What if journalists had said nothing about the financial meltdown at the beginning of the crisis? Would it have alleviated the tail-spin into global collapse? The Guardian’s Peter Wilby has an intriguing example from relatively recent history that at least offers an alternative universe where the media was kept hushed:
“The papers keep telling us there has been nothing like this financial crisis since the 1930s. They are wrong. Something similar happened little more than 30 years ago. Newspaper readers, however, knew nothing about it. Then, as now, the banking sector was close to systemic failure. Then, as now, NatWest (part of the RBS group since 2000) was in dire straits. Then, as now, the Bank of England poured in public money. But the drama was almost entirely behind closed doors. NatWest simply denied it was in trouble, and it was believed. To this day, nobody knows for sure how much the crisis cost the taxpayer”
Peter does not think that the hacks should stay silent. He quotes in his support from one interviewee cited in the new Polis report on Finanical Journalism, (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a copy):
“Markets are basically corrupt … there is a large amount of insider information circulating, which people are trading on. And we … plug in those … deals and then publish … to everybody … We don’t think we have any … moral obligation to smooth the way … if you act as the smoothing, controlling influence you are doing that just on behalf of somebody else.”
barely two posts on financial journalism since the beginning of the year.
And for a site allegedly about journalism and society, I am surprised that comments are restricted to this blog.
I for one would welcome the opportunity to make comment on the 23 February event on two counts: the title quotes the queen, but does not say so – I only found out because I googled the quote, being curious as to its origin.
Secondly, admirable that the event is open to all, and the story above about markets basically being corrupt displays admirable fiestiness, but again the lack of facility for commenting on the main site itself shows a basic misunderstanding of what blogs are and where they’re heading.
A hint: blogs are not an indication of content, no more than four wheels show whether a car is auto or manual. Blogs are a delivery mechanism.
So you could deliver your entire website on blog technology and mark only part of it as a blog/s to indicate personal comment from Polis people, if you like – but allowing user comments across the entire site. Moderated, if you must.
As it is, the main part of the Polis website remains trapped in the old web1 world where an all-knowing voice beams down from the heavens and none of us mere mortals may question or debate.