So, we get a barnstorming column from Jackie Ashley (Mrs. Andrew Marr) about how appallingly the Pentagon manipulated the press over the Iraq war.
If business correspondents want star access, they have to mind their language and treat the City barons with deference and respect. They, not the military or the Ministry of Defence, are the power that our democracy never really talks about.
Possibly, I\’d not argue that the quality of business journalism is perfect, that it could not be improved.
But the real joy is that the G\’s subs have noted the, umm, incongruity, of the argument she uses. The headline:
Beware cosy deals between politicians and their pundits
Well, yes indeed, Jackie, Andrew, Polly and all the rest do indeed need to mind their language and treat politicians with deference and respect for:
So what are the darker messages for us from this American scandal? I was struck by the way in which the deal between the analysts, the TV bosses, the Pentagon and – behind them all – the military contractors, never needed to be explicit. The Pentagon didn\’t need to offer cash, or lean on anyone. The TV networks did not ask too much about their experts\’ sources of information, or their outside interests. It was all nods and winks. Does this begin to sound familiar? It wasn\’t cash for peerages. It was propaganda for access. But isn\’t the underlying structure – you do me a favour, I\’ll see you right, while neither of us says a word – just the same?
The biter bit I think, no?
Of course, it is obligatory to end such a discussion of morals in the British press with the following quote:
"You cannot hope to bribe or twist thank God! The British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there\’s no occasion to." – Humbert Wolfe