Thursday, 8 December 2011

Notes from today's Leveson inquiry

The bloody Guardian isn't covering today's hearings of the Leveson Inquiry. I tweeted one of the journalists to ask why, and he said 'resources'. It's a very lame excuse: the real reason is that today's the academics' turn. There's a list of very learned people there, thinkers who've devoted their lives to contemplating the intellectual, moral, political and commercial roles of the media. You'd think (or I would) that what they have to say might be of some interest to the public. But clearly intellectual grasp comes a very poor second to the outrage of victims and the fame of those who gave evidence on previous days. Sienna Miller (whose existence was explained to me a few days ago) clearly has much more insight than Brian Cathcart.

So I've had to go over to the bloody Torygraph for live coverage. Amongst the gems are these:
The Sun turned down the MP's expenses file - because Rebekah Brooks believed there was insufficient sexual misconduct evidenced therein
So much for the tabloids' 'public interest' defence. The Telegraph broke the law to buy that stolen information, and did the public a great service. The Sun refused the scoop of the decade because there weren't any tits in it. Other than the MPs, obviously.
The learned panel are criticising the Press Complaints Commission.Cathcart says it is a "confidence trick" by the industry. It has been describing itself as a regulator for twenty years, but it is not. Brock says it is a complaints mediation service, not a regulator. Barnett says there is no way of groups being represented - such as migrants.
We discussed this in class yesterday, inconclusively. Nobody trusts the papers to regulate themselves, nobody wants governments doing it (see Milton's Areopagitica for the reasons why). As to sanctions, I propose this: offending football teams are sometimes made to play matches without spectators. How about suspending publication of a paper for a day, two days, a week etc, depending on the level of the offence? The massive loss of revenue would certainly focus proprietors' minds.

15.05 Mac Síthigh says it's funny there's criticism of media studies as 'mickey mouse' degree. Now more than ever there's a need to explain power of the media. 

It's not all serious work here at Vole Towers though. Our piss-poor marketing department has sent us all a corporate e-card template with an editable section, the trusting, naive simpletons. Wittily doctored versions are being merrily exchanged. Here's one effort (with the name of this august institution removed):

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