Comes to you from Daniel Hannan
A blog has just done something that I thought no one could do: elicited an apology (or as close as we’ll ever get to an apology) from Gordon Brown. Indeed, according to The Guardian, the McBride-Draper scandal might cost Labour the next election. If so, Guido Fawkes would have succeeded where his baleful namesake failed 404 years ago: he would have brought down a government. Even if you think the Guardian story is a bit de trop, the idea that one man with a laptop could do so much damage would, until very recently, have seemed risible.
Yet, even now, a number of print and broadcast journalists dismiss, disdain and depreciate internet-based news. Read the Guardian’s own Michael White responding to the way my attack on Gordon Brown spread online. Read Peter Wilby’s reedy complaint that the internet “lacks quality control”. It is difficult not to sympathise with journalists of their generation. They can see local newspapers dropping all around them, and know that some nationals will soon follow. Every newsdesk is shedding staff, and journalists’ are having to work longer hours for lower salaries. The Whites and Wilbies perceive, even if they do not properly understand, that amateurs are driving out professionals. It makes them frightened and bilious.
What irks them most of all is that bloggers refuse to apply Leftist filters. Until very recently, few people could watch a politician’s speech or read his statement in full. They relied, instead, on the Whites and Wilbies to select, précis and interpret stories for them. Now, the masses can make up their own minds without bien-pensant intellectuals telling them what to think. Good news for libertarians, bad news for Lefties.
Today’s newspapers generally cover l’affaire McBride-Draper in one of two ways. Some of them helpfully explain to their readers what these blog thinggies are – which is funny when we consider how many more people now get their news online than from dead trees. Several reporters evidently still struggle to grasp the extent of the differential. An analysis piece in the Guardian speaks of the “big three” Right-of-Centre blogs, ConservativeHome, Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale, as having 100,000 hits a month. Er, guys: this blog – not one of the big three – got 393,413 hits last week. That’s more than the circulation of the Guardian. Of course, the Guardian is a daily newspaper – I am among its appreciative readers – so it’s not an exact parallel. A fairer comparison would be with the main hebdomadal Left-of-Centre publication, Peter Wilby’s New Statesman. The NS is currently selling around 26,000 copies. In other words, more than seven times as many people read my blog as read the Staggers. The “big three” blogs are considerably larger. Even if you count unique users rather than page impressions, all three are massively over 100,000 a month.
Which brings us to the second-line defence trotted out by some MSM journalists: that they are more accurate than bloggers. Really? When you strip it down, the only difference between a blog and a traditional news-source is that the blog is disintermediated: no editor stands between writer and reader. So, do editors guarantee greater accuracy? Let me refer you to the profile of me which appeared in Saturday’s Independent (circulation 240,000). As well as inventing a totally untrue story, it attributed a false quotation to me, referring to me as “a self-styled ‘Tory maverick'” (its quotation marks). I asked the author of the piece when I had so styled myself: I made the transition from Tory to Whig many years ago and, while there is no dishonour in being a maverick, it would be an unusually cocky thing to go around calling yourself a maverick. The writer, Andy McSmith, apologetically explained that he hadn’t said any such thing: it had all been inserted behind his back after he filed the piece. He added: “This sort of thing doesn’t often happen here. A combination of bank holiday and the fact that we have been shedding staff in the past month like we were some sort of toxic bank.”
Yup. That’s the thing about newspapers in decline: all sorts of things start slipping, including the accuracy of reports. Why, in the circs, should we take newspapers at their word, and assume that they are more accurate than blogs? The answer is that we don’t. The statistics speak for themselves. If there is anyone out there still insisting that traditional journalists are more reliable than bloggers, I have two words for you: Kevin Maguire.
I believe Moe Posted something on the the back ground story, Sorry I can’t find the link but I know I first read about it here at RedState. Basic background is that some high Labour Gov Offical got caught trying to smear the Conseravtives with some of his Blogging buds, anyway here is the explanation
Now while I’m at it just wanted to share this also
Thank you . . .
. . for contacting me regarding your opposition to universal health care coverage. I understand your concerns.
When it comes to health care, our families and businesses are in a serious crisis. High health care costs are causing cuts in benefits and increases in premiums, adding to the ranks of the uninsured at alarming rates. But the impact of this problem goes beyond individual families. Skyrocketing health care costs make our businesses less competitive in the global marketplace and cost us good-paying jobs. We are already paying for the uninsured through overuse of the emergency room-the most inefficient and expensive way of providing care.
I believe that health care is a right, not a privilege. There is no doubt that the problems we face are complex, but there are real solutions. We can create a system that is uniquely American and shares the cost between the government, businesses, and individuals in a way that is fair and equitable. Now is the time to show the political will to tackle these issues because there is so much at stake. I am committed to working with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee to find solutions to America’s health care crisis.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please don’t hesitate to do so again if my office can be of assistance to you or your family.
United States Senator
Bolding mine, now I have some serious problems with this heathcare is a right bs, one being very personal, my mother now being just one of those NHS waiting list statistic, but thats beside the piont. If health care is a right just like ,say Life, Liberty and the pursuit Happiness, why are there only ever problems with government(its a right and we should run it) health care and it’s need to ration said health care. As with everything I can think of health care and the need to advance care are best left to the free market, can you image if it was the US gov that was deciding if this or that drug was worth investing in given the time it takes to develop and the political views of the companies involved, just saying.
Agian I find that Daniel Hannan articulates why Government run Health Care is a Bad idea