Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tell you what

A comment on David Cameron’s speech, from Rachel Sylvester in the Telegraph:

The Cameroons say that Gordon Brown's relationship with the voters is like a triangle, with the state at the top and the individuals lined up in a row at the bottom. Labour, they argue, wants to create a direct relationship between individual and state...
The Conservatives, on the other hand, want the people at the bottom of the triangle to be looking out for each other, as well as looking up to the pinnacle at the top. It's the difference between reading a newspaper, which tells you what to think, and contributing to a blog.

Now, it’s not completely clear whether that last analogy is Sylvester’s view or that of ‘the Cameroons’ (such ignominy heaped upon a proud nation), but even if the latter, she reproduces it uncritically. Are newspapers really distinctive for telling people what to think?

They certainly tell us what they think, generally with a view to persuading; bloggers do the same. But only the most feeble-minded of readers could successfully be told what they should think, and only a newspaper (or blog) with the utmost contempt for its readers would attempt to do so with no interest in further exchange.

This may or may not say something about the Telegraph and/or its readers.

(Disclaimer for the slack-jawed and weak of will: you are not legally obliged to agree with me on this.)

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