Blair turns on the mediaIt was interesting to read about Tony Blair's hysterical rant against certain segments of the British press. The UK prime minister referred to the media as, "feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits."
(The full text of the speech is available here)
If you completely ignore the identity of the speaker, a good chunk of his analysis is spot on. The media is a "feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits." Britain is probably the only western country whose media is more in the gutter than the USA's. He spoke of how the media fosters cynicism (but not politicians, of course). He spoke, as I've written about before, of the increased blurring between news and commentary; he neglected entertainment but his point remains valid.
But of course, you can't completely ignore the identity of the speaker. Blair and his Labour Party were elected in 1997 in no small part due to his assiduous courting of previously anti-Labour segments of the British media, most notably Rupert Murdoch's empire. This man headed of a government that was, for so long, obsessed with PR and spin; style over substance.
Take this passage:
"When I fought the 1997 election - just 10 years ago - we took an issue a day. In 2005, we had to have one for the morning, another for the afternoon and by the evening the agenda had already moved on."
Blair is turning on the beast that made him. But is he doing so because he's truly repelled or because he can no longer control the animal he once conquered?
What's most telling is the objects of his tirade. In what was portrayed as a broad analysis of the British press, he could only find two media outlets as examples of the ills he spoke of: the BBC and The Independent.
Not surprisingly, these media outlets have refused to carry his water over his and Bush's unconscionable actions in aggressing and occupying Iraq. The BBC and The Independent are two of the most intelligent, in-depth, professional media outlets in Britain.
Blair didn't attack The Sun, for example. Britain's top selling rag runs hysterical headlines that would make The New York Post blush. Nor did he attack any other parts of the Murdoch empire, despite them being the very epitomy of trash journalism. Of course, the Murdoch empire endorsed Blair-led Labour multiple times as well as the Iraq Aggression. The BBC doesn't do endorsements. The Independent opposed the Iraq debacle from the beginning.
This commentator doesn't see it as a coincidence.
Neither do I.
It's too bad he focused only on media critical of him. His analysis otherwise might have been credible.