The Ideal of a Free Media Died Long Ago
Publisher: Dissident Voice
Date Written: 04/06/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22890
Should the media include positive editorial content secretly paid for by major corporations, as London's Evening Standard newspaper has begun doing, according to new revelations?
Most of us instantly recoil from any blurring between editorial and advertising in the media. How would we know if what was reported was factual, truthful and newsworthy or there simply as public relations spin? How could we trust anything we read?
The idea is the brainchild of George Osborne, the paper's editor. It is perhaps not surprising that it has been left to Osborne to clear the path for newspapers to become more overt cheerleaders for major corporations.
For six years prior to 2016, he was chancellor of the exchequer (Britain's finance minister) for Conservative governments overseeing strict economic austerity, a policy designed to bleed the British public of money that was used instead to revive the private banking sector and major corporations.
Additionally, Osborne has his finger deep in various lucrative corporate pies. In a blatant conflict of interest since he became the Standards editor last year and one that predates his offer to sell favourable coverage to these six corporations he has a £650,000 contract to work one day a week for BlackRock, the worlds largest fund manager.
BlackRock, meanwhile, has a £500 million stake in Uber the taxi-app company that is among the corporations that signed up to Osbornes deal. Uber desperately needs an image makeover as it fights through the courts to keep its licence to operate in London.
What is good for big business is very good for George Osborne's bank balance. Which is why Osbornes commitment to real journalism comes a far second to his commitment to his pals in the City.