Why our failing and biased media should concern us all

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?

To understand the percentages, APE1 is the figure from December 2003, APE4 the figure from November 2006 and APE7 the most recent figure from November 2009.

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.

17 Responses to “Why our failing and biased media should concern us all”


  1. 1 right_writes 03/02/2011 at 12:11 pm

    Yes AM, whilst I realise and accept that you don’t hold a flame for the UKIP, this research certainly demonstrates how negative or no reporting affects the progress of the only political party (ie touting for votes) that offers what the majority in the UK desire.

    At least your view, though I disagree, is reached with the benefit of your own enquiries.

  2. 2 David Jones 03/02/2011 at 1:08 pm

    That is depressing.

    You do a great job AM but frankly what’s the use?

    Our education system, in the main, churns out fodder for Strictly and Eastenders, the Sun and the Mirror.

    I don’t suppose we can get details of the MSM rejection. Who submitted? Who rejected?

  3. 3 mat 03/02/2011 at 1:11 pm

    I would like to say thanks to you and all the rest who are bringing this to light !as me granddad said
    “every shovel full of truth helps bury the b*stards”!
    The self belief and delusion of this journalist class is scary even now Mr Gregory of BBC fame is posting on B-BBC about how we are impugning his and Haribos reputations over there! but like Haribo his responses bare no relation to what is actually being said !.

  4. 4 colliemum 03/02/2011 at 1:58 pm

    Indeed – it should concern us all.
    Sadly, there is no grass-roots tradition here like in the USA, which would have thousands write to their local and national representatives.
    However, it also needs pointing out that the experience us ordinary people have when writing to our representatives is that it is a complete waste of time.

    It is coming up to four weeks now since I sent an e-mail to my MP, asking if there had been any measures passed or would be passed to comply with EU directives leading to legal instruments to enable energy rationing.
    Pierre Gosselin (notrickszone)blogged about this, from Germany. Naturally, there has been nothing about this in the LSM, nor even on the LSM blogs.

    Not very encouraging, is it …

  5. 5 orkneylad 03/02/2011 at 3:29 pm

    AM,

    An excellent article.
    The blogsphere is the only hope as the MSM have betrayed us all.

    Waking ‘mass-man’ from his slumber will be a long, hard struggle.

    Now is not the time to let up.

  6. 6 David S 03/02/2011 at 3:43 pm

    Which national newspapers? Did they give a reason why they thought that lying by the Met Office in an attempt to transfer blame for December’s fiasco onto the Cabinet Office was not a story?

  7. 7 Autonomous Mind 03/02/2011 at 4:45 pm

    David S and David Jones – It was given separately to the Daily Mail and the Daily Express by me. No explanation or feedback has been received from them so that suggests the journalists have made their editorial decision…

  8. 8 Tufty 03/02/2011 at 4:49 pm

    “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.”

    AM – these numbers are approaching the same ballpark as certain national newspaper daily sales, so a failing MSM doesn’t concern me. This is an excellent blog which I am sure is a pointer to a much more diverse future where the old MSM has no role.

  9. 9 Span Ows 03/02/2011 at 6:39 pm

    AM…you’re wrong about one thing: I bet “media” INCLUDES the TV dross. Stunning that “media” has risen a full 9% whilst PM, Cabinet, Parliament have fallen sharply.

    Reasons to be cheerful: EU is static and business has gained the ground it lost and added to it.

    Good post. Your Met Office juggernaut is gaining momentum. ;-)

  10. 10 Rereke Whakaaro 03/02/2011 at 7:01 pm

    Tufty has made my point for me.

    There are certain blogs – this being one of them – that are becoming mainstream, but in a different medium, and in a different way to the traditional dead-tree journalism.

    Evolution happens – get over it.

    Parliament was established to advise the Crown. The bureaucracy was established to advise the Parliament.

    As history as seen the gradual transfer of power from the Crown to Parliament, so has there been a gradual transfer of power from Parliament to the bureaucracy.

    And the bureaucracy is a one-party state, irrespective of who is sitting in the front office.

    The majority of the journalists have seen the writing on the wall, and are therefore compliant with the general flow of events.

    James Delingpole is about the only exception I can think of. But I sometimes wonder if he is allowed to remain doing what he does so well, simply to maintain an impression of the balance that is now long gone.

  11. 11 Marko 03/02/2011 at 11:37 pm

    Just an idea, why not send you evidence of deliberate concealment of forecasts to the businesses affected most by the cold snap and their lack of preparedness for it, such as BAA? Maybe Ryanair, they’re always up for a fight to gain publicity.

  12. 12 Lesley 04/02/2011 at 9:53 am

    Let us not confuse a Journalist with a reporter. Too many in the Media are merely reporting or regurgitating the press release.
    If you write to your MP you are lucky to get an acknowledgement, you are very lucky if your question is given an answer that appears to be a stock paragraph. Jackpot to get a real answer and reason for their actions. All this when we are paying for their office expenses and staff.
    These people go to courses that train them to obviate answers to questions and to change the question that they are asked.

  13. 13 Johnny Rottenborough 04/02/2011 at 5:32 pm

    … with the noble exception of James Delingpole, no one in the mainstream media has touched this story of Met Office lies and deception …

    Christopher Booker?

  14. 14 Autonomous Mind 04/02/2011 at 5:47 pm

    No. In fairness to Booker he could yet cover it. But that piece pre-dates the outcome of this story.

  15. 15 UK citizen 05/02/2011 at 9:15 am

    AM

    Bishop Hill floated an idea last week about consolidating several blogs into one website, as managing his growing blog was becoming increasingly difficult for him. I really think such a venture is the future for those of us who believe in truth, as it is the only way we can even begin to challenge the MSM.

    One centralised site, with dozens of contributors, such as yourself, funded by advertising, if we could spread the word about the site and get a larger audience then maybe more people could be awakened to the truth. We just need someone to organise it all…

  16. 16 Autonomous Mind 05/02/2011 at 11:40 am

    Thanks UK Citizen. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it might be useful for bloggers who cover other subjects to put the climate and AGW content on one aggregated site and their other content on their existing blogs. I’ll drop BH a line.

  17. 17 Subrosa 07/02/2011 at 2:50 am

    AM, that would be an excellent solution. I cross-post some Scottish political posts with an English blogger as she knows some of her readers have a particular interest in the Scottish Parliament. Of course that’s very small scale but if you decided to join together and have a one-subject aggregated site, I don’t think it would affect any of your individual blogs.

    You could even invite those of differing views to contribute. Aye well, maybe that’s a step too far…


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