Thursday, 24 May 2012

Aaaaagh! Or a considered comment on the Leveson Enquiry....

The world does on occasion appears to be filled with people who can't see beyond the end of their rather snub noses. I appreciate that times are hard but, just because they are, doesn't remotely justify the rejection of common sense or that misplaced belief that if you're all right now, you'll be all right if you just dump everybody else in the accumulated ordure of today's world.

I'm fed up to the back teeth with the Leveson Enquiry - examining "the culture, practices and ethics of the media" is what the front page lays claim to (and I guess is what whoever was daft enough to commission the thing in the first place asked for) but the reality is different. What we've seen is a load of lawyers asking questions of assorted journalists - some, it seems, favoured by the glitterati some not - and a rag bag of celebrities and self-promoting politicians. All without a great deal of edification and certainly without even approaching those big questions of "ethics" (for heaven's sake what would a lawyer know about ethics), "culture" or "practices".

Perhaps the endless circus - each day brings another turgid, pompous inquisition of another stage struck character - is just a front and behind the scenes some real work is going on to actually try and answer the question asked? Maybe there's an anonymous office block - in Basingstoke or Solihull - filled with clever people discussing those "ethics", pondering on the "culture" of the media and deconstructing the practices of that sinful profession. Somehow I doubt it.

What we see instead is the triumph of the gossipmonger, the focus on minutiae - who sent a text to whom, which politician was at which lunch and how often did some government department meet with the large business that it regulated. None of this helps. If there is criminal activity - and it seems there might well have been a rash of hacking, tricking and voicemail harking - then we have police officers, prosecuting services and courts to deal with it, we don't need millions of pounds of enquiry. So what is it all for?

Partly it's vengeance - those who feel wronged (mostly by Murdoch and mostly because his newspapers had the temerity to switch sides) want a bully pulpit where they can point their accusing fingers at the evil ones. Partly it's a media circus - there is nothing the BBC, the Guardian and all the grand glitterati of our chattering classes like better than a nice exposure of other media sorts who don't come up to their exalted standards or share their elitist, metro-liberal world view.

But mostly it's the media manufacturing a great circus on which it can report - that it will pretend is real news. A cynic might call it bread and circuses - a distractions from things that really matter. You know, things such as whether the Euro will fail, how we might get out of a recession, where tomorrow's jobs will come from, how we deal with international migration and many other of the world's goings on. Things that actually matter to people who live 250 miles from London and really couldn't give a toss whether some celebrity or other had his or her voice mails listened to by a newspaper hack.

So - after all this, my considered reaction the Leveson Enquiry is partly - it's an obscene waste of money. But mostly:



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You may indeed be fed up to the back teeth with the Leveson Enquiry but just wonder, for a moment, whether that national shame may also apply at the local level.

Can you, hand on heart, say that the relationship between your Bradord Council and the local news-sheet, the Telegraph & Argus, is not just as equally polluted by the incestuous interface of politics and the press ?

(For guidance, may I recommend last week's Private Eye, where you will find an illuminating feature on the city centre non-regeneration and the Odeon in particular.)

Then ask yourself if the relationship between local press, politicians and the police has anything in common with the Leveson revelations. Strange how many dodgy senior officers are jumping ship just before the new accountable Commissioners are elected - not quite so cosy as the 'masonic' Police Authority perhaps ?

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone....