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Wednesday, June 13, 2007 

He's not talking about us, is he?

I can't resist taking a look at today's Scum leader on Blair's media speech (the Scum's article, written by political editor George Pascoe-Watson, is equally piss-poor):

BRITAIN is blessed with the richest variety of media in the world.

It can be belligerent, biased and sometimes blatantly unfair.

And that's just the Sun! Badum-badum tisk!

To be serious, Britain is indeed blessed with the richest variety of media in the world. We undoubtedly have one of the finest broadsheet, or quality newspaper selections of any coountry. The Telegraph, despite the efforts of the Barclays, is still one of the finest in actual news reporting; the Times, despite Murdoch, and its Blair-obeisance, stands in equal stead, and you'd be unlikely to find a wider selection of comment and different viewpoints anywhere outside of Europe than in the Grauniad and Independent, whatever some might feel about some of it.

Unfortunately, we also have a tabloid media which rivals America in terms of how awful it is. The Sun may be the worst of the worst, but the Express and Mail do on occasions give it an equal run for its money. That's why it so breathtakingly hypocritical to be lectured about the rest of the media by the likes of Paul Dacre and now, whichever hack put together this Sun editorial.

But for all our imperfections, we play a vital role in the political life of this nation.

We keep the powerful on edge, looking over their shoulders, and shed light in the hidden corners of our public life. Yes, the media enrages politicians — it’s part of our job.

Except the Scum hasn't kept Blair on edge, has it? That what was inexplicably missing from yesterday's speech, the fact that in this country Rupert Murdoch seems to count for a lot more than what the voters themselves do. It's easy to overstate just what effect that tabloids have in making a nation even more cynical and miserable, but the Sun's right that they play a vital role in the political life of the nation - an almost entirely negative one.

Here's the really hilarious bit:

He denounced journalists for hunting like “feral beasts, tearing people and reputations to bits”.

His sights were on the Daily Mail and the BBC — but the only newspaper he named was the tiny, defenceless Independent.

Ah, definitely not the Sun then! Very little of the speech actually seemed applicable, or directed at the BBC, but it's little wonder that the Scum thinks it was, its hatred for the corporation never far beneath the surface of Murdoch's Rottweiler.

Labour cannot hail 9/11 as a “good day to bury bad news” and then accuse the media of manipulation.

This is ever so slightly unfair - only one special adviser did that, hardly representative of Labour as a whole, even though Labour most definitely has attempted to bury bad news since then.

But what worries us about the PM’s speech was his threat to shackle the media.

It should worry everyone who believes true democracy cannot exist without a free Press.

Except Blair didn't suggest anything like "shackling" the media. He actually said:

regulatory framework at some point will need revision

and explained why, which has been taken out of all proportion, not just by the Sun. The truth is that the Sun is not a part of a free press - the only person it's accountable to is Rupert Murdoch. It, along with the other tabloids and their respective owners, can smear, lie and distort and they get away with it day after day. One has to wonder whether true democracy would come a step closer if they were to just disappear overnight.

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