Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stephen Fry on MP (and journalists') expenses

Stephen Fry does not think the MP expenses claim is all that important.

He is wrong about the MPs, but the attack which he makes on journalists is rare and delightful.

Let me clarify that (following a pained prompt from a journalist of integrity).

Not all journalists are worthy of Fry's attack, just as not all MPs fiddle their expenses.

But it is noteworthy that although politicians are always under criticism, and although the manifold mistakes of my profession, the medical profession, is rarely out of the papers, and although absurd decisions made by judges are regularly reported, and judges are sometimes criticised for inappropriate behaviour, and although even the police are sometimes criticised in the papers, if for instance, they are caught on film assaulting someone who subsequently dies, and although bankers are in deep doo-doo, the one profession about whose mistakes and wrongdoings we rarely read about is the journalistic profession.

Back in the day, when I was speaker for the Green Party in 1990, we never criticised the media. Nobody did. It was suicide to criticise the media. Only Tony Benn criticised the media, and he got done over for it.

But now we have the Internet, and the monolithic power of the media conglomerates is beginning to crack. This is a tiny little such crack that you are reading right now.

Way to go, Stephen.


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Dorothea said...

"the one profession about whose mistakes and wrongdoings we rarely read about is the journalistic profession"

Ho ho, yes, and why is that? Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that they are the ones who do the reporting, could it?

DocRichard said...

Well, I suppose it's only natural. But we have to put in place better checks on media ownership, bias, and inaccuracy. For instance, corrections and apologies should have the same font and inches as the original article.