19 June 2007

More scapegoats

Dear old mediocratic establishment. It's not enough for il-liberals that they utterly dominate the cultural agenda. No, they need to conceal their dominance by use of the fiction that it's the other side which dominates. The old 'right-wing hegemony' fantasy. And of course, it is onto them (the evil Right) that blame for all our problems must be deflected.

Things have got a little dishevelled? Attitudes a little negative as a result? It's all the fault of the (supposedly) right-wing press, according to Polly Toynbee. Scapegoats include:

- Rupert Murdoch who "can take substantial credit for the tide of vulgarity that now floods the UK" (Toynbee approvingly quoting the FT's Martin Wolf)

- "the corrosive Fox News"

- "the Daily Mail ... the most toxic current cultural force"

- "the internet ... strident, mostly male rightwing cynics, haters and wild conspiracy theorists"

- "the newspaper agenda, slavishly followed by the BBC, [reflecting] a profoundly dystopic image of a society where nothing works, everything gets worse, public officials are inept, public services fail, tax is wasted, lethal dangers proliferate, and everyone conspires to lie about it."

- "an overwhelmingly rightwing bias [which] helps explain why Eurobarometer finds the British the least sympathetic of EU nations towards the poor." [It could just as easily be because Britain has a level of welfare state way beyond what the average European would consider reasonable.]

Tim Worstall comments that "it isn't because the press is right wing that we think the unemployed are workshy shiftless chavs, the press is right wing because we already think that the unemployed are workshy shiftless chavs." But I would question whether the press as a whole is "right wing" at all. It depends on definitions. Does the bulk of the British press come out in favour of leaving markets undistorted, and against Blairist interventionism? Not as far as I can see.