doomed, France being hopelessly exposed to Greek debt, Germany et al being hopelessly exposed to Spanish debt, the entire zone’s economy heading for the sewers, Greek politics becoming extreme, and the need for a total rethink on political Union between European nations.
But for the UK press, it has become a surreal saga about David Cameron ‘getting tough’ with Brussels, and his Party Rightists being jolly delighted about that. (Even this is a perversion of the real story, viz, WTF is Britain still doing in a corrupt club that has been draining our resources pointlessly for almost a decade).
The media has been gone over with a fine tooth-comb by Justice Leveson in recent months. This bloke has now produced a 2,000 page report – does it really take that amount of verbiage to deal with the issues to hand? – but nowhere in his conclusions does it say that unelected media proprietors avoiding UK taxes wield enormous and unaccountable power to pervert the course of justice, policy, Cabinet responsibility, civic ethics, and our police forces.
Leveson points out that the media ‘have behaved disgracefully”, but then blows 100% of his credibility with one phrase: ‘Former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was not biased in his handling of the BSkyB bid’. I suggest in all humility that both recent and long-term Sloggers go to the dedicated page Hunt Balls on this site, peruse the contents, and then write to Leveson asking if he might be confused as to the sky/wall/ground/Marble Arch equation.
No longer do genuine investigative reporters in our Land make enquiries. Instead, counterfeit leaders hold enquiries that deliver spiked reports.
More and more, the baton of real Opposition in the United Kingdom is passing to the internet in general, and the best bloggers in particular. Unlike many in that sphere, I deplore this trend. My community isn’t ready for the responsibility: it is hopelessly splintered and riddled with egomania. There are far too many amateur clowns peddling nonsense about elders of Zion and Jimmy Savile being an alien. And one day – you can be sure – GCHQ will flex its muscles to create a Kafkaesque zone in which sites disappear, the charge against them is unknown, and there is no redress.
The UK mainstream media set is complicit in the maintenance of a rotten State, and much of this stems directly from the ownership structures within which it operates. I do not see anything in the Leveson Report recognising that reality. I see only a hair-splitting dullard insisting that a regulatory system enshrined in statute is not statutory regulation.
In a nutshell, tonight the Conservative Party is opposed to statutory legislation to control press illegality, because Camerlot fears a yet more damaging backlash from Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp machine. Whereas the Labour Party embraces the idea of such statutory instruments, because it hopes one day in the future to amend these to its own politically correct advantage.
Oh dear. The more time goes on, the more risibly bent and broken the whole thing looks.