Monday, September 25, 2006

Are Some Blogs Becoming Part of the Media Establishment?

Richard North, who runs the excellent EU Referendum Blog with Helen Szamuely, doesn't like me very much. I'm learning to cope with that, but it doesn't stop me being nice about his blog. It's consistently informative and illuminating but Richard is annoyed that I didn't give it top billing in my Top Blogs list. In hindsight it probably should have been higher, but he seems to delight in detecting a conspiracy where there is none.

Today Richard has posted an interesting Blog entry HERE on how he thinks the mainstream media are cosying up 'established bloggers' and are shutting out the likes of er... Richard North. It's actually quite a thought provoking piece, although to describe Tim Montgomerie's ConservativeHome as "semi-approved" or me as a "safe pair of hands" is stretching anyone's credulity.

16 comments:

Deep Stoat said...

Watching the awful Gordon Brown today reminded me of a personal aphorism, that we become the sum total of our little everyday decisions.

In this context most politicians start out with fairly alruistic intentions and a sprinkling of integrity, but given a year or two, they have made so many compromises and told so many little white lies that they have become compromisers and liars.

As blogging becomes more mainstream bloggers will be under pressure just like the media. Iain, you already know what it is like to upset people innocently so perhaps you will be tempted to tread more carefully. Why? Because you need your sources, just as the dead trees and the main tv channels have a symbiotic relationsip with their "adversaries". Or your sponsors.

How are you going to resist the pull of the mainstream? Will you wake up one morning to find you are the Tony Blackburn of BBC Blog TV?

Anonymous said...

Let them try sucking up to me!

Richard said...

"Conspiracy" is your word, not mine, Iain. The establishment, of which you are part (or have ambitions to join) acts instinctively to external threats - relying on a sort of "folk memory" in the same way that a pack of dogs will react to an outsider.

Working within the "bubble", your reflexes are probably so conditioned and automatic that you will almost certainly be unaware of why you do what you do. You will certainly be totally incapable of seeing anything wrong with your behaviour, to the extent of rejecting any criticism as "ridiculous".

newmania said...

Gets my vote for non question of the year. This suggestion of the racy and sub cultural is so entirely risible that I can`t even get outraged about it. I like it . Its sweet
Conservative Bloggers do edgey the way Marks and Spencers do Foreign food and fashionable clothes . Its exquisitely painfully just a little bit wrong .
My sevices as cultural guru are not cheap but they are worth it.
( Have we not discussed the Sparks thing before?)
If you`re going to be patronising about popular culture you shoudk really go for it.
Big up the Naughty North London Rap Collective who featured at the wonderfully heterogeneous Clissold Park Fair today Went to mock and stayed to rock . Good bye or as they put it
Police aint feelin` it wit the attitude we gotta go so.. So drop a beat.. Say peace((PEACE!), say love, (LOVE!) ,check it ...


......We out o `here .

Sir Mincelot said...

I have to say this does echo thoughts I've been having myself recently - particularly with the launch of 18DS.

I was intending to post a blog post on this, but it seems Richard North has beaten me to the punch, and I thought it might make you think I've got more sour grapes than a bottle of Latvian chardonnay!

Etzel Pangloss said...

If not a safe pair of hands, then why are you ambitious?

newmania said...

`"Conspiracy" is your word, not mine, Iain. The establishment, of which you are part (or have ambitions to join)`
.... well yes of course. Shock horror , Conservative wishes to better himself by worming himself into the establishment. This was immiediately patently obvious in my week of reading of the Daley news .Do stop posturing , there are about a billion worse things in the world than Iain wanting to be in the business we call show
Why not indeed , it could hardly be worse ?`Iain Dale in Conversation` `The Dale debate `
`Iaindale farm ``Blogertory bloggertory`
`Newmania Saturday Night ` mmmmm I like it
I very much hope to see more of this mercurial intellect and less of Paxman who I`ve always hated and is grossly overpaid

broadcaster said...

Richard: Here here. Paul Staines (AKA Guido Fawkes - why the hell everyone calls him Guido given his bent for full disclosure is beyond me) and Iain Dale are just as much a part of the mainstream media nowadays, and in fact already are tools of the parties: who do you think is anonymously leaking this stuff to them?

What I love is that Iain tarts aroudn pretending to be "alternative" like a latter-day Rik from the Young Ones, when in fcat he's about as mainstream and middle class as the average middle class mainstream Tory, and loves appearing on the real media.

Oh! The irony.

james higham said...

I initially had some sympathy for Richard North and my little diatribe on Iain can be read but I really do think that RN has gone to pieces over this thing and I'm beginning to learn that Iain enjoys a good stoush anyway. Perhaps it's time just to get on with things and stop concerning ourselves with that which does not matter.

JT said...

Iain, although I really enjoy reading your blog, and click on to it several times a day, I was beginning to have similar thoughts about a good deal of your content.

Since you are now establishing yourself as a "voice" within UK political and blogging circles, I think that notwithstanding the concerns that you have aired previously about the consequences of you becoming "serious" too much of the time, it would genuinely assist the conservative cause if, say, one in three or four of your posts were of a more policy-related and detailed nature.

For example, why not highlight in detail some of the issues that Christopher Booker raises in his weekly ST column, which are frankly appalling, but which receive too little oxygen of publicity. I'm sure you would enjoy leading an internet campaign against the relevant minister or issue involved.

Why not flag up more often for people's attention what Richard writes, as he is one of the most genuinely insightful and constantly thoughtful bloggers. It would help if the media became more aware of his writing, and your blog could serve as a very good vehicle for that.

Why not organise on your site a live debate between e.g. Richard and a DC sympathiser or europhile, to make them each defend their beliefs and position against each others. This would be both serious and interesting and popular too.

Best wishes.

UK Daily Pundit said...

Cranmer took issue with Richard North back in August in a post on the EU.

Here

newmania said...

Well Iain , I think there is some agreement here . Worry not, main stream and middle class is the best place to be.Oddly it took me no more than a couple of minutes to pick up the real agenda ....so what ?

Matthew Sinclair said...

That people with old media profiles like Channel 4's favourite blogger do well is hardly surprising. It is the same reason that Tescos do well in online retailing: name recognition and existing mechanisms for promotion and distribution(contacts are probably the biggest item in this case). This does not require any kind of cognitive explanation.

Tim has done well through being focussed on the community, in doing so his blog has become bigger than itself. This does mean he isn't quite the lone ranger that EU Referendum is attached to being but it doesn't imply excluding anyone; ask any new blogger who's had any dealings with CH.

Richard's criticism of this blog appears to be that it does not think everyone in the media and maintstream politics is incurably wrong and venal. Unfortunately, he does not think this can be disagreed on by rational people and invents psychological explanations for it based around the 'establishment'.

Understanding that different people can come to different conclusions while remaining rational is important in keeping debate possible.

newmania said...

`For example, why not highlight in detail some of the issues that Christopher Booker`

I went to see Christopher Booker speak and was amazed at the quality of his exposition on Europe. I would just like to flag my agreement with everyhting JT says here. If you search Booker on the Tory graph site and take a trip back in time he appears to have supernatural abilities to see the future horrors little changes will create

I am thinking of the disaster that the Standards Board has been its mis use by the Labour party (here)and the fact the tax payer ends up with the bill for `defence` costs


..I have just realised I may know JT , are you who I think you are ?

f0ul said...

You lot will become the next media darlings and your egos will be the only thing stopping you from seeing what is happening!
The grassroots blogger - the one living to far from a convenient tv studio will be ignored - as always.

You lot will be interesting enough to keep your wages, but never too dodgey to cost advertising!

Just think what happened to the crew of Radio Caroline!

JT said...

Yes.

But I guess that Iain won't be taking up my suggestions after Richard's latest rant!