Thursday, August 23, 2018

News review

Donald Trump frequently lambasts certain segments of the media, but, while he complains about "fake news", he is a prime beneficiary of declining standards within journalism. Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, has actually proposed doing something about a situation in which politicians and partisan news sources can insist on the existence of "alternative facts". In the Alternative MacTaggart lecture delivered at the Edinburgh TV Festival, the Labour leader echoed Trump in complaining about the "failing" news media, but then went on to suggest some measures that might redress the situation.

The value of independent investigative journalism (such as Carole Cadwalladr's Facebook/Cambridge Analytica expose) is, you would hope, self-evident, but it is under increasing threat due to the influence of the state and the interests of corporations and media barons. Whether or not Corbyn has an agenda in demanding reform, having been stung by the rabid coverage afforded to him by the right-wing papers, is irrelevant; an independent media with the funding and freedom to investigate issues that are in the public interest and then report on them, ensuring a well-informed electorate, is essential to a properly functioning democracy. Achieving such a state of affairs, however, is easier said than done and Corbyn's proposals will no doubt meet with a lot of resistance and scorn from those whose influence they would be intended to undermine or remove.

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