wednesday, politics and the media

Politics and The Media

I was not aware that the UK had a 'free press.' Remember this is coming from someone who has lived in Turkey so what does that tell you, but anyway, I was surprised to learn in the CMI lecture today that this is the case. Apparently the government does not control the British press.


Mixing politicians and the media can be dangerous because according to Mike Kirkup, politicians are not natural performers. I would have to disagree there. Most are not natural performers. I think Boris Johnson is a splendid performer.

If politicians use the media to try and create a good image with the public, then they have to accept that most of the time, the media will also bring them down. I particularly liked Mike's little quote on that subject - "Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword."

Mike touched on the American TV debate of Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy in the 1960 Elections. It was interesting to learn that even though Nixon was the more experienced politician, Kennedy looked better on camera and won the people, because of the way he came across.
Some would say that this was the first instance of TV influencing an election but I'm not convinced. Surely if JFK was charismatic enough to shine on camera, he would have been just that in person. I suppose the TV reached more people in one go. It's interesting, how our perception of someone on screen can change society and trends and politics. Quite a scary thought that.

Gordon Brown was also mentioned (the sky news, microphone, 'who let that bigot near me?' incident) I never found Gordon Brown enchanting to say the least, but I always thought that thing was very unfair. Everyone says stuff behind peoples backs all the time. Managers do it, deans do it, lecturers do it, I do it. So why do we all get on our high horse when a politician does it? Is it because we expect them to be better then us? Or because we just want them to fail? Anyway, slight deviation...

I also never knew a British Lib Dem (Lembit Opik) got engaged to one of the Cheeky Girls. Knowing this has changed my life.

Mike played us an episode of "In The Thick Of It" at the end of the lecture. I loved it. I may now have to buy a box set. Or borrow one.

The Levenson investigation was also mentioned and I think we are expected to research/follow/stalk that topic. I'm not sure if Mike meant Production people as well. Here is a helpful website.

Be warned. It is riveting.

This is the Telegraph update on the inquiry:

Telegraph Coverage

And if you're looking for some epic excitement, this should really get you going:

a good read