An alert to this from Tim Blair who is now back and posting. It’s about whether we want a free (market) press or one overshadowed by a publicly funded media organisation who, not surprisingly, are muchly in favour of public funding for everything, including themselves. The article Tim has linked to is from The Telegraph in England and titled, “The BBC foists on us a skewed version of reality“. I’m not all that sure that even a press dependent on the market will be much an improvement given what we see in the United States but we can but try. From Janet Daley (the perfect name for someone commenting on the press), we find this observation amongst many others in an article worth reading in full:
Under the most serious peace-time threat to open and uncensored expression in centuries, the news media are plunged into a bloody bout of gratuitous self-harm. But what they are actually engaged in is a political argument about whether the purpose of journalism is to report the world as it is and to reflect the perceptions of people as they are – even if the results are sometimes ugly or unfair – or to purvey an idealised view of what life might be like if everyone felt and behaved differently.
You see, the ABC like the BBC is out to save us from ourselves and from the opinions we find in the media which provide discussions of the kinds of things most people agree with and are prepared to pay money to read.
So this is where the bigger question comes in: what is the dissemination of news for? For the BBC – by which I mean, for those who decide these things at the corporation – there is little doubt that the function of news broadcasting is to enlighten the public. I use that word advisedly, in its specialised sense, meaning not simply to inform but to ‘free from prejudice and superstition’.
BBC news output is specifically designed to counter what it sees as ignorance and popular prejudices. Its coverage of issues in which it believes such prejudices to be rife – immigration, for example – is intended to be instructional and, specifically corrective of what its managers think of, and describe openly in conversation, as the influence of the ‘Right-wing press’. . . .
The BBC approach to news is aimed precisely at those people who read the papers that are hated by its staff. It is intended to offer an alternative vision of reality in which immigration is not a threat to anyone, patriotism is a joke, religious belief (as opposed to ethnic identity) is not taken seriously, conflicting cultural values never create social problems and government spending is inherently virtuous.
At the ABC and not just there, the news is manipulated not by a sense of what’s newsworthy and important but by what those who edit believe will mould our opinions in the direction they would like them to be. If you are happy with the ABC wishlist view of the world shaping the kind of news you read, let us continue as we are. But if not, then an ABC 100% self-funded ought now to be high on the government agenda.