Correspondents Roundup

Superb. Simply superb. In case you haven’t followed up to this point there are a handful of journalists of some renown whom I track and occasionally offer a retort to, depending on how objectionable a certain discussed topic might be. To date these have been Mark Mardell, Simon Jenkins and Jonathan Freedland, although I’m always tempted to overextend my attention to others, and each has just produced a fine piece of work.

I’m not lavishing praise on them for nothing, and not simply because they are journalists of a very high standard and these are notable pieces, but actually because by sheer providence they have individually touched upon the key issues that I was looking to. Mardell’s piece studies Obama’s tour of the Levant, Jenkins approaches the outcome of Leveson and press regulation with a shared sense of dread and disappointment and Freedland goes about the Budget with a cleaver of truth.

While I do pride myself upon the creation of a well-written article of sound facts and analyses, I don’t pride myself for repeating the thoughts that others were more diligent in putting into the public sphere. As mentioned in my last article, those people do usually benefit from being employed to be so diligent, but I don’t like to make excuses. I do my best even if that is sometimes to merely offer an opinion or a more obscure angle.

On the other hand, on occasions like today it’s just nice to tip my hat to those who have completely removed the necessity to exercise my self-imposed obligation to comment. Mardell eloquently describes the pains with which Obama is tentatively manoeuvring through his overseas visit with just hint of the resignation and scepticism that has begun to characterise most grand endeavours in that part of the world.

Jenkins clearly perceives the moves of government to install press regulation in the same terms as I do. Criticism of elements of the British press was patently justified after their scandalous behaviour, and a considerable change of culture was required. But that could have been achieved by realigning core media values with the existing laws and general moralities of the age. The wealthy and powerful now have obscene control over their own public profiles.

And Freedland… oh Freedland. Perhaps more than anyone I’m loving Freedland today. I watched the Budget yesterday, yes, actually watched the Budget, and the ensuing deluge of analysis in order to actually make sense of much of it. I’m not stupid by any metric, but neither am I an economist, and nearly an hour of a speech containing nought but economy related issues is a bit dense. Understanding the measures in context can only be helped by a little interpretation.

Freedland’s article stands out for me because it attacks the issue in the manner that I would. While I’m sure he has a better grasp of the economic factors then I do, he was also looking to the politics of the Budget. And I love politics, none more so than British. It is like the perfect marriage of all the serious matters of life with a sort of tragicomic theatre, and indeed lately I’ve almost had no need for non-factual television programming.

Read these pieces, damn your eyes. Read them and give me the benefit of the doubt that had I been more focussed you might have read them here first. Would that I could provide such a service.


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Filed under Current Affairs, News Media

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