Yesterday on James Delingpole’s news blog I left a comment concerning the coverage of the Met Office’s actions and behaviour in the media. Or, more accurately, the lack of it.
In thanking Dellers for giving some ‘mainstream media’ visibility to what has been dug out by the blogosphere, I added the following:
The rest of the media is either asleep at the wheel, or doesn’t have the gumption to dig for the truth and report it. The public is being badly let down by complacent journalists who sit and wait for a press release to land in their inbox.
If a handful of bloggers can put this together in their spare time, why not a few professional full time journalists?
A written answer in the House of Commons yesterday, to a question about public involvement in the political process, led me to a survey finding that underlines why the media’s lack of attention to matters such as these – with their implications for public awareness, policy and public spending – should concern everyone.
Mark Harper’s response made reference to the Hansard Society’s 7th Annual Audit of Political Engagement, published last year, and the finding that there has been a big decline since the first Audit in 2004 (sic) in the perceived impact of the Westminster Parliament on people’s lives, compared to other institutions.
So what are the public’s most recent perceptions about the institutions perceived to have the greatest impact on people’s lives? Harper had already alluded to the perceived lesser impact of Westminster, so where does the power now reside?
It shows that of the available options (X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent are noticably absent) the media is perceived to have the greatest impact on people’s everyday lives.
Not, you notice, the bureaucrats and functionaries who make our laws, raise our taxes, meddle in our lives and oversee the ruination of our justice system, rather the lazy hacks who sit around waiting for press releases they can cut and paste as news copy and the TV reporters who throw softballs at the political class in what pass for searching interviews. The irony is staggering considering the lack of trust many people have in journalists.
Given the BBC’s dominant position in news reporting in the UK and the fact its editorial line is lifted directly from the dismal Guardian, this finding is horrifying. The naked bias in reporting on matters such as how we are governed and by whom, the economy, foreign affairs and climate change, does have an impact on those who rely exclusively on the mainstream media in shaping their view of the world. It is profoundly worrying.
While tens of thousands of people have been visiting this blog over recent weeks, and hundreds of thousands more have visited other blogs to see facts presented that the media chooses not to relay to its audience, the fact remains citizen journalists are still grovelling in the weeds. We can be concerned, we can tut and sigh, or we can redouble our efforts to reach a wider audience and present them with information the establishment (which very much includes the mainstream media) prefers to keep quiet about.
We are in a fight between perception and reality. To date, with the noble exception of James Delingpole, no one in the mainstream media has touched this story of Met Office lies and deception, despite it being presented to two national newspapers. Many millions of people are being fed the party line and are unaware of the serious questions raised about the integrity and competence of people we pay to work for us, not just on this subject but on all subjects. It should concern us all.