@LevesonInquiry. License the editors through panel of journalists.

Watching The Andrew Marr show this morning, I was slapped in the face by a truth, which I consider to be a major ill in Society:  One, which might be easily cured.

Kate Adie and Kelvin McKenzie were discussing the deployment of journalists in danger zones such as Homs(Syria).

Both agreed that the recent deaths were detracting from the real story of the atrocities. Kate Adie made the valid point that despots were seeing the significance of media coverage and were therefore, targetting journalists.

Kelvin McKenzie seemed to suddenly see a Gordian knot moment and declared that we didn’t need to send in these journalists. We should just give locals, some decent video gear and rely on them.

He figuratively leaned back to receive the plaudits for this gem of wisdom, much as any blogger or bar room pundit might, only to have his moment of glory ripped away by Kate Adie’s quiet and reasonable insertion of the unpleasant truth that the locals could not be relied on.

As Kelvin M began to mount a blustering rebuttal, he was caught amidships by the revelation that one piece of video footage that had been received had turned out to be 20 years old scenes from Beirut.

If Marr hadn’t quickly changed topic, we’d have had to witness K.M go into melt down, the way only an ex-Editor of The Sun could.

The main point that I gleaned from this little interaction was a clue to what has gone wrong with British Journalism… ……………Murdoch.

When Murdoch took over The Sun, he took the stance that he would cater for the bar-room pundits and appointed editors, who had the same mentality. I.e. people quick to see a sensationalist angle on any story and run with it.

Running with it, as hard as he could, using chequebook and Press Power to bludgeon down opposition.

After all the greater the controversy, the greater the sales and the greater the profit.

Unfortunately, in doing this, Murdoch dragged much of Fleet Street along with him.

If you want a more balanced view of the News, you had to go to the Broadsheets.

The problem with the broadsheets and with the tabloid versions that have sprung out of them, is that they are written by the intellectuals and the pseudo-intellectuals.

They are dry, dreary, full of reviews (books, restaurants, plays, ballets, opera, business deals) and managed by the sort of people, who, I would imagine. would tut at you for eating a pie, in public.

The nearest that we have to newspapers for the general public are two right-wing rags, despised (supposedly) by most stand-up comics.

I read The Daily Express, despite its “we’re not racist but here’s another story about……” and front page stories that alternate between the bewailings of Cassandra and stories of mawkish sentimentality.  In fact I was put onto it by my father, a strong Trade Unionist, who would immediately turn to the racing pages.His main reason for purchasing it.

The old red banners (pre-Murdoch) might have carried attention grabbing headlines but they would have been overseen by an editor with an eye to truth and integrity.

Instead of a Press complaints Commission, try licensing The Editors, on a three year basis.

Force the likes of Murdoch to try and hire an editor, who only wants a three-year long career.

Perhaps the likes of Kate Adie might be prepared to become editor of a tabloid, or at least sit on the Licensing Committee made up of experienced and respected journalists, with proven credentials.

 

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