Not quite. The papers try to get their readers to vote how their owners wants them to vote. The Telegraph, for instance, is owned by the Barclay brothers who have been backing UKIP but may return to the Conservative fold. The Sun and the Times are owned by Murdoch and all the major parties try to court him. And the most significant part of the press, the BBC, is largely anti-Tory, but not necessarily pro-Labour. See here:
Surely the function of newspapers was to sell newspapers and return a profit.
If they were simply mouthpieces for self interested media moguls, who would be interested in buying them?
They certainly have a political bias and they select stories that will appeal to their readership. But they are wary of offending their readership and sometimes they get it very wrong. The Sun coverage of Hillsborough was a case in point.
There an awful lot of newspapers in the UK, the British are great newsmongers. You pick the one that seems to annoy you the least.
Sometimes they are surprising, the Telegraph has a great Tory following, but it did not stop them from gleefully revealing the indiscretions of a lot of Conservative MPs during the MP expenses claim scandal.
UK politicians employ ex editors of newspapers as their ‘media handlers’ through which they tried to control the stories in the press. It is rather satisfying to see this blow up in Camerons face with his man Coulson being jailed for phone hacking.
The Saville story will run and run and seems to be leading to another scandal involving Westminster politicians. The problem that will face is that some of the people involved are probably still alive and may yet have influence to supress the facts from being made public.
I daresay they will do anything they can to keep that one out of the press.
In the past they had a lot of power to do this. These days the Internet seems to be undermining that power.
The UK has yet to agree on a formula that guarantees press freedom from political control, but also stops them from going out of control and themselves becoming a problem as we saw in the hacking scandal.
It is all very well dismissing all these institutions as corrupt and having failed and these scandals are evidence of this. But we still need them to work. They need to be fixed. Institutions, when they work well, can be very efficient and a very important element of a civic society.
As for Benny Hill, he is mainly legend to the British, TV stopped broadcasting him for the last two decades ( because of protests from liberal comics that he was funny ) whilst America continued him in syndication: so we are not so familiar with the body of his art.
I recently saw some, and I would rate it as remarkably tepid, like most British comedy pre-1980. I’ve heard far more explicit material on most modern American sitcoms, while girls’ dance routines are always just girls’ dance routines; anyone offended would be offended by any other burlesque.
The Press flaccidly tried to work up some stories after his death **‘Benny Hill Was A Pervert **!’ as in the present scandal, and as they mostly do with dead show-people; but it didn’t get very far since he was nearly as asexual and monastic as Kenneth Williams in private life. But at least they tried.
Murdoch always returns to the most right-wing option; after Major he saw that in Blair, and wasn’t far wrong: but throughout New Labour the Sun sniped relentlessly at the administration for being Labour. The Telegraph is more interesting in that they snipe at the Conservatives; but not for being Conservative. For not being simon-pure Thatcherite enough, and for the MPs’ Expenses criminal conspiracy, which they initiated. However UKIP is more right-wing — socially ----than the present administration and would not be worse running the finances than either of the two main parties, although probably a lot more corrupt personally, and it appeals to our deep loathing of foreigners; but the Telegraph will obey Central Office come the election.
As for the Express, which is definitely the worst newspaper in Britain, Thatcherite beliefs reign as they did before: I recently saw a headline which gave the instant impression that benefits claimants get £78,000 a year. Hint: they don’t.
As for the BBC, it is actually quite even-handed, but timid in challenging authority and the Establishment of which it is part — it is just primarily a propaganda machine for the British State — and ever since Birt took over has been sedulous in keeping it’s head down, serving whoever is the elected party. Which fostered that culture of cowardice suggested in the present situation. I’m pretty sure I would tell the police if I knew sexual abuse of children was happening, no matter how lowly ( as it would be ) my position: Establishment types tend to freeze ( not from immoral tendencies ).
Sir Antony ( I looked him up ) is 84. That was a very different BBC; after '45 it was practically Stalinist Pro-Soviet, then it mutated into stodgy liberalism, then into the phase when Denis Thatcher would denounce it as pinko, but was simply not worshipful enough of his kind. Now it is just a frightened little animal, unable to think clearly, but willing to cling to whomever will succour it — which will never be the Conservatives. — and we should feel sorry for it.
As for Mr. Webb, I quite agree; I don’t give America any moral weight either. This is not a political position — I don’t agree with it’s premises.
What do either of those quotations have to do with the Tories or Labour?
And more recently, the BBC has been accused of a pro-establishment, right-wing bias, including a pro-Tory bias.
One thing that strikes me regarding press coverage over Rolf Harris.
I knew he was being investigated of course, but the reports were always of Rolf Harris investigated for sexual assault. Charged with sexual assault. Jailed for sexual assault. Sexual assault is of course a heinous crime but the reporting gave me the impression that it was all relating to sexual assault of young girls around the ages of 16+. Groupies if you will.
But it wasn’t just girls of that age, there were also girls as young as seven and nine! He was a peadophile! So why did none of the reporting baldly state the word peadophile, they screamed it from the rooftops when Gary Glitter was arrested so why not here and now?
Why even now are the likes of Rolf Harris being tiptoed around by the press?
No offence, but if you believe the reporting of the sexual offences of Rolf Harris have been reporting the victims as 16+ in age then you have not been reading or watch the reports. The age range was invariably reported as around 13 years of age. The vctiim of 8yrs old was a surprise to me. Then again that age range seems to have been not the norm for him, at least in regards to these charges.
Coincidentally the 13 year old age bracket is the same age as Roman Polanski’s dirty little underage encounter(with added alcohol, drugs and sodomy). Even a year or so ago Polanski was receiving plenty of moral support from allsorts of people in the US and on the Continent when the case once again raised headlines.
[QUOTE=Coincidentally the 13 year old age bracket is the same age as Roman Polanski’s dirty little underage encounter(with added alcohol, drugs and sodomy). Even a year or so ago Polanski was receiving plenty of moral support from allsorts of people in the US and on the Continent when the case once again raised headlines.[/QUOTE]
The Polanski case was rather a different kettle of fish.
Full of politically ambitious judges and the curious practice of plea bargaining that is prevalent in US courts. The general idea is they accuse you of the most heinous crimes, for which they have no hope of a successful prosecution, but agree to drop them all if you plead guilty to a lesser offence.
Naturally the press tend to report the heinous crimes as if they were fact, not the actually conviction, they were speculative allegations, the evidence for which was never tested in a court. Hollywood scandals are interesting, but they don’t bear much relation. I don’t think anyone is questioning the judicial process into the Savile or Harris case.
To be honest I dont know enough of the judicial process in the States, but I can understand that the process against Polanski was flawed. When I say moral support I mean the moral support he received in recent times such as Whoopi Goldberg’s comment on his crime not being “rape, rape” etc. If such moral support limited itself to condemning the judicial process then fair enough, however much of it seemed to be minimizing the sexual act itself. The mother as gold digger defence was trotted out and so on. Believe me, if the UK can cover up and minimize sexual assaults on children then so can the US. Heck, Demi Moore was publically flirting with a sexual assault suit herself.
What seems to be happening in the UK is that cases which were once thought to be unviable by themselves are now being gathered together and subject to a wider investigation. The publicity they generate then attracts new evidence from other victims who get the courage to report crimes against them.
In the Saville case this snowball effect has gone a long way. I suspect this is large part because he is dead and cannot mount a defence. Rolf Harris and Max Clifford did hire lawyers to put their case and challenge witnesses but evidence was strong enough to convict them. This was not the case with the DJ Dave Lee Travis who was found not-guilty of twelve charges of indecent assault.
These are the results of the Operation Yewtree investigation.
Note that those like Ken Loach of Coronation St who were acquited have complained that Operation Yewtree had created an atmosphere in which allegations of sexual abuse against celebrities were more likely to taken to prosecution.
In a culture were we are daily assailed by adverts by ‘claim compensation companies’ offering to represent anyone who thinks they were injured by anyone we might suspect the motives of some of the complainants.
TV shows like ‘Top of the Pops’ regularly bused in teenagers for their shows. Some were invited to parties afterwards. This was a culture where celebrity DJ personalities commanded a huge audience and they were indulged as highly rated ‘talent’ by the BBC.
This sort of sleeze is common in the music world. Indeed in lots of areas where charismatic individuals with a high profile dominate a public platform. They get ‘offers’ and they tend to see it as one of the perks of the job. Sometimes it gets out into the open. It happened to Bill Clinton, it happened to Julian Assange. There are probably countless examples of performers attracting groupies.
If girls over the age of consent want to fool around with celebrities who they find glamourous. That is not a crime.
The dividing line is clearly where they are underage and they do not consent and where the ‘talent’ starts abusing his ‘fans’.
In the Saville case, he was clearly an opportunistic abuser who did not confine his activities to the dressing room, but extended them into hospitals and abused staff and patients. That takes us into the world on institutional integrity and conspiracies by groups of abusers to take advantage of the vulnerable. Savile undoubtedly had fellow travelers in high places and he had enough information on them to ruin a lot of careers. That is a much more serious matter and this is where I think the Savile case will lead.
However, all those public school boys in the Westminster village are no doubt trying to keep the skeletons securely locked in the cupboards. There is a lot yet to come out. We could see some rather more than these few ‘celebrity’ sex pests held to account for their indiscretions with fans. Powerful men in public office exploiting the the vulnerable, supposedly in the care of institutions. Sadly I suspect that the characters involved are quite capable of ‘nobbling’ investigations and inquiries, because that is a key political skill in the UK.
Top research there fella.
Well, it was worth a few chuckles.
Not at the last election, they didn’t.
I used the future tense; it seems unlikely that anyone mildly radical will be rooting for the Liberal-Democrats in the future.
Go back to your constituencies and prepare for ignoral !
Does this quote from Yes, Prime Minister still apply?
Who does root for them? I can never figure out whether the LibDems are LW or RW.
BTW, are there any public figures in Britain who are suspected of sex crimes, etc., but not yet definitely exposed?
There’s the Independent, now, which probably deserves to be included on a list of that nature. Take what you will about its leanings from the fact they elected to call it that. Other than that, the list is still pretty satirically applicable, except the Morning Star maybe, which is a result more of international relations.
Though with some of these cases its impossible to tell what is truth and what is scurrilous nonsense.
edit: a link to the Yes, Prime Minister scene:
Flawed? He raped a thirteen year old girl. What if was your daughter? Would you be complaining about the judicial process?
Look it up, the extremely serious charges were dropped. He was never convicted of rape. The Polanski case has been the subject of documentaries and movies and I am sure has been debated at length on this site. There are big question marks over the behaviour of all of the parties involved including the judge.
These court cases in the UK are much more clearer, there have been convictions and acquittals, where the offender is still alive.
However…what happens when a prolific offender is dead, as is the case of Savile?
While he cannot be brought to justice, there are a lot of questions to asked of the people who must have known what was happening and didn’t do anything to stop it. People complained to their superiors, there were police reports. There may be a case for neglect of corporate responsibility.
However that may be very difficult to prove and the report ‘Giving victims a voice’ at least makes clear what crimes had taken place.
It is usually after a report like this, the big institutions involved make changes to the way they operate, so that complaints are listened to and victims heard. However, any changes also have to to take account the possibility of false accusations. Obviously in past decades, the balance was very much in favour of anyone with influence in an institution and it protected them by default at the expense of victims.
There are no simple answers to issues like this.