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13 July 2004

Greasing up to power

George Monbiot's latest. He is always eloquently stating the incredibly obvious, and then you wonder why he is almost the only one:
"So why does this happen? Why do broadcasters (and newspapers) which have a reputation for balance, impartiality and even liberal bias side with the powerful? There appear to be several reasons.
"One of them is that they assume – rightly or wrongly – that the audience doesn’t want complexity. One BBC journalist told the Glasgow team that he had been instructed not to provide 'explainers': what the editors wanted was 'all bang bang stuff'."
. . .
"Another is that, as in all professions, you are rewarded for greasing up to power. The people who are favoured with special information are those who have ingratiated themselves with the government. This leads to the paradoxical result that some of our most famous and successful journalists are also the profession’s most credulous sycophants.
"While you are rewarded for flattery, you are punished for courage. The US, British and Israeli governments can make life very difficult for media organisations which upset them, as the BBC found during the Gilligan affair. The Palestinians and the people of Iraq have much less lobbying power."

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