Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Greatest Story Never Told

So now we know: Ginger McBlackout is a turps nudger. Now that the enemy has surrendered, the MSM have decided to declare war. OK, so you can’t say there was a complete news blackout over Kennedy’s liver lubeing, but there was certainly nothing that would lead the non-blog reading, non-political obsessive to suspect that for the last few years – including an election campaign – one of the politicians professing to be a prime-minister-in-waiting has actually been a politician-in-wasted. Bottom line: if you were relying on the MSM for news, last week's events would have come as a shock.

Predictably, the only journo to take this charge head on is Nick Robinson. Apparently, he’s still too new in his job to have learned to treat complaints from the public with the BBC’s trademark mixture of lofty contempt and sneering abuse. Still, while max respect is due to him, his arguments simply don’t hang together.

We’re told that it wasn’t an issue because Kennedy was still able to perform his duties, but how exactly did the revelation that, say, Michael Portillo 'worked both sides of the House' affect his ability to perform his duties ? Back in the days of the Caligula administration, anyone getting their news from the MSM – and we all did back then – would’ve thought the name of John Major’s party was ‘Tory Sleaze’. Yes, ‘Back to Basics’ and all that, but you can’t tell me that wandering around blasted was exactly the centrepiece of the Lib Dems manifesto.

As for as the suggestion that the BBC refused to pursue tips about Kennedy’s drinking due to lack of independent evidence, I have only two words: Ark Royal. Britain’s flagship in the Iraq invasion famously turned off the BBC feed after the Beeb broadcast allegations that a collision between two of their choppers was caused by bad maintenance. Call it a wild guess, but I’m willing to bet that the BBC had more evidence of Kennedy’s drinking last summer than they had evidence of bad maintenance in the Royal Navy when they broadcast that report (during wartime and with the bodies barely cold).

Jounalists keep yapping about how they’re a profession, a calling, a guild, a... well, anything but prole scum like bloggers, but the quid pro quo for the special status of journalists is that the Fourth Estate is supposed to be the public’s watchdogs. The relationship between journalists and politicians is supposed to be analogous to that between the Flying Squad and bank robbers, but it appears to be more like that between Hello magazine and Posh’n’Becks (but without the tough questions). If nothing else, it is a revelation to hear that an organisation which gobbles up £3 billion p.a. of the public’s money is incapable of breaking stories absent either a full confession, or a guy turning up at the front desk with a proof for Kennedy’s new book “Breakfast: The Most Important Drink of the Day”.

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