Let’s just gloss over Tom Gordon’s obscenely distorted representation of the whole “Daisley gagging” affair that prompted a veritable torrent of self-righteous hysteria from the mainstream media. Suffice it to say that statements from STV management very effectively puncture the over-inflated balloon of pompous mendacity that characterised the media’s coverage of an incident which was never anything more than a minor internal disciplinary matter dealing with Daisley’s misconduct.
The casual dishonesty is no more than we have come to expect from the British media. We anticipate nothing better. It’s why the traditional media is so widely distrusted and journalists generally held in the kind of low public regard otherwise reserved for bankers and MPs. But there is an underlying issue here that we should be aware of.
We are entitled to ask if it is right and proper that journalists should be able to act with impunity. Because, make no mistake, that is what Tom Gordon and his ilk are angling for. The whole contrived furore surrounding the “Daisley gagging” story, including the opportunistic contributions from disreputable British politicians, was clearly intended to intimidate anyone with a public profile who thought to criticise any journalist. Does this serve the public interest? Does this serve democracy?
By what right do journalists demand this extraordinary privilege? When was the case ever made that journalists should be exempt from scrutiny? Who was persuaded by the argument? Who decided that they should be entirely unaccountable?
Why should we not have a debate about the status of journalists? Should they not be required to earn our trust and respect? Is it because they have so signally failed to earn that trust and respect that they seek to put themselves above criticism?
I accept that this comment will almost certainly be hastily deleted from The Herald’s online comment facility. Even if it isn’t, it will be denounced with the same excess of emotive sensationalism as was deployed against those who dared to remark on Daisley’s failure to abide by the standards required by his employer. Does this not prove my point?
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