Friday, June 06, 2008

What do we do?

If there is a "golden thread" running through this blog, it is our sustained attack on the European Union, highlighting its inadequacies, inefficiency and lack of democracy – a somewhat forlorn task some might think, when one looks at our own government and its inadequacies, inefficiency and lack of democracy …

From the early days, however, when we largely relied on republishing media copy, with or without editing, the tone of the blog changed. We became more discursive and analytical – and more selective. We decided, inter alia that we were not going down the route of becoming an all-embracing news service on matters EU. There are plenty of others who do that better and we saw no value in reinventing the wheel.

In fact, when a news event becomes high profile, we tend to opt out – looking for off-agenda items, rather than joining the mob.

However, as we developed, another thread emerged – the media itself, the MSM as we tend to call it. In dealing with EU issues through the blog, we became even more aware of how much the media distorted the agenda, in a number of different ways. The main way – as we have seen so often – is by omission. Either it does not report what are often important developments or, in the "elephant in the room syndrome", fails to note EU involvement in domestic issues where, so often, the EU is the driving force.

The other way – in many ways as important – is the tendency of the media to report on the EU through the prism of domestic politics, often downplaying EU involvement, or just reporting the domestic element, in a trivial or superficial manner. That then ties in with the chronic lack of accuracy and distortion, which again reduces the utility of the coverage. And, to all that, is the deliberate, pro-EU bias on the part of such organs as the BBC.

In short, when trying to address the EU issue, one finds that the media is part of the problem – something we were saying in October 2005 and have been saying so ever since, with increasing stridency.

But, if in pursuit of our own agenda, perforce, we have had to take on the media, it is as well to note – as if it needed saying – that the distortions and inadequate coverage of the EU is not confined to that issue. As we also took on defence as an issue, this too demonstrated the venal and inadequate nature of the MSM, so much so that many of my posts on Defence of the Realm have been dealing with the media handling of defence, rather than the issues themselves.

This spilled over into our main blog yesterday, with a full-frontal attack on the media, with our now customary swipe at The Daily Telegraph, which is back on the case today, with a remarkably ill-informed leader, spiced with factual errors.

We have done the issues raised by that leader to death, so there is no point rehearsing them yet again, but they are being discussed on our forum, where some interesting points are being made by our contributors.

Equally, there is no great point in repeating my laments about the venality of the media, which I have done so often before (a selection here, here, here and here) so, borrowing from media tactics, I thought it would be interesting to turn the problem round and ask you, our readers, for your views about how to deal with the media problem.

One gifted blogger has "never been someone who believes the blogosphere and the mainstream media should be at each other's throats," although he goes on to admit that he "would say that, wouldn't I, seeing as I earn my living from various MSM outlets nowadays."

What do you think and, more to the point, what do we do?


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