Thursday, October 14, 2010


Marr's Absurd Attack on Bloggers Does him no Credit

I have always been a big fan of Andrew Marr, as a jhournalist, author and the best BBC political editor who has ever held the post. But his intemperate attack onbloggers does him no credit at all. Whilst allowing, in a speech on new technology to the Cheltenham Literary Festival, that it can be 'fantastic at times', he indluges in what can only be described as a bilious attack when he said:

"A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting. They are very angry people.

"OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night."

I've been blogging for over five years now and I've never seen a fellow blogger who is bald with 'cauliflower ears' or who even who is unusually angry. My friend Chris also made the point that Andrew 'Jug Ears' Marr has no right to criticise people who are either bald or lumbered with unusually sculpted hearing equipment. Most bloggers are quite ordinary people who have decided to use technology to make their views known to a wider audience. Iain Dale is not a person with whom I agree politically but nobody could deny his blog is teriffic. Similarily the blog of Paul Linford is eminently readable and intelligent. I could go on but most people reading this will be aware Marr was spouting arrant nonsense and will be well aware of the blogs worth reading and which are serious contributions to discussion and debate.

Commenting is another matter. There are people who surf the blogospere seeking to pour a little bile and venom into other peoples' blogs. Every blogger knows them and they can seem angry and a bit hard to take. But if we engage in political debate, it seems to me we have to accept all comers and deal with them on their merits. Even a fiercely bigoted Tory often has relevant and powerful points to make.

Marr's argument that they will never replace newspapers and broadcast news might be more right- bloggers after all, can only comment and lack the means to report news. But if he reads the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast he cannot doubt online provision is beginning to rival mainstream news outlets. Marr should pipe down and desist from seeking cheap laughs at public events. A journalist of his experience and knowledge should know better.

Here Here. It seems like bloggers keep moving ahead, and are getting yet more confident while the main stream media are unsure how to move to catch up. In fact they can't.

They have lived in a world where they themselves were almost invisible, where the powerful decided what was and wasn't true, and as long as they behaved and didn't challenge what they were given, they were kept on as trusted courtiers with privileged access to big events.

Bloggers are on completely the opposite basis. They say what makes sense to them , or doesn't make sense, regardless of the wishes of the powerful. They have no desire to become courtiers or have privileged access.

The MSM does not want to acknowledge that audience feedback via blogs has cut away their privileged position. Yet that is what is happening.

Images such as that of Blair, once protected by every MSM courtier, who desired promotion, can now be smashed to pieces on Guido to the delight and cheers that once attended the dismembering of the French aristocracy. Untruth or corruptness, previously carefully defended, can now instantly send a political career reeling.

The MSM are left standing, clinging like limpets to the traditionally powerful, and yet unable to stop the power of exposure and open discussion in blogs. The power that Blair could exercise in 2003, sending the country to war against the opinion of his own party, public opinion and intelligence experts, was all based on the sycophancy of the MSM.

It is now dead, not because the MSM is not willing to continue with the corruption of their role as was at its highpoint under BLair in 2003, but because the instant feedback of the blogosphere now enables ordinary people to connect to the truth without even referring to the previous assumed cultural lines of authority, which were first elected representatives and second their media associates.

Once known as the fourth estate, they are becoming as moribund as the horse drawn plough once the diesel engine arrived in the countryside, or the cavalry after the invention of the tank and the machine gun. From being at the very pinnacle and assumed to carry the authority of respected government, overnight they have literally nowhere to go, except down.

They are as despised as the elected representatives whose bidding they have done, all the while that our country has wrecked itself in useless unjustifiable unwinnable wars, and our economy is wrecked with massive unjustifiable debts, to which they didn't even say boo.

Blogs give people hope and carry the authority that once pertained to such institutions as The Times of The Telegraph. The change has been so fast that few have taken on board what is happening.

Blogs are trusted. Newspapers and TV are not. Simples !
I was going to write about this too skipper. Some journalists are a bit full of themselves. There is a great citizen journalist in Cambridge called Richard Taylor who attends many meetings which the local press does not and is doing a fantastic job:
Given the average age of the audiences at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, most of them wouldn't have had a clue what a blog is. I go to some of the events partly to make myself feel young again! Alexi Sayle was on v good form on Tuesday...

I suspect Marr's real target are many of the people who leave comments on newspaper sites and on blogs. There is a point to be made about the dangers to society from the way t'Internet has liberated anonymous souls to be crazily angry and rude.

But "the West Wing writer and creator Aaron Sorkin, whose new film The Social Network is about Facebook," made it rather better on Radio Three on Wednesday evening than Marr seems to have done...
My take on this issue is that Marr was putting in something of a pre-emptive strike - because last week the story of his love-child producing dalliance with Alice Miles surfaced in the press again.

I had the impression that he would fear bloggers such as Guido would have no hesitation in breaching the gagging order Marr has somehow obtained.
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