They’ve launched every conspiratorial missile that they could think of at him for the past four years. Now comes the counterstrike. The new rules of media, according to Chuck Norris’s would-be running mate:
First, scandal or controversy beats ordinary reporting hands down. News is rarely news unless it generates heat as much as or more than light. Second, attacking motive is far more potent than attacking judgement. It is not enough for someone to make an error. It has to be venal. Conspiratorial. Watergate was a great piece of journalism but there is a PhD thesis all on its own to examine the consequences for journalism of standing one conspiracy up.
What creates cynicism is not mistakes; it is allegations of misconduct. But misconduct is what has impact. Third, the fear of missing out means today’s media, more than ever before, hunts in a pack. In these modes it is like a feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits. But no-one dares miss out. Fourth, rather than just report news, even if sensational or controversial, the new technique is commentary on the news being as, if not more important than the news itself.
So – for example – there will often be as much interpretation of what a politician is saying as there is coverage of them actually saying it. In the interpretation, what matters is not what they mean; but what they could be taken to mean. This leads to the incredibly frustrating pastime of expending a large amount of energy rebutting claims about the significance of things said, that bears little or no relation to what was intended. In turn, this leads to a fifth point: the confusion of news and commentary.
It used to be thought – and I include myself in this – that help was on the horizon. New forms of communication would provide new outlets to by-pass the increasingly shrill tenor of the traditional media. In fact, the new forms can be even more pernicious, less balanced, more intent on the latest conspiracy theory multiplied by five.
I wonder who he might mean.
Read the whole thing, although it’s page three where most of the fireworks start popping. Exit question: Does his sinister call for revising the “regulatory framework” in which the media operates end up sabotaging the righteousness of his criticism?
Update: Naturally, the Independent responds by saying it’ll wear the criticism as a badge of honor.