Saturday, 2 July 2011

In defence of "Dirty Hari"

Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph, writing about Johann Hari the left-wing journalist who has been accused of 'cutting & pasting' in his articles, states:
"The "Dirty Hari" scandal, as it’s being called, tells us two things. First, it confirms suspicions that certain “progressive” writers have moved away from old-fashioned facts: they are happy to tell lies in order to communicate a "greater truth"."
As with progressive writers, so with politicians?

Hari is accused of 'cutting & pasting' material into his articles, but why pick on Hari? Is that not what presently passes for journalism nowadays? How many political news items in the media are basically repetition of a press hand-out from a government department? The daily total of investigative journalistic articles can perhaps be counted on one hand.

Newspapers are concerned about their loss of readership, a loss probably due to an increased use of the internet to obtain unbiased news. Perhaps, to mis-write a form of seppuku, Johann and his fellow journalists are just committing Hari Kari?


PeterCharles said...

I think the only thing that has changed is that technology now allows journalists and opinion writers to simply cut 'n paste directly rather than craft an uncritical précis of what they saw or heard.

My eyes were opened to the bias and prejudice in the press at school when our teacher brought in copies of the Daily Mirror and, I think, the Express and asked us how we could reconcile their reports of the same event. None of us could, of course, even the basic 'facts' were different although close scrutiny revealed that it was more a case of partial omission and manipulated context that conspired to give the difference rather than overt lying. Of all my lessons that has remained one of the most valuable and applicable, I found, to almost every other area. The downside I suppose is that it helped make me a cynic at a too tender age.

The other side of your point, that there we are bereft of investigative journalism is also too true, unless it is in the interests of pursuing which of the celebs of the day has the most cellulite. For that whole teams can justify month long investigations at exotic locations while being forced by circumstances to stay in 4-star hotels. See I can DO sarcasm, I just don't recognise it in others :-)

I suppose you could say we have entered a period of post normal journalism like we have post normal science where the 'news' is what people want it to be just as science is now what people want it to be.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

"I think the only thing that has changed is that technology now allows journalists and opinion writers to simply cut 'n paste directly rather than craft an uncritical précis of what they saw or heard."

Would disagree PC in that I believe it is now due to the reliance on the political elite for 'access' and that they dont wish to and therefore will not write anything critical of those on whom they depend for their livelihood. Of course your last paragraph confirms my contention.

Can't fault the remainder and do like your 'sarcasm'.

john in cheshire said...

As usual, a lying socialist gets away lightly with his dissembling. I don't think that would be the case if it was a normal journalist; but then a normal journalist (and only Christopher Booker springs to mind) wouldn't dream of lying. So, Mr Hari is just exhibiting the traits that distinguish socialists/communists from the rest of us - they lie. Probably why they like muslims so much since it's one of the many characteristics they have in common.

PeterCharles said...

No, I think what has changed is the ability of politicians to 'manage' the media. Part of that, of course, is giving certain journalists an 'in' which as you rightly say makes those people dependent and more likely to be supportive. Part of it is the faux rebel put in place to dampen dissent, part the placement of political activists/friends as journalists, part the government funded 'charities' that give 'independent' opinion. All this allows them to manage the message. Add to the mix the same lack of professionalism that mars all the professions in the UK today and you get what we have now, fluff journalism.

And it is not just politics that is affected, everything I see in the mainstream media is similarly tainted, environmental reporting is almost 100% cut 'n paste from Greenpeace, business and finance reporting is cut 'n pasted from CBI and similar sources, medical reporting is cut 'n pasted from the GMC and other vested interests and so on.