Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Press Gangs

As avid followers of this blog will know, one of my favourite subjects is the quality of Scotland’s political commentators – or, more accurately, the lack of quality in same (it is worth remembering that we are the country who gave the world, amongst others, James Cameron and Neal Ascherson – whatever happened?). Harry Reid, columnist in The Herald, is rapidly becoming my favourite example of this decline (collapse?) of our national journalistic standards. I mean – take today’s piece in which Reid mulls over the current controversy of the funding of the UK’s political parties – and comes up with some stunning insights and not an inconsiderable number of dubious statistical relationships. I won’t bore you with any of this – read it yourself – but I just couldn’t avoid citing my very favourite bit, when Harry opines, sagely:

If less money is spent on election campaigns, the role of advertising agencies will diminish – and that of the media will increase. That might be no bad thing… Some might say that the growth of the internet and blogging will enhance the democratic process, but I'm not so sure, given the amount of misinformation, malice and mischief that pollutes cyberspace.”

Now, to be sure – as evidenced in recent days on this very blog – cyberspace can and clearly does attract its fair share of individuals hell-bent on misinformation, malice and mischief. But Harry – PLEASE. The media as the defenders of truth, fairness and integrity? If only…

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