Friday, 4 December 2009


One thing that has struck me over the past few weeks is that an as-yet little recognised media phenomenon has been thrown into stark relief by the Climategate scandal, and it's not the MSM, of course. We always knew that they would follow on in the jet stream of this ever-growing story, pressured by the veritable torrent of people lending their support to the 'new realism' over so-called man made climate change (a sexist term in itself, if you want to be picky - ie: politically correct). The legacy media has once more been shown up for what it is: hopelessly old hat and out of touch with public opinion, preferring instead to peddle the alarmist lies, for the sake of ratings in ITV's case (you should have seen that channel's coverage on their 10 o'clock bulletin last night) or for the sake of politics in the case of the BBC. The newspapers have been fairly predictable, as one might imagine. Left wing rags have followed the left-green ideological armageddon scenario to the letter (naturally), while the rest of them have hedged themselves even deeper into a kind of editorial schitzophrenia.

So that's them, then. But what about the blogs? Well, something has now emerged that seems to me quite interesting, what you might call the "Main Stream Blogosphere." These would include established, high-traffic ones like Dale, Guido, Spectator, the Telegraph (especially Hannan and Delingpole, increasingly) and others I can't think of off the top of my head. What they have done, Guido included (but less so, to his credit), is played a similar game to the non-left media, they've set themselves up as some kind of adjudicators of the debate, thus providing themselves with protection for what they clearly view is their "credibility" among their high-powered political sources and buddies. By pretending to be outside the debate looking in (or down), they don't need to get off the fence. Thus they can avoid rocking the political boat and risk losing access to their MSM and lobby sources - and maintain what they regard as a principled editorial position which enables them to pass judgment on the great mass of genuinely independent, and genuinely (justifiably, given the nature of the revelations) critical, rational anti-MMCC blogs that make up the vast majority of the IB (the Independent Blogosphere). A political predilection has no bearing on these terms, only a willingness to speak one's mind when one feels moved to, and not to stand on the fence for any other reason than genuine agnosticism.

Take this recent Spectator post by David Blackburn, coming as it does hot on the heels of Fraser Nelson's editorial policy statement on Climategate for the paper edition:
Lord Lawson is Andrew Neil’s guest on this week’s BBC Straight Talk and, among other topics, the former chancellor rebuffs Ed Miliband’s accusation of climate change heresy. Lawson said:
“I hope that all parties…take a good hard look at this, we don’t want a sort of Stalinist monolithic line in everything. But I do think, because of the damage that will be done to the economy, that is why, and for very little good, if any, that is why we have got to take a good hard look at the fact that we can’t get a global agreement on this anyway, as will be seen in Copenhagen…So, I think you have got to go back to the drawing board and have a fresh approach. And that is why my think tank is the Global Warming Policy Foundation, it’s not the Global Warming Foundation, it’s the Global Warming Policy Foundation, because it is policy which is so damaging at the present time and threatening so much, and it doesn’t work and it can’t work, and that’s why we’ve got to think of another approach.”

Lawson’s comments are aimed at Cameron as much as anyone else, but he is not ‘denying’ the science, though I am sure he’s sceptical, and rightly so. Like David Davis, Lawson challenges the political approach inspired by the Prophet Stern, which will endanger global growth and condemn billions in the developing world to a slow and grinding death in poverty. Ed Miliband’s “saboteur” jibe proves what Fraser says in this week’s magazine: climate change has morphed from debate to catechism. It is now an issue bereft of rationality. A debate on policy, not science, is an immediate necessity - I fear all Copenhagen will amount to is a joyless shindig.

Rod Liddle was doing the same thing last week, as I wrote at the time, namely, calling for some sort of reasoned debate without actually saying which side of that debate he would feel moved to support. And here we have it again. Ordinarily, you might think that that's all fine and dandy: people are right to keep an open mind, you might think, and that would be true - if that was what was really going on here. Only, it's not. What you are seeing is confusion as the MSB has to face up to something it had hitherto taken for granted. The people who run these uber-news sites (they're not really blogs) had swallowed the whole AGW thing hook, line and sinker, at least publicly. It was the way the wind was blowing, after all. However, they've been left in something of a quandary by the fact that almost their entire readership is taking a much, much harder line on the issue: the traffic is moving!

People who read the MSB avidly, like me, never really thought of it that way before - up until now, that is. They previously regarded it as some form of blessed, independent news source free from the traditional forms of bias and/or strong-arm editorialism. Not any more. I'm afraid that one thing Climategate has done, in polarising the debate so completely, whether MSB hacks such as Nelson or Blackburn or Liddle - (the list goes on and on - you know who you are) - like it or not, and encouraging people to stand up and be counted on this great fraud, is smoke out the MSB from its comfort zone. And what a nuisance that must be for them. It's certainly a source of irritation if Liddle is anything to go by. That's a good thing because they need to get off the damn fence, show some backbone and call it as they really see it, because I strongly suspect that is exactly what they are not doing, for the reasons I've noted. (I actually - kind of - respect Will Heaven of the DT blogs for doing just that, though much good it did him! Mainly because he's wrong.)

My point is that the last thing we need is another "Main Stream" anything, much less an MSB, especially when mainstream thinking on this (and many other issues, lest we forget - NHS anyone?) is so compromised and ideological. But it looks like that's just what we have got. Ah well, maybe it was inevitable. It's just another emergent phenomenon in the cultural continuum - and could be just another sign that New Media really has come of age and truly eclipsed the old. So it's not all bad and besides, all of us little people can always vote with our blogrolls - and our mouses - if we're really that unhappy.


  1. I've had thoughts along very similar lines for a while now. The process of maintaining fame (hits) can often be very different from that of achieving it initially.

    MSB types can become scared of being wrong and end up failing to lend their weight to obviously good causes, of exactly the type that would have set them apart from the MSM when they were on the rise.

  2. I think they should all be shot. And I will think that until the day I become popular.


Any thoughts?