Little to say for myself

Monday, August 18, 2003

What's the Story? Morning Glory

For some months I've become less and less a fan of the Today programme on R4 - but I couldn't put my finger on why. Reading this article by Roy Hattersley has spelled it out to me. I know his view is hardly impartial, having been on the sticky end of more than a few confrontations with Humphrys, Naughtie and the like, but thanks all the same Roy.
A radio news show Today undoubtedly is. But it is a radio news show with an attitude. And, whatever the Hutton inquiry decides about the conduct of Andrew Gilligan, its defence correspondent, the report will at least expose the flaw in Today's technique. It is obsessed with making news, not reporting it.
Thanks to Gilligan's determination to cut a dash, national attention has been diverted from the main issue of the day. That is a remarkable achievement for a news programme. Britain ought to be arguing about whether or not the war in Iraq was justified. Instead, the country spends its time examining the contents of Gilligan's notebook, the state of Dr Kelly's mind and the management policies of the Ministry of Defence.
Sadly, as Roy goes on to point out, it's not the country that spends its time in this trivial examination, so much as the country's media. I suppose it's inevitable when a journalist's job involves the acquisition of information and its conversion into engaging stories, that he/she sees more merit in his/her task than in its end product. They should realise that the only people interested in who broke a story first, or who found the juiciest tidbit, are the people whose jobs depend on it being them. All we mere punters are interested in is that important facts be revealed so that we can judge who to recruit as our next representatives in parliament.

posted by Plig | 16:47 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun
Pablo Picasso

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others
Groucho Marx

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
Mahatma Gandhi

Always make new mistakes
Esther Dyson
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