A blog has just done something that I thought no one could do: elicited an apology (or as close as we'll ever get to an apology) from Gordon Brown. Indeed, according to The Guardian, the McBride-Draper scandal might cost Labour the next election. If so, Guido Fawkes would have succeeded where his baleful namesake failed 404 years ago: he would have brought down a government. Even if you think the Guardian story is a bit de trop, the idea that one man with a laptop could do so much damage would, until very recently, have seemed risible.
Yet, even now, a number of print and broadcast journalists dismiss, disdain and depreciate internet-based news. Read the Guardian's own Michael White responding to the way my attack on Gordon Brown spread online. Read Peter Wilby's reedy complaint that the internet "lacks quality control". It is difficult not to sympathise with journalists of their generation. They can see local newspapers dropping all around them, and know that some nationals will soon follow. Every newsdesk is shedding staff, and journalists' are having to work longer hours for lower salaries. The Whites and Wilbies perceive, even if they do not properly understand, that amateurs are driving out professionals. It makes them frightened and bilious.
What irks them most of all is that bloggers refuse to apply Leftist filters. Until very recently, few people could watch a politician's speech or read his statement in full. They relied, instead, on the Whites and Wilbies to select, précis and interpret stories for them. Now, the masses can make up their own minds without bien-pensant intellectuals telling them what to think.
April 13, 2009
Further to 'Scoops and scalps' below, Daniel Hannan well expresses how the smeargate scandal here in the UK has crystallized the plight of the elite media: