Who Are The Enemies Of The People?
The nation’s media is in trouble again. It started with a small story.
In the Sunday Times, critic Camilla Long horrified many with her condescending review of Ken Loach’s well-meaning polemic ‘I, Daniel Blake’. In doing so, she revealed the widening gap between the press and the public.
Last year Kate Winslet and Judy Davis starred in ‘The Dressmaker’, a sort of revenge western with sewing machines. To the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, a critic with narrow tastes and a slavish addiction to fashionable auteurs, it was a red rag; his innate good taste was trampled, so he helped to kill it.
The problem is that critics like Long and Bradshaw are strait-laced snobs. (Recently they voted David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Drive’ the No.1 film of the 21st century.) There’s no-one as censorious as a good liberal.
But on the right wing things are now far worse.
The headlines of the tabloids concerning the ruling of the independent judiciary over Brexit this week were appalling. When high court judges operating within a democracy are labelled with ‘Came out as gay’ and ‘friend of Tony Blair’ as pejoratives, something is very wrong with the national press.
Former ministers have warned that the febrile tone of media coverage, which included the judges who ruled against the government being condemned by the Daily Mail, is poisoning public debate.
People who still read newspapers are always shocked when I tell them about some of the simple tricks used by copy editors – that’s when I realise that general readers have no idea how journalists’ editorial meetings work. Anyone who has worked for a national newspaper can tell you in advance what goes in on which day, and why.
One thing is obvious. It’s the press that’s out of touch and who are acting as enemies of the people. And the only way we can limit their power is buy not handing over money to them.