Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who wants to be a leading politician now that the media has become a rat pack?

I’m sorry that I missed Alastair Campbell giving “John Snow a right old ear bashing on Channel 4 news” last night (as reported by Elephunt on his splendid Impossible Promises site). Alastair is a fine man and a tribally loyal member of the Labour party. He also knows a thing or eight about the British media.

It is still trading on a reputation built up by some fine and brave investigative journalists in the 1960s. But such people are thin on the proverbial ground these days. Instead journalists are, in general, amongst the most bitter and twisted people on the planet.

No surprise, it must be a fairly awful way of life; competition for newsprint or airtime is intense and, except for the stars, wages are low and hours long.

So the desire for a ‘scoop’ is almost as large as it is for some (usually rightwing) bloggers. Dishing dirt on politicians or celebrities is considered an essential skill.

There’s nothing can be done about it but it means that anyone aspiring to high office must expect his every word and action to be analysed in minute detail and for his family’s life to be under 24/7 scrutiny.

No wonder so many potentially fine politicians seek instead the relative anonymity and higher material rewards to be found in boardrooms.......

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