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Posted Thu May 14th, 2009 11:33pm Post subject: Stephen Fry's comments on Newsnight
What a great debate!

I consider Mr.Fry's remarks a great success if all they did was get people talking about things as they are.

I disagree that any human being with access to an expense account will, by default of the human condition, exploit it dishonestly. And the point that a private employee and a public employee are different will hopefully not get lost in the discussion, because it's a good one.

I'm sure much of the hullabaloo is made more intense by the recent financial scandals that have gone on in the world and the sweeping impacts on several countries economies due to greedy mishandling of money.

Someone made the point that not all politicians are dishonest. I would guess that to be true, but if you look at the career path of a politician you can see how awry they go by the time they reach the peak of that career. For example...

First, you start with an individual who wants to become a politician. They may cite all sorts of ideological reasons for doing so, but it boils down to knowing that they cannot affect their changes without gaining power.

Second, in order to gain that power they have to make a boatload of concessions and compromises on their climb to the top. This tends to lubricate the moral compass of many.

So John Doe decides to go into politics and starts locally at the bottom of the political lader. Ah, but John has aspirations you see and nothing less will do than at least a Senate position ( you Brits pick the similar position because I can't speak with any authority on your government process ).

This takes years and years of climbing, being at the right place at the right time, going to the right functions and parties, electioneering in all of its forms, and yep...favors. Favors recieved again and again to get through that gilded door. Once through, it's time pay all that back and all those original ideological goals go by the wayside. In the meantime they've probably realized that to 'go along is to get along' and instead of fixing the system from the inside, they have just become grist for the mill. Thirty of forty years later, John Doe's become an insider on the take as much as anyone else around him.

Objective and unbiased journalism is hard to come by because the vast majority of media tools are owned by private corparations with their own larger political interests. Many, many voices were shut down on radio here in the states when a company called 'Clear Channel' went in and consumed the vast majority of them. Which is also why our radio sucketh mightily X-D The day of a DJ picking songs by unknown bands or up and comers is quite over. The song playlists are chosen by corporate and ensured not to offend those big corps who pay for advertising on their stations. Even the big TV stations here in the states, that have prime time news shows or 'world news' ( cough! ahem...), have fairly conservative values. Media General, for instance, who own NBC. So, the talking head 'newspeople' fairly rarely editorialize and if they do they damn well better not say anything that corporate doesn't want them to say or that, again, might offend sponsors.

To find truly unbiased journalism, you are going to have D-I-G. To find journalists who crack open scandals, real scandals like WaterGate here in the '70's, is difficult because it's just not funded anymore nor encouraged. A great majority of newspapers here in fact don't even USE journalists or have them on staff. They just reprint AP reports (wire).

It is very important that politicans be fiscally accountable. Far more so than journalists. And the person the made this point earlier in the thread gave the very simple reasons for this being so. You don't vote for journalists. You vote for politicans who are going to impact tax laws and they impact your life savings and ability to pay for health care and ability to purchase land etc etc. Trvializing the fiscal abuse of politicians can be expected to be done by politicians. But don't do that yourselves. Hold them accountable.

And yes, Mr.Fry is entitled to any damn opinion he likes but, as every high profile person ought to know or accept, the odds are very good that his opinion will tend to be taken with more weight by the public ( rightly or wrongly ) than what the cab driver might be overheard saying at the local pub over beers.

Really? Wow.

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