Media

The Assault on Reason: UK Edition

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Blair as Geddy Lee

For those who follow the British media, it's tough to disagree with Prime Minister Tony Blair's characterization of it as a "feral beast," baying for the blood of politicians and celebrities. This is, I think, generally a positive thing. But Blair thinks the Fourth Estate hyenas need to be tamed—with more regulation:

British newspapers will and should be subject to some form of new external regulation, the outgoing prime minister, Tony Blair, said yesterday in a broadside that attacked the media for behaving like feral beasts and eschewing balance or proportion.

Oh dear. Add this to Britain's already outrageous libel laws, the BBFC, Ofcom and the Official Secrets Act. The British news consumer, Blair says, has no way of distinguishing between what's is "objectively" true and political propaganda. Therefore, the poor saps need their government protectors to pitch in:

Moving on to the regulation of newspapers, Mr Blair said changes were inevitable: "As the technology blurs the distinction between papers and television, it becomes increasingly irrational to have different systems of accountability based on technology that no longer can be differentiated in the old way."

He also questioned whether papers needed some system of accountability that went beyond sales. He said: "The reality is that the viewers or readers have no objective yardstick to measure what they are being told. In every other walk of life in our society that exercises power, there are external forms of accountability, not least through the media itself.

Incidentally, Al Gore makes an almost identical argument in The Assault on Reason, which I wrote about here.

NEXT: Cry for Argentina

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  1. Anyone else think he looks stoned in that picture?

  2. So why doesn’t Blair just start up a media company that claims to be completely objective and market it to people as such?

  3. Embarrassing mullets were popular in the UK in the ’80s? Who’dve thunk it?

  4. So why doesn’t Blair just start up a media company that claims to be completely objective and market it to people as such?

    He could partner with Rupert Murdoch, who’s committed to having fair and balanced media!

    🙂

  5. He could partner with Rupert Murdoch, who’s committed to having fair and balanced media!

    🙂

    you read my mind thoreau

  6. Reminds me of all the women I’ve know who bitch endlessly about how all men are unfaithful liars.

  7. Reminds me of all the women I’ve know who bitch endlessly about how all men are unfaithful liars.

    Clearly we need some government regulation on men so women will be able to better differentiate between the unfaithful liars and the faithful lia.. I mean, faithful honest men.

  8. “Anyone else think he looks stoned in that picture?”

    I think I partied with that guy!

  9. The picture looks like the perfect example of yob-hooligan culture that Blair is always yammering about.

  10. Alfred E. Neuman was a British PM?

  11. Reinmoose,
    That wouldn’t help. The don’t have problems differentiating men. The problem is the perfect correlation between dishonest and dateable men.

  12. If the government won’t provide some kind of objective yardstick, who will?

  13. The reality is that the viewers or readers have no objective yardstick to measure what they are being told.

    This yardstick used to be known as, you know…

    THINKING…

    Sadly, I fear the above quote bears some truth. Not that regulation will change anything for the better, but the fact still remains.

  14. Warren –
    touch

  15. If the media published a picture like that of me, I can see where I would think like Blair – who looks like a cut rate gay hooker in that photo (O right… he’s a politician so he does sell cut rate favors…)

  16. Hell, his eyeballs are pointing in different directions!

  17. Where did you get that picture? Priceless. Blair is a liberty-destroying asshole, but I didn’t think he was dumb enough to let a picture like that see the light of day.

  18. Eric Blair (George Orwell to you folks) had it right all along. Britain is creeping towards 1984 and it’s the left (Ing Soc) that doing the heavy lifting.

  19. Brown: “That’s the second independent thought alarm today, Sir.”

    Blair: “The people are overstimulated. Get rid of the Internet.”

    Besides, if people hear the occassional truth, they might start recoginzing just how often their leaders lie to them and they’ll lose faith in government. No, no. It’s best to shut down these subversive internet types now before the people decide they want to do something about their government aside from participating in sham elections periodically.

  20. this is an actual post of Dan T.’s from the “New Poll, No Paul” thread. Yeah, I know it doesn’t make sense because nobody here is complaining about non-objective information coming out of the MSM, but he would still say this:

    Still, the mainstream media is run by corporations in a free-market system so who are we to complain?

  21. Actually, I agree with you guys that the media is doing a fine job and needs no government regulation, since it has prevented any libertarian candidates from winning much of anything. At gunpoint.

  22. I thought I’d seen every photo of “young Blair”, but that one’s a gem.

    BTW Scooby, that shot must have been taken significantly pre-80s. Blair was a Member of Parliament from 1983, and the Great British Establishment wouldn’t even have let him in the building with a do like that.

  23. Tony Blair was in the Jam?

  24. All you need is some guy with a ridiculous, three-sided mohawk and it’s The Young Ones.

  25. Someone needs to show this cat http://news.google.com — The news’paper’ is dead. Long live the internets.

  26. What kind of regulations do you think would be helpful, Dan?

  27. We should ban all news channels until they are re-formulated to be exactly like PBS or C-Span.

  28. Hey Dan, that would work! – it would make all news channels so unwatchable that it would be impossible they could have any negative influence.

    You see Dan, you are treated well when you offer up good, solid, policy proposals like that.

  29. Aside from the use of ridicule for logic and celebrity channel-like discussion above, which is all too funny and entertaining, the media is important to society and does seem that some accountability is in order. Allow no one to own two outlets of any kind. Get rid of the massive media industry. Go back to mom and pop papers and locally owned TV and radio stations. Have no idea how to handle the internet…just keep it free.

  30. Comedy shows have in effect assassinated people.
    Gerald Ford, one of the most athletic of Presidents,
    was chopped up as clumsy, right or wrong.

    Dan Quayle was ridiculed, rightly or wrongly,
    to the point of his having no chance of redemption.
    Bill Clinton was reduced to a sex joke.

    Forget any logic other than comedic effect:
    Pick a flaw to focus on and magnify before the public.

    The solution to the problem is,
    we need a media about the media,
    sorta like we have going on right here.

    But who is going to hold us to the line?

  31. The problem with Dan T. is not that he trolls. Its that he mixes the occasional insight with the trolls.

  32. I’ve gained a whole new perspective on Tony. Man, in that 1986 photo he looks totally stoned.

  33. “BTW Scooby, that shot must have been taken significantly pre-80s. Blair was a Member of Parliament from 1983, and the Great British Establishment wouldn’t even have let him in the building with a do like that.”

    Picture caption says 1986, which about jibes with the peak of the popularity of the moo-lay in the non-hockey playing population.

  34. Yo, that dude looks stoneder than jesus!

  35. Alfred E. Neuman? Is that you?

  36. Yo, that dude looks stoneder than jesus!

    No way. All black people look stoned.

  37. “””If the government won’t provide some kind of objective yardstick, who will?”””

    Shouldn’t that be meterstick?

  38. I think that pictures is proof that pot was as good then as is now. He looks toasted!!!!

  39. TrickyVic,
    You mean because if he would have stayed stoned, he would have spared the world his boobariffic tenure?

  40. Could be a precursor to upcoming Yankee oppression: should be fun watching the fur fly if Hillary is elected and Dems try to shut down Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

    Anyways, the Brits need to stop government funding of the media rather than plotting how best to truncheon it into compliance. The BBC’s own board of governors has found its conduct reprehensible.

    Mr. Blair, tear down this broadcasting corporation!

  41. Anyone else think he looks stoned in that picture?

    Bingo!

  42. “As the technology blurs the distinction between papers and television, it becomes increasingly irrational to have different systems of accountability based on technology that no longer can be differentiated in the old way.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with this quote. It does not make any sense these days for tv to be more regulated than newspapers, I look forward to the day when tv is able exercise the same freedom of opinion as newsp…

    What? Blair wants it that newspapers should be regulated like television? Nevermind, screw that twit.

  43. “””TrickyVic,
    You mean because if he would have stayed stoned, he would have spared the world his boobariffic tenure?”””

    Uh, What?

    All I’m saying is that photo could be proof the pot was just as good then as now.

  44. “Hell, his eyeballs are pointing in different directions!”

    I think you’re right. …but it’s not the eyeballs, it’s just the sockets.

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