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July 14, 2011


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"Paxman, ploughing through embarrassing silences, had to drag opinions out of people. Quite a contrast to the debates on MPs expenses. If this is another great crisis of trust, it seems to be one few people really care about."

The expenses scandal was part of a time-honoured tradition, where everyone - including the outraged in Tunbridge Wells - knew what was expected of them. Dodgy MPs? Sack the lot of 'em, put 'em in prison, throw away the key, etc.

What role do the public play in this instance? It's more ambiguous. Especially given that, in a caricatural sense, dodgy journalism is already well-established in the public imagination. Nobody in the real world is that surprised about it, because journalism is one of those professions where the worst is already presumed. The really explosive elements in this case are the relationship between the police and the media, and the degree to which Downing Street is implicated.

Beyond that, outside of Whitehall and virtual Fleet Street, there are no villains, no-one Joe Public wants pilloried. Murdoch has never been the hate figure the liberal left want him to be, and never will.

But it's a stretch to say few people care about it. They have no idea of their role because the relationship between the public and the media is always fraught with half-truths and myths about participation anyway.


Totally agree with "one less shitty thing in the world". But sadly if there's still a market for this trash, something else shitty will soon pop up.

I find the whole thing insanely overblown though. Especially when - apparently- some of the people shrieking in outrage actually bought that type of paper. Where on earth did they think the journalists got their 'scoops'?

Bit hard to voice an opinion on this though. Matthew Parris wrote a nice, measured column saying he couldn't get that excited about it, and a load of vitriol landed on him.


But, Ian, remind us: was it a good week for Johann Hari? ;)

my honest answer

I totally agree about Gordon Brown. The man is deluded.

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