I dunno if you’ve heard much of the BBC/Government row in the states. Brief history: BBC suggested govt lied over Iraq (commonly suspected at the time). Govt was up in arms, made all sorts of moves to denounce the BBC but none to demonstrate that it hadn’t lied. BBC fought. Govt is now widely accepted to have lied.
The key to media is that it should inform. When the govt spread its lies about the rediculous 45-minute claim, it was its own state media that pointed out the truth.
Please take a moment to be impressed at this example of a democratic free press, despite that nice Mr Blair’s best efforts.
Anyways. Pro-govt lies all begin with the govt. It is they who put them out there. Thing is, they spoon-feed them to the press. So it gets in the media. And it’s a lot of effort to go investigating into the real truth when you’ve been handed a story on a plate.
Also, most of the UK newspapers are a) biased in some direction and b) owned by someone with lots of money and influence. So a certain amount of bargaining/blackmail does go on in the press. After all, Blair can’t afford to be on the wrong side of Rupert Murdoch when he has the power to do a lot of political damage with his papers.
I have worked at a newspaper, and guess what? They’re just trying to sell newspapers. If the nation’s in a fury over Iraq’s weapons, assume they exist and print stories about them. If the nation’s furious about govt lies, then that’s what the stories will be about.
When I’m prime minister, we’ll have a totally transparent govt and it’ll all be cool.