Blair yesterday excoriated the Brit MSM. It is indeed now thoroughly nasty, but he created it.
His first charge is mudddle-headed statism:
Tony Blair called for new curbs on the media yesterday after warning that increasingly sensational news coverage threatened politicians’ “capacity to take the right decisions for the country”.
When pols talk about “taking the right decisions for the country”, they mean to ignore the clear wishes of the folks who elected them. So he’s criticizing democracy here, not the MSM.
His second charge is equally lacking in substance:
In a bitter parting swipe at newspapers and television before he stands down as Prime Minister on June 27, he said the media behaved like a “feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits”.
He’s no doubt thinking of his own suffering, notably the Cash for Honors investigation. But that’s driven by deliberate leaks by London’s politicized cops – the MSM is just the messenger. Blair himself politicized public service, using a combination of PC-driven legislation and infestation with swarms of his “advisers”.
His last point is true but irrelevant:
“There is a desire for impartiality. The way that people get their news may be changing but the thirst for the news being real news is not.”
The Brit MSM has always been partisan, but the quality of its coverage has noticeably deteriorated during Blair’s administration.
That’s driven by economics – declining circulation and revenues. I ‘m told Brit newspapers now get about 80% of their news direct from the news agencies because they can no longer afford their own reporters.
That has two pernicious effects.
First, the agencies are run by a small group of left-wingers, with the leftist weakness for dishonesty in the cause – witness the scandals during the last Lebanon war. A current example is their treatment of what they call Palestinian “factional fighting”. Scaling the casualties for a nation the size of Iraq, 500 people would be being killed each day – imagine how the Reuters would revel in that!
Second, because the MSM now lives off agency pap, the Brit MSM feels obliged to personalize the news with editorial flourishes. Here’s how the quality Brit MSM reported the president’s tour of Eastern Europe.
The once-proud London Times :
From hero to zero, Bush comes back to earth
And the London Daily Telegraph:
President’s disappearing watch
These sins of commission are amplified by a failure to inform.
Thus, to debate the US BMD sites planned for Poland and the Czech Republic, you have to know the routes ICBMs will follow from Iran to the US. That’s hard, because Mercator-based “common sense” is quite wrong – the Great Circle routes these missiles follow do indeed overfly these nations. Neither of the above papers has explained that.
The Times even claimed the US believed the European sites would protect it against NoKo missiles, leaving its readers ignorant of the already installed Pacific component of the US BMD system.
Blair’s final error is systemic – he doesn’t understand markets. Precisely because Brits no longer trust their MSM, they’re consuming less of it and either becoming apolitical or turning to the Internet (which is at least free).
Blair himself caused this with his 10 years of blatant media manipulation.