Blair blasts media…


THE media is a “feral beast” said Tony Blair in a speech yesterday, after having spent a decade feeding it. Blair argues that the “relationship between public life and media is now damaged in a manner that requires repair” because of the cynicism the media – and he includes blogs in this – he says it promotes. Press competition in a diminishing market means that the media increasingly “and to a dangerous degree” is driven by “impact” which was, in turn, “unravelling standards, driving them down”. And he added: “There will often be as much interpretation of what a politician is saying, as there is coverage of them actually saying it.” He sees the commentary as ill-informed too often, in need of clear separation from ‘objective’ news reporting, and the media in need of greater regulation. Naturally, the papers hit back this morning, while later today online campaign guru Joe Trippi will warn MPs they need to “allow activists to build their own online communities, not simply use the net to disseminate information” and understand that empowered “voters will trust the opinion of peers who endorse a politician much more than a “top-down” message”. For parties that exercise control freakery – and that includes a couple in our new Executive – he warns: “Command and control … [is] a disaster in the peer-to-peer social network world.”