Turning Guido Fawkes onto himself
July 12, 2009 5 Comments
There was recently something raised by Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines) that I couldn’t help but agree with entirely (a very rare thing indeed); that being the inability of the journalist to really dig deep on certain politicians due to a strange debt that journo’s have towards those who may well soon get into power.
Guido highlighted this in a debate he had with the Guardian‘s Michael White, and the BBC‘s Nick Robinson, also not happy with the short amount of time was given to deliver his main points at the event, he addressed them on CiF.
The quote that I agreed with the most was his attack on White;
” … why do you think the influence of blogs has grown? It is because the likes of Michael White have failed to keep sufficient checks on politicians and to hold MPs to account.”
Now I wouldn’t have picked out White myself, but given the context I understand the plea. But more generally, there is a strong element of truth concerning what the press can feel unthreatened about releasing, and this sentiment couldn’t have worried me any more than it did when reading Andrew Rawnsley’s bit in the Observer today, when he noted;
“There has been a reluctance among some of the press to really go for the Tories over the phone-hacking scandal, partly because many other newspapers are implicated in the practice as well, and partly for fear of crossing Mr Coulson, who will be a powerful figure at Number 10, with a lot of control over access to stories.”
Now of course such reluctance should not be applied to bloggers, who are free of the constraints that newspaper journalists may have, and what with the very many inside tell-tales that Guido knows well, the control over access to stories should not be a concern at all.
However, those avid readers of Bob Piper’s blog might see the twist in this tale: that Guido fell foul of his own view that the blogosphere can conquer the newspaper hack taken party political hostage. He was one of the bloggers that pretended not to have anything to do with Andy Coulson and was quick here and here to spin weak claims that Coulson was not implicated in the NotW crimes, before the even weaker attempt to seem non-partisan.
Later on in Guido’s article on CiF he mentions;
“The years of Labour lies and spin, personified in the power that Damian McBride wielded over a compliant press lobby – now that was corrupting our democracy, the off-the-record smearing, and it was smearing, not briefing, that went on – was out of hand.”
In light of Coulsongate – and now separate from Guido and his hypocrisy – bloggers should once again assume some of the freedom from the shortfalls of lobby journalism in criticising the Tories, which may well slope as a consequence to their dominance in the opinion polls. Such unwritten – but yet wholly acknowledged – blackmail should not deter the power of the internet.