Monday 17 June 2024

"Relations between journalist media and government should always be bad and never on any account should be allowed to get better."

What is the ideal relationship between government and media? Editor, interviewer and media owner Andrew Neil tells the UK Parliamentary Inquiry that "Relations between journalist media and government should always be bad and never on any account should be allowed to get better." How should government help struggling media organisations? "You should stay the hell out," he tells them.
Q: Looking forward over the next few years, how interventionist do you think government should be in supporting the news sector, if at all, and what do you think would constitute government overreach?

Andrew Neil: You should stay the hell out of it. You do not know anything about it. You are only trouble. We are not on your side; you are not on our side. We are different. Relations between journalist media and government should always be bad and never on any account should be allowed to get better. I do not want any of your help. I have rebuilt the Spectator without any help from anybody here or any Government or any tax incentives or any intervention. You cannot even keep the streets safe at night. The Scottish Government cannot build two bog-standard ferries. This Parliament cannot build a single high-speed line, so stay out of news. You are just trouble. We do not want any help. I just do not want you to interfere. I do not want your tax subsidies; I do not want your help. I want you just to concentrate. I am a Jeffersonian. The Government should concentrate on doing what only government can do and do it well. We have government that concentrates on doing far too much, all of which it does badly. Please. We have gone through a major industrial upheaval, a major technological revolution, and we have come through the other side. We have lost people by the wayside. At times it has seemed like the Bataan Death March, but we have come through and we now know what we are doing and we just want to be allowed to get on with it. ...

Q: Should there be any support, public sector support, for local journalism, for local news?]

Andrew Neil: ... I would not overdo how great local news was. ... All these local newspapers depended on local government for advertising. They were not fearless seekers of truth, uncovering local government corruption and wrongdoing. That was done by the national papers which were not beholden to them, so I would not romanticise that. I think there are alternative forms growing up. Quite a lot of concerned citizens now produce blogs that are excellent commentaries and insights into what is happening in local government and they have big followings. Almost a kind of citizen journalism is the way for local journalism to go. I am more worried about regional newspapers ... I think that is a bigger problem but how you resolve that I have no idea. Sometimes things just change and you cannot replicate what happened before. The idea that government should subsidise local journalism fills me with horror because he who pays the piper in the end always calls the tune.
A Halfling has commentary and a lengthier excerpt.

1 comment:

Chris Morris said...

Andrew's description of the governments of Scotland and UK could also apply to NZ, Australia (Snowy 2.0), the US - basically the whole western world. It is also down at local government level With that spread of incompetence, is it the concept of big government, the actual people who become politicianss, or the bureaucracy that is the problem?
With regards the politicians, very few nowadays come from a successful career. Most seem to be professional politicians - university with arts type degree, working in MPs office or local government, then into elections. Maybe that is the fault.
Until that changes, we are unlikely to get any better decisionmaking.