The Media and the charitable impulse

Franks, Suzanne (2007) The Media and the charitable impulse. Political Quarterly, 78 (4). pp. 492-494. ISSN 0032-3179 . (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

Tony Blair's speech challenged the media over its standards in his valedictory lecture. Many of his charges about the absence of balance, attacks on motive and a pack mentality stand up, even if some are exaggerated and also applied well before his arrival in 10 Downing Street. Mr Blair's solutions did ot match his critique. What is required is a more self-questioning media, being held to account on the internet and on specialist blogging sites. Vigorous criticism, requiring justification, is a more credible rout than tighter regulation. Tony Blair's speech on the changing pressures on the media is both interesting and convincing in its diagnosis (although generally reported in ways that did not reveal this). It is less convincing in suggestions for change: the fact that on-line media will fall under Of-com, and so under its minimal 'content regulation' will have little impact. Effective change could begin with other types of (self or other regulation). Some steps towards change might include minimal requirements for journalists and editors to accept elementary forms of accountability, such as disclosing conflicts of interest and payments made for 'stories'. The scale of media coverage may be crucial in determining the allocation of aid, yet the attention the media pays to particular causes is arbitrary. Many serious disasters are not reported and as a consequence do not receive adequate aid, so that the victims of the crisis will lose out. Chronic long term problems, like famine, are ignored in favour of 'sudden emergencies'. Reporting seeks sensation and simple stories which influences the way that aid agencies respond to the media. The complex background to a faraway disaster is often overlooked and not properly reported. Tony Blair's speech describing some of the news media as 'feral beasts' contained one paragraph which contained an insight into his views on new media. It was known that the outgoing Prime Minister was uncomfortable with some aspects of new technology but his remarks reveal a wider disappointment with how new media has failed to deliver changes which he had hoped for in political communications.This paper records Mr Blair's problems with new media and argues that by focusing on how the new technologies might provide a better way for politicians to by-pass the traditional media he has missed the point of their wider benefits.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Part of a section entitled - Tony Blair's 'Media' Speech: The Commentators
Uncontrolled keywords: Blair, Campbell, feral, blogging, opinion poll, comment, Media, Aid, Disaster, Africa, reporting, NGO, Blair, Feral, Political, Communications, Websites, Internet
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Suzie Westhead
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2009 13:32
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2009 13:32
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/14886 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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