The Return of the Public

Dan Hind on ‘serious’ news, from his excellent new book The Return of the Public:

When ‘serious’ coverage becomes more unreliable the more important the subject under investigation is, much of the population refuses to take it seriously enough to watch it or to read it. Some of them turn instead to entertainment, celebrity and crime. This is hardly surprising, although it does provoke agonized comment from politicians and journalists who worry about the low intellectual capacities of the masses. A refusal to sit still and be told tall stories thus becomes evidence for a mass flight from maturity into the fairytale world of celebrity and talent shows. But the resort to trivia makes perfect sense in an environment where the sources claiming to offer reliable information do nothing of the sort.

And on the media’s reporting of business influence in our lives:

In 2006 the Joseph Rountree Charitable Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust published a wide-ranging review of Britain’s political economy. After a long and exhaustive consultation process the report noted that the ‘research and evidence displays that many people feel business has too great an influence over government at the expense of the “ordinary” citizen’. … In media coverage of the report, which included extensive write-ups in the Independent and the Guardian and summaries of its findings in the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, the Observer, The Times, the Sunday Times and the Financial Times, the view that business had excessive political power did not feature.

You can read an interview with Dan Hind on the New Left Project website.

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