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Archive for June 14th, 2007

Tony Blair whacks the press; the press whacks back: Chill, dudes

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In a reversal of the old adage “dance with the one who brought ya,” outgoing British prime minister Tony Blair is taking shots at the press, calling it “a feral beast” — despite admitting that his government paid “inordinate attention” to “courting, assuaging and persuading the media.”

The title of his speech: “Reflections on the Future of Democracy and the Media, or Why Don’t You Love Me?” (emphasis added; see full transcript)

A pack mentality less concerned with accuracy than impact has led to “the confusion of news and commentary,” says Mr. Blair:

The fear of missing out means today’s media, more than ever before, hunts in a pack. In these modes it is like a feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits. But no one dares miss out … (T)he media are facing a hugely more intense form of competition than anything they have ever experienced before. They are not the masters of this change but its victims.

The result is a media that increasingly and to a dangerous degree is driven by ‘impact.’ Impact is what matters. It is all that can distinguish, can rise above the clamor, can get noticed. Impact gives competitive edge. Of course, the accuracy of a story counts. But it is secondary to impact.

Whoa. Talk about a hissy fit. What did he expect after backing President Bush’s ill-advised, cavalier misadventures in the Middle East? That’s the principal theme of some critics who responded with hissy fits of their own. Once the critics cool off, they’ll see some of Mr. Blair’s insights into the press are worthy of sober reflection.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 14, 2007 at 4:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized