After Daniel Hannan: Can the Bloggers set the News Agenda?

The Daniel Hannan viral video has blown the bloody doors off. The rules are changing. Who controls the news agenda now? Are there lessons to be learned from history?

Newsgathering has always put its participants under pressure. Deadlines must be met. It is therefore necessary to invoke an editorial policy which will inform the gathering of news and direct its findings, because, in the heat of the moment, no such decisions can be made. The job of the reporter is to send in copy. Nobody is allowed to return empty handed, so the value of some news is inherently degraded by necessity rather than newsworthiness. Editorial policy in this country has, since the Second World War been subject to a voluntary consensus on what constitutes news. Occasionally, but not often, individual media sources will take a different slant on the same story, but by and large, the subject matter in Editorial meetings is the same in every Mainstream Media (MSM) outlet in the country, every day of every year, and very narrow it is too. It is possible, with very little experience, to predict what the leading stories will be on a given day.


The importance the news agenda plays in the lives of the majority is minor. Ask people what they are worried about or happy about and the answer is going to be highly parochial. There is a sociopathic reaction to what news editors believe is important. People on the whole, just want to be left alone. The MSM is for people who either work in it, appear in it, or need a light hobby that does not require too much custom made equipment to indulge it, while they wait for the train or sit in the dentist's waiting room.

The above scenario plays out, and has played out for some years. It is only when the hoi-polloi begin to sense that their private and tranquil lives are somehow subject to outside interference do they look up and sniff the coffee.

Most of us will now know someone who has recently been made redundant. They may also be sympathetic enough to understand the implications. Reality is biting.

This has happened regularly througout history and by and large the establishment have been able to control it. They have been able to, either disguise the truth or suppress it or discredit or suppress those who differ. The last time that the British Government seriously considered losing control of the country was during the early stages of the French Revolution. It is impossible to underestimate how much of a reality was the idea that it would spread. British Radicals at the time considered that it heralded a new political order, coming out of the economic crisis that precipitated it that was due in part to a spiral of credit.

"..it was the burden of debt and the collapse of credit that forced the calling of the Estates General and structured the whole of the early revolutionary debate in France. Reading Burke’s Reflections in the light of this shows how his thinking about political stability is influenced either by explicitly financial issues or by political issues relating to the likely creditworthiness of the resulting regime."

(http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521579117&ss=exc)

So there is nothing new under the sun. Fear about the French Revolution and its impact upon British society, together with domestic problems carried on well into the next century.

In 1819 a demonstration took place in Manchester at St. Peter's Fields.

On August 16th, 60 to 80 thousand people carrying banners bearing slogans against the Corn Laws, and in favour of universal suffrage, held a meeting at St. Peter's Fields. Magistrates ordered the arrest of the principle speakers. The Yeomanry were sent in to make the arrests and were confronted by the crowds. They drew their swords and killed a dozen or more protestors and injured five hundred, and the Peterloo massacre entered history. What was interesting, and relevant to this piece, is that it was the first time that a number of national journalists were present. They were sympathetic to the protesters and support went, as we would say today, viral.

There is a great difference now. The Main Stream Media are on the side of the Establishment. Opposition to the status quo has been fully marginalised to the extent that when Daniel Hannan's speech to Gordon Brown "went viral", he was still being written off as a maverick and an irrelevance by most of them who grudgingly reported it, days later, as an internet novelty.

There are some very credible political bloggers who are now constituting something new. They are the Fifth Estate; the so-called Fourth Estate has been subsumed into the miasma of received opinion and venality.

They can and do set the agenda. Guido Fawkes made us look at a charity called the Smith institute that was not a charity at all but a funded arm of the Labour Party. Mike Smithson faithfully publishes what people really think about the state of the parties. Thomas Cranmer upholds the views of Christians in a country where they have been marginalised in the name of political correctness. The Devil's Kitchen exposes hypocrisy everywhere, no holds barred. Iain Dale provides a much needed platform for free speech and right wing thinking and is the most influential, right of centre blogger in the country. All of these are not paid for out of public funds or beholden to anyone but themselves.

If you have any doubts as to whether Bloggers can set the agenda, visit them and make up your own mind. The MSM is tired, toadying and only after an easy ride. See what is going down and decide to find out the truth.


5 comments:

Aye We Can ! said...

I agree with your analyis, am encouraged by developments. But there is stil a long long way to go. 10 million foll watch the BBC Ten o'clock news each night, Hannan last time I looked is at just under 2 million views. Remarkable in net terms , but you see my point?

And remember it was not us blogger that made the news, but Daniel Hannan. He was the news, a graet speech in a terrific context. It was the mainstream media's failure to report it that gave bloggers and the net the opprtunity.

If for example the mainstream media stopped reporting football scores, the blogger who did would be an overnigt sensation. But the MSM aint that daft.

And they wil learn from Hannan, or rather their inept ignoring of him, and react differently next time. Becasue they will have to - they are fighting for their commerial futures. the BBC it licence fee. Somewhere deep in HQs political editors will be getting there asses proverbially whipped for missing Hannan's speech

So Dont write off the fourth estate yet. But it now has a credible rival, one tha can expose it and indeed hummiliate it when it fails, sides with te establishment etc. This can only be good for everyone.

And a nice post - impressive use of history! Now you would not read that in the Sun - or the Telegraph!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thank you Aye we can.

I think it is sometimes worth digging a bit deeper.

Anonymous said...

To my mind there is a fundamental difference between the establsihment in the late 18thc which was on the side of property rights, civilization and patriotism, and the establishment and establishment media today which are more or less against them and which are threatened by freedom of thought.
A Burkean revolution please.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thanks Anon for your contribution.

I don't think there is a fundamental difference - I think the index of what constitutes hegemony might have changed, but the means of control has not, nor has the fundamental idea that the establishment will protect itself by any means it can.

It was Maximilien Robespierre who said:

"The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant."

Not only have we a raft of bias mainstream media to content with, that effectively keeps the general population in ignorance, there has been a massive political effort to restrict the language of discourse in order to render dissent impossible or at least difficult.

steveshark said...

@Aye We Can !
10 million foll watch the BBC Ten o'clock news each night, Hannan last time I looked is at just under 2 million views. Remarkable in net terms , but you see my point?

Yes, but I'd suggest that 2 million people actively sought out Hannan's video as opposed to many of the 10 million BBC viewers who might just have turned the News on for the sports results.