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The Prince of Darkness complains about “uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news”

I was tempted to make this, by Peter Mandelson, today’s SQotD, but I might be misunderstood as agreeing with it. As it is, of course, I share the glee that Guido (to whom thanks) feels about it.


The bigger question is how the domestic media market can be made economic and subject to any form of regulation in an era when, a click away, there is access to information that respects no national boundaries and the laws of no single national parliament or the basic standards of conventional journalism. It is hard to see how some of the best-known sources of quality English-language journalism – the Times, New York Times, the Guardian spring to mind – will ever make money again. We come to grips with the fact that the internet is giving public access to uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news, all in the name of free speech, is becoming one of the defining issues of the 21st century.

Indeed it is.

And I love the idea of “information that respects no national boundaries”. In the old days information used to be far more respectful.

The world has become a pretty grim place of late. This Mandy moan cheered me up no end.

18 comments to The Prince of Darkness complains about “uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news”

  • Perry Metzger

    Yes, people are allowed to discuss the news outside of “approved” newspapers, “all in the name of free speech”. The tragedy!

  • David Gillies

    A. J. Liebling: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

    That’s what scares the living daylights out of the Mandys of this world. Imagine if all the proles get their news before it’s been chewed into pabulum. Why, they might start questioning their masters! The same dynamic is at work with the broadcast media. In the US, the big three networks have been toppled from their positions as gatekeepers. The effort required to get news from sources other than those which the bien pensant wish you to have has never been smaller. No wonder they want to tax and regulate and censor. I doubt this fight will finish any time soon, but it will end eventually and, barring a catastrophe, I know which side will win.

  • RickC

    This just made my day. Thanks.

    “basic standards of conventional journalism”

    Having watched and read mainstream media “news,” including the examples Mandelson mentions, for the last 30 years let me say in reply, “Bwhaaahaaahaa!”

  • Sam Duncan

    He sounds more like a pantomime villain every day, doesn’t he? Boo! Hiss! He’s behind you!

    I was really puzzled by “how the domestic media market can be made economic” until I realized he meant the right kind of media.

    People will always tend towards news sources they trust. Word gets around, not only about those who get things right, but those who get it wrong, too. People simply don’t trust the Times, NYT and Guardian any more. The Times is News Corp. (not in my book a reason to avoid it, but it is in the eyes of many, and there are plenty of others) the NYT has had a series of well-documented scandals, and the Guardian is a standing joke, especially in its coverage of Middle Eastern matters. They’re not the respected journals Mandy seems to think; that’s their problem. If they were, we’d all still be willing to pay for them in preference to the “uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news” that he’s so worried about, and they wouldn’t be losing money hand over fist.

    And that goes double for the BBC. (As I always say, if it’s so bloody great, why does the government have to force people to pay for it?)

  • Alisa

    These people really are for real, aren’t they?

  • RRS

    “… how we come to grips with the fact that the internet is giving public access to uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news, all in the name of free speech, is becoming one of the defining issues of the 21st century


    [emphasis added]

    The past twenty years of increasingly digested and mediated “news,” has been producing an excrement of information that even sparrows would pass up if found on the streets.

    In the U S, a major issue has become the constraints applied to the channels for information; the “news” not reported; the “stories” not covered; the information altered.

    The picture is one of “Those who know better, what is best.”

    Still they do not recognize that what they think they know does not sell.

  • I read this and I smile from ear to ear. Dear Mr. Mandelson, FUUUUCCCCKKK YOUUUUU, Love, The Internetz.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Mandelson always reminds me of Rimmer from Red Dwarf because they both tried to pick their own nicknames, and failed….

    As I recall Mandelson wanted to be known as “Bobby” as he viewed himself as the Bobby Kennedy to Blair’s JFK in the New Labour Camelot.

    Everyone just took to calling him Mandy 😀

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Mandelson? What happened to Lucas?

  • Surellin

    Nothing to say that hasn’t been covered, but hurrah for “uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news”.

  • Tedd

    I was going to say that mainstream journalism has always been a squalid affair, with a few notable exceptions, but professional journalists have also always seized on those exceptions as though they represented the true nature of journalism.

    And then it hit me just how perfectly that makes sense. Journalism has always been about telling how the world does not work. (“Man bites dog” is news, whereas “dog bites man” is not.) Journalists are trained to see the world this way so, in their looking-glass universe, the rare, honest, scrupulous journalists define journalism, and the way journalism actually works in the normal, day to day world is irrelevant.

  • Laird

    I find it wryly amusing that the context of these deep thoughts from Lord Mandelson was the publication of Prince Harry’s nude photos. Is there anything truly less important to the world (or even England) today than that?

  • Roue le Jour

    I would like to point out that Pravda was a free sheet. Not even the Soviet Union expected people to purchase their own propaganda.

  • PeterT

    Of course, Mandelson himself does (or would have at any rate) have an interest in such trifling issues as the various scandals (I can’t remember all the details: something about a house purchase and something about granting a visa for cash?) he’s been at the centre of being ignored by the media, and the days when a call to the editor would have done the trick he might well surely miss.

  • George

    I know it’s an overused word but is Mandelson actually a fascist?

  • PaulM

    If someone had told me ten years ago I’d be getting news from Russia Today RT I’d have laughed hard enough to choke.
    But I am actually tuning in there rather than the BBC etc.
    I’ll be giving up atheism next!

  • Paul Marks

    This is indeed a good news story.

  • Paul Marks

    I visited Tesco’s yesterday – unlike the National Socialists (and certain other people) I do not believe chain stores to be evil.

    On the newstands in Tesco’s were (logically enough) newspapers.

    And on the front pages of these newspapers were stories.

    But I could not tell (apart from by the titles of the newspapers) which, among the “serious” (or “quality”) newspapers, were supposed to be conservative newspapers and which were supposed to be socialist ones.

    Certainly the Guardian, Independent (and “I”) and Financial Times had pro Barack Obama and pro British government spending strories.

    But so did the Times and the Daily Telegraph (supposedly the conservative “quality” newspapers).

    So why should I care if ALL of the “serious” or “quality” newspapers close down?

    Indeed why should I not actually hope for such an event?