Feel free to offer your uninformed opinion but please don’t call it responsible journalism

Today’s ruling by the Press Complaints Commission regarding the Jan Moir article in the Daily Mail about the death of Stephen Gately was of course an entirely predictable outcome.

There is a twisted irony when the PCC cites the human rights act defending the Mail’s right to free speech in order to defend a paper that all too often calls for the very same human rights act to be abolished because in their eyes it enables others that they disagree with the very same right to free speech. For me it leaves the same bitter taste in my mouth as when right wing shock-jock Jon Gaunt turned to Shami Chakrabarti to help defend his right to spout his own personal brand of on air bigotry once he’d lost his job for doing just that He himself had previously described Ms Chakrabarti as the ‘most dangerous woman in Britain’.

So yes those of us amongst the 25,000 complainants who were offended by the tone of Jan Moir’s bigoted article do have to  observe her right to free speech and seemingly her right to whip up homophobic sentiment via ignorance but we don’t have to any longer pretend that what she, the Daily Mail and much of what the old media machine are engaged in is actually journalism.

And yes it does undermine the cause of broad minded tolerance to call for Jan Moir’s head on a stick or make violent threats against her person, much as I understand where that frustrated reaction comes from. Protest eloquently by all means and argue rationally as to why her opinion was just plain wrong or indeed that it possibly incited hatred against a section of our society.

But don’t expect the media to be able to police itself or even restrain itself, let alone take any responsibility for the consequences of the misinformation and churnalism it now routinely spouts.

The old media is now dominated by opinion dressed up as news and as in this case worryingly uninformed opinion at that. I only wish it was clearly labelled as such. After all don’t people buy newspapers to be told the sort of things they already believe anyway? I have no problem with that. Just please don’t pretend it is in any way responsible journalism.

Photo by cosford under this creative commons license

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2 thoughts on “Feel free to offer your uninformed opinion but please don’t call it responsible journalism

  1. Comments are switched off on your most recent two posts. Did you mean to do that?

    I would be excited about the prospect of a change in leaders of either party if I felt a new leader would sing from a different song sheet. But no-one seems to have anything new to say.

    Wish my handwriting were as legible as that. I often consider putting up a small excerpt from my diary as a starter for a blogpost but it would be completely pointless as no-one but me would be able to read it!

  2. Ha- perhaps you have a doctors handwriting. You could then translate.My partner used to have a pen friend whose handwriting would take us ages to decipher. Yes, sorry I did deliberately disable comments.I kind of prefer to push comments off the blog sometimes. Other times I just don’t quite see the need for enabling comments if it’s like a scrapbook type post. I’m funny (peculiar) like that sometimes. Thanks for commenting though.

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