Journalists must hold power to account — not serve as puppets of the elite

George Monbiot writes:

Is Murdoch now finished in the UK? As the pursuit of Gordon Brown by the Sunday Times and the Sun blows the hacking scandal into new corners of the old man’s empire, this story begins to feel like the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The naked attempt to destroy Brown by any means, including hacking the medical files of his sick baby son, means that there is no obvious limit to the story’s ramifications.
Daniel Pudles 1207 Illustration by Daniel Pudles

The scandal radically changes public perceptions of how politics works, the danger corporate power presents to democracy, and the extent to which it has compromised and corrupted the Metropolitan police, who have now been dragged in so deep they are beginning to look like Murdoch’s private army. It has electrified a dozy parliament and subjected the least accountable and most corrupt profession in Britain – journalism – to belated public scrutiny.

The cracks are appearing in the most unexpected places. Look at the remarkable admission by the rightwing columnist Janet Daley in this week’s Sunday Telegraph. “British political journalism is basically a club to which politicians and journalists both belong,” she wrote. “It is this familiarity, this intimacy, this set of shared assumptions … which is the real corruptor of political life. The self-limiting spectrum of what can and cannot be said … the self-reinforcing cowardice which takes for granted that certain vested interests are too powerful to be worth confronting. All of these things are constant dangers in the political life of any democracy.”

Most national journalists are embedded, immersed in the society, beliefs and culture of the people they are meant to hold to account. They are fascinated by power struggles among the elite but have little interest in the conflict between the elite and those they dominate. They celebrate those with agency and ignore those without.

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1 thought on “Journalists must hold power to account — not serve as puppets of the elite

  1. Truth seeker

    Journalists are all bigoted narcissistic, self deluded people who have lost all credibility in the eyes of the public because you allow corrupt governments( especially America) to manipulate the media so as to dominate and invade counties for its own personal objectives. You fail to investigate the true events of 911 and the lies behind the invasion of Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction. War criminals within the Bush administration are allowed to walk free. Tony Blair and his ministers who distorted evidence for the invasions also walk fee. You allow these criminals to walk free without putting pressure on the courts to prosecute by investigating the true events. Wiki leaks is the only true journalism today.

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