Tuesday, 14 February 2012

State overkill

Journalism is a grubby trade. A journalist must be prepared to lie, con, distort, deceive, bribe, subvert, cajole, cozen and pander in order to produce the stories that compel us to buy their papers. Strangely, we rely on this deeply flawed, unreliable, dishonest and publicly loathed breed of men and women to seek out something called 'the truth'. Even more strangely, and perhaps almost by accident, they frequently do so. Despite the many shortcomings of the press, their many failures and weaknesses, they are an essential part of the armour of the people against the sword of the State. Like a bacillus that eats shit, journalism is unpleasant but vital for our wellbeing. 

Trevor Kavanagh's protest against the heavy-handed use of force and sheer numbers of officers who mounted an assault on the Sun's journos is absolutely right. They're targeting the wrong people. It is the business of the press to offer bribes to policemen for information; the most draconian penalties must be reserved for the plods who accept, not the journos who offer. Like those coprophage bacteria, they're just doing their job.  


Anonymous said...

That is also my view [total agreement with your post R] of the ongoing 'witch-hunt' - but why is Murdoch's corporation so willing to sell out it's staff?
How much 'Judas-silver' is it receiving? And I do not mean merely in financial terms, what is it that, he [Murdoch or is it 'son of'] is so worried about - or does he fear the powers that be [EU?] so much?
That in the end and if he is afraid [worried, kowtowed, browbeaten], then he should get out of the business - back them [SUN] - and show some spine, or sell the paper and allow someone in who understands newspaper journalism.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

What we are witnessing, in fact, is a State-sponsored pogrom against an organisation that refused to tow the party line.

I suspect that the political class - including the BBC of course - will not rest until News International no longer exists.

That, presumably, is what the Murdochs are afraid of.

Anonymous said...

One word 'Wapping'


outsider said...

How ludicrous. Over 40 years as a national newspaper journalist, sometimes "investigative", I never had cause to lie, con, deceive, bribe, subvert, pander (in the proper sense)or to be dishonest. Nor was I or most of my colleagues prepared to do any of these things. I was never asked to nor did I ever ask others. I did cajole and, on literally a handful of carefully considered occasions, cozen. Don't you? (Distortion, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.)
Do you really think that Simon Jenkins, who successfully edited the Evening Standard and The Times, did these things? Or Bill Deedes (Telegraph), or Harold Evans (Sunday Times) or Lionel Barber(FT), or Hugh Cudlipp (Mirror)? Then why say so?
As in society as a whole, a coarsening of standards and behaviour has been evident this century, inspired perhaps by the era of Kelvin McKenzie at The Sun, and the Lobby system is inherently corrupt because it is monopolistic. But that does not make most of us "coprophage bacilli".

I realise that, like so many newspapers, you were exaggerating the build-up before introducing your main, somewhat bland point. But that was plain silly.

Anonymous said...

right or wrong - the public get their news from the net not the papers

G. Tingey said...

Completely wrong
Murdoch set out to buy the entrie politcal class in this country, and a large part of the US
And damn near succeeded.
Very few were prepared to tell him to eff off.
Now it's all coming home to roos.
We can do without Citzen Kane, thank you very much.
Please note how Murdoch's corruption also extended to the police force - really, really not good.

Anonymous said...

You may be right Greg but this relationship cuts both ways. The entire political class also set out to "buy" Murdoch and damn near succeeded. Who remembers "Its the Sun wot won it". The whole damn shebang is a nasty symbiotic poisonous relationship. And it is cathartic that they are now tearing lumps out of each other, as the relationship becomes a public divorce.

Coney Island

Bruce said...

I agree with outsider. I spent 32 years as a reporter on regional newspapers and don't recognise these "qualities" in myself or any of my many former colleagues. This sort of criticism of journalists is just a lazy form of caricature. Save your bile for people at the top of the newspaper chain - and the BBC's Richard Black, of course.