The End of Investigation

I have a discussion of the weakness of Panorama and the future of investigative journalism in a media world dominated by the BBC in the current issue of Standpoint.

In The Storm, Vince Cable’s short, sharp book on the economic crisis, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats predicts that the reaction against the failure of liberal markets will not be a revival of socialism but a turn to state capitalism. He can see the future coming in the merger of business and political interests in Berlusconi’s Italy and Putin’s Russia, the growth of the large, and largely corrupt, sovereign wealth companies in China, Venezuela and the Middle East and the nationalist and protectionist stirrings in Europe and America.

That much is uncontroversial, I thought as I read, but Cable then surprised me by emphasising a feature of growing state power that hardly anyone else has examined. “The collapse of advertising revenue supporting independent media,” he continued, will provide legitimacy to the new order by “strengthening the relative importance of state broadcasters, including our own BBC”.

George Orwell said, “To see what is front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle.” People who spend a part of every day with the BBC would be shocked to hear it described as the state broadcaster…

Read the whole thing…


One thought on “The End of Investigation

  1. Perhaps the newspapers’ and independent media’s own decision to abandon investigative journalism for gossip and page-3 type pictures, not to mention their evident and shameless partisanship when they do deal with serious issues, has something to do with their decline; perhaps it is a symptom. However, journalists should pay attention and notice that the Daily Telegraph – at the forefront of the tabloidization of responsible news reporting – has scored the most sensational scoop of the century and kept itself at the centre of world attention by good old-fashioned impartial investigative journalism, discovering misdeeds whose exposure hurt as much its “friends” in the Conservative party as its “opponents” elsewhere. That is how it should be.

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