Anorak News | Tony Blair On The Independent And Views As News

Tony Blair On The Independent And Views As News

by | 13th, June 2007

tony-cherie-anorak.jpgIF there is one thing a newspaper loves more than a campaign it is talking about itself. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or)

And today the Independent excels even itself with a lead news story all about the, er, Independent.

This news is rooted in words uttered by Tony Blair. The paper delivers them in full:

Opinion and fact should be clearly divisible. The truth is, a large part of the media today not merely elides the two but does so now as a matter of course. In other words, this is not exceptional. It is routine. The metaphor for this genre of modern journalism is The Independent newspaper. Let me state at the outset it is a well-edited, lively paper and is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, how it wants, on the Middle East or anything else. But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views, not news. That was why it was called The Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper, not merely a newspaper. The final consequence of all this is that it is rare today to find balance in the media.

A viewspaper, not a newspaper. You can image the Indy paying a lot of money for a slogan like that.

But it didn’t. And the paper’s editor, Simon Kelner, is upset. In a piece entitled “Would you be saying this, Mr Blair, is we supported your war in Iraq,” Kelner replies to the Prime Minister.

He begins by correcting Tony as to the Indy’s reasons for being:

“We would point out that this newspaper was not established as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views, but as an antidote to proprietorial influence and narrow political allegiance.”

The Indy is abroad brush, the paper that weights the debate from all sides and then backs the LibDems at election time. No proprietor dictating the news agenda, rather an editor positioning his leader as front-page news. Very innovative.

Says Kelner:

“What if we had backed the invasion of Iraq (like, for example, we supported the interventions in Kosovo and Sierra Leone)? Would he then be attacking our style of journalism? Of course not. We are unapologetic about our opposition to Iraq, the biggest foreign policy folly of our age, and we shall continue to hold him and his government to account.”

So Tony Blair only attacks they who disagree with him? Well, it is hard to find fault with those who wholeheartedly agree, although they can be too sycophantic.

That’s the debate. So what of the future? Says Kelner:

“Of course, news is still the backbone of our offering, but we feel our readers today want more: a diverse range of commentary, colourful debate, provocative front pages and, yes, the views behind the news. It is difficult to imagine what kind of newspaper Mr Blair envisages in his platonic heaven, but it’s probably safe to say that this isn’t it.”

What Mr Blair envisages is a newspaper that shows and does not tell, an organ of record. Not the Independent, which with its views as news, a paper that sounds not unlike a website.

Yes, the web. It’s the future. You heard it here first. And on it Mr Kelner, Tony Blair and everyone can have their own publication, their own version of what is and what is not news. It’s front-page news on Anorak…

Posted: 13th, June 2007 | In: Uncategorized Comments (4) | TrackBack | Permalink