Government evil and stupid – Media

I’ve just finished reading John Lloyd’s new book, What the Media are Doing to Our Politics. Although I agree with Lloyd’s general thesis – that the media, particularly in the UK, have too much unchecked power – the book itself is not altogether a satisfying read. It makes a convincing case that parts of the media are behaving irresponsibly, but doesn’t really offer much of a plan for change.

One of Lloyd’s main worries is that the media, particularly the press, are now taking an automatically hostile line against politics and politicians, and that they are setting themselves up as arbiters of truth and public opinion, making themselves out as superior to mere elected politicians or scientific experts.

As if to confirm this, tonight’s Newsnight began with Kirsty Wark standing in front of her desk and excoriating the Government. This quote is not exact, but is a fair approximation of what she said.

The Government has not banned smoking in public places, or forced the food industry to reduce the amount of fat and food in the food it sells. Are they really concerned about accusations of the nanny state? Or are they more worried about the interests of big business?

No-one who heard the introduction would think that the Government could possibly have a good reason for not cracking down on salt and smoking – is that really the way to introduce a news (rather than a comment) programme?

The message here is “everyone but us is stupid and evil”. The unintentional message is “and we are insufferably smug and self-righteous”.