Finding dirt not nuggets, when grubbing in the gutter

On April the first I wrote a piece, entitled Responsible Selection in which I tried to show the absurdity of journalism today, by quoting the case of the accidental expenditure claims by the Home Secretary, and which must have entailed considerable digging. Since then there has been a torrent of pieces in the press that are just purely grubbing in the gutter for sensation to sell papers. I would like to demonstrate that this is totally counter-productive.

There seems to be some dissatisfaction with our current leaders, and I would like you to consider the following. Place yourself as a person, above-average intelligence, highly qualified, who has created through their own endeavours a company that is now capable of running itself with little intervention from you, the managing director. You have arrived, at the age of 45, where you feel that you need a change of direction, and the opportunity has now presented itself. By word of mouth your condition has reached the ears of the chairman of a political party, to which you have been contributing in small amounts over the years. He comes to you with a suggestion that there is a vacancy in a constituency that they would like to put you up for. Crunch time! You are flattered, initially interested, and then you discover a spate of press articles, that are not something one would find casually, or even diligently, they have been researched at great depth, are relatively insignificant, but being of sensational nature, are worth publishing. You are going to leave yourself open to this sort of stress, you will probably give your salary to either the party or charity, claim reasonable expenses, and will be a backbencher until you know the ropes, and there is a re-shuffle, and you’re not sure that you would ever be in a position of considerable influence. If you were a person with this background, would you still be tempted?

When I look at the front page of the Internet, and see what they put on, as a daily diet, which must, by reason be what people want today, I find it totally light weight, in most cases frivolous, and I suppose in these days, escapist, and who can blame them. If I personally was placed on the condition that I just described above, wild horses wouldn’t drag me into public office. Allegedly there is some form of censorship, and people will tell you that you can sue, but this isn’t the solution. We are told the press regulates itself, but for the sake of us all and for the future, I think we need a strong deterrent for those who want to grub purely for greed, not information that will improve our system.

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