Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Well great. I Google News on Global Index of Human Rights, and there are two reports, one in the Weston Mercury, fair play to them, and one in politics.co.uk, but that link does not load, and I cannot find it navigating from their home page.

Which bears out the position I have long held, that news media generally are constitutionally and intrinsically unable to communicate clear new political ideas. De facto, news media exist to gossip about political personalities, and where they do touch on ideas, their role is to confuse the listening/watching/reading public with adversarial, black/white interrogation methods derived from our adversarial justice and political systems. Reasoned discussion that sets out the facts and arguments is out of the question for them.

Which makes me wonder again why the Green Party spends vast (relative to our budget) amounts of money on the Press Office, and to raise again the question of whether the money would not be better spent on a really good web and net presence. I mean really good; make the Party site the portal that people come to first to find out what is going on in politics.

Media: the clue is in the name: they are the intermediaries, the middle men. They always have to put their spin ("angle") on the item they are reporting on. In the age of the web, journalists are an anachronism, as were monks gifted in the art of illuminating manuscripts
once the Caxton printing press came out.

I am probably going to get spanked by the party hierarchy for writing this. Criticising the media is a no-no for politicians who live and die by the media. NGOs are the same: there was an article last year showing Foe, Greenpeace saying how fair the media are. Through gritted teeth.

It reminds me of Tudor times, when people about to be beheaded on the orders of Henry VIII made syncophantic speeches about what a wonderful king he was.

Maybe they thought he would be so moved by their loyalty in the face of death, and order a last minute stay of execution. Fat chance. Fat king.

The Green Party is long dead as far as mainstream journalists are concerned, so they cannot make us any deader. But we can live long and prosper on the web, if we devote resources to it.


Jim Jay said...

Well, I come to praise Doc Richard, not to spank him... (not that I'm part of the heirarchy, heaven forbid)... unfortunately we've just cut back our press office which I do think is a bad thing - we can get good press sometimes and particularly in the London elections this year the endorsements of the Observer and the Independent were very, very helpful.

I agree that a stronger web presence is essential and I note the national site, regional sites and (coming up) key local sites are getting a good revamp. Of course we should be aiming much higher than that - but as a small party without much money it will be down to the members (like you and I) to make a lot of that happen.

Stuart Jeffery said...

Check this out!



DocRichard said...

Thanks for the link Stuart, and I have issued a retraction. And Jim, yes we do get a bit, but I wonder if we counted the column inches resulting from Press Office activity, whether we would do better by scrapping the Press Office and taking out advertising space in the papers to get our message across?

I only ask. So far as I know there is no audit on the product of the Press Office, and when I did ask for this, I got a very hostile response...

Jim Jay said...

Well, I agree it can be very frustrating getting media coverage - although as with all things in life even when the odds are stacked against you the better you are at something you still increase your chances.

I know the previous press team tried to keep an assessment going - thew problem is of course that this is a job in itself and to do it really thoroughly would certainly take away from time spent working on actually getting into the press rather than just monitoring.

I don't know the answer to the exact best way to structure ourselves for this - but I'm fairly sure we need at least one press officer!

Emerald said...

"Criticising the media is a no-no for politicians who live and die by the media"

I think you have many very good points here, Richard.

The Meeja chooses to be obsessed with personalities, distracting from the real issues. Hardly surprising really though, given that most media luvvies, journalists and broadcasters went to the same schools, marry the same people, and have many of the same vested interests in business-as-usual as the decision makers and politicians.

So-called "local" papers are if possible, even worse than the nationals. Hardly any are independent any more, belonging to one or two mega corporations. They frequently exhibit strong bias in their coverage, or even fail to cover sensitive stories at all. The watchdog function has been almost completely written out, and like the nationals they make sure to stay in close "partnership" with local businessmen, council officers and other power brokers, to the exclusion of ordinary folk.

Could blogs be the new (now interactive) broadsides?

DocRichard said...

Hi Emerald, thanks for commenting, and many thanks for agreeing. It is very calming to be agreed with.
Can blogs take over from the meeja? We can dream...
Trouble is that the blogosphere is peopled by many people of odd views, including climate sceptics. Still, that's up to us, we just have to overlay their grunts with cool, calm rational debate.

Jim Jay said...

"Trouble is that the blogosphere is peopled by many people of odd views, including climate sceptics."

The strength of the blogosphere is also its weakness it allows ordinary people to become a small part of the media. The thing is lots of ordinary people are odd - it's just the blogosphere has allowed them to reach more people!

I think the fact that we can be the media is very powerful stuff and as with all things we can do it effectively or poorly which will influence how well we can get our message across and how far.

DocRichard said...

You're right Ji,. If we cannot get into the media, we can blame coporate editorial anti-green conspiracies. If we cannot get on the web, we can only blame ourselves. Or our internet connection.

Here's something I wrote earlier: it is to the tune that squaddies sing when they are in training:

If Your Mother Doesn’t Need Ya

If your mother doesn’t need ya
Get a job within the media.
Want to lie without redress?
Get a nice job in the press!
If you're regularly pissed
You could be a journalist.
If you like to cast ordure
You could be an interviewer.
If your thing is smearing poo
Broadcaster's the job for you.
If you'd like to be a Nazi
You can join the paparazzi

Don't let them fool you all the way -
Make April First your No News Day!

So the plan is - we do not buy newspapers on April 1st. That'll get them worried.

DonaQixota said...

"reach more people" - or annoy more people?

Long live odd people and eccentrics! There's too much homogenisation out there.

No point in wasting time over these "climate sceptics". It's diverting from the issues we can all see and feel, like destruction of biodiversity (wildlife if you prefer), concreting over green spaces, air and noise pollution, hypermobility and its corrosive effects on people and communities (obesity, social breakdown etc), and the huge loss of quality of life we're all experiencing.

You can even get died-in-the-wool old Tories involved and het up about how the quality of life is being ruined over the last thirty years! The focus should be hey, we've got a lot of problems here, so how do we sort them out?

DonaQixota said...

PS. I love your song, Richard.