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Aidan



Joined: 30 Jan 2004
Posts: 1

Post Post subject: To Media Lens / Guardian re Greenwash / general- unpublished Reply with quote

To: reader@guardian.co.uk, letters@guardian.co.uk, editor@medialens.org
on 28 Jan 04

NO REPLIES FROM ANY YET - MAYBE IT'S OLD HAT (a thought after
looking at FAQs)

Dear Sirs

I've been receiving Media Lens emails/alerts for a while now and always follow them with interest. I also use The Guardian as one of my primary sources of information. I have a couple of questions, partly in my capacity as a fledgling writer and partly in my much longer status as a dyed-in-the-wool, left-leaning liberal. I also have a suggestion.

I understand exactly where you are coming from at Media Lens, with your position on corporate interests corrupting the stance of liberal journalists at newspapers like The Guardian. I also assume that all of the best journalists at The Guardian sympathise fully with your concerns. The first time I wrote to The Guardian, by the way, was to express outrage that Mark Steel was sacked, allegedly after pressure from the New Labour government during the bombing of Serbia.

The world-weary cynic in me however, feels that it's all very well to write without sponsorship or advertising income, but how else do you guarantee enough readers? You presumably have donors at Media Lens and have managed fantastically to create enough word-of-mouth attention to get your views heard. You presumably have a means to live, or at least are dedicated enough to work on your site and campaigns in your spare time.

It makes me think of Bob Geldof's Live Aid - there was no purer charity campaign; they all did it for free; there were no full time workers etc. But most charities or NGOs haven't got powerful enough philanthropists to keep their work going. They also need in-house expertise to be useful. Like The Guardian, they are going to be less than pure a lot of the time.

What I'm getting to is, do Media Lens think that any honest Guardian journalist should resign and simply start a free blog? Or that they should force the management to only use ethical advertisers? Even ethical investors limit their reservations to dodgy regimes, arms manufacturers and animal testers. If you rule out cars and cheap flights, you're going down a road that'll leave you with what: non-leather rambling boots, hemp that doesn't get you high and farm holidays in Devon that only the middle class can afford? Even London buses pollute.

In an ideal world, I agree it would be better to have no-one looking over your shoulder, but (a) good journalists want to live off writing - and not have to teach English to pay the rent, for example, and (b) isn't there another way?

Couldn't all these journalists, instead of planting trees, which anyone can do, write one article they truly believe in each month and put it out in a publication that is not hampered by corporate influence?

Of course, then you might need a philanthropist to pay for it, but maybe all these journalists could use some tree money here instead (I refer to the latest Media Lens reference to a Guardian initiative). Or, perhaps people made well-known by their work for corporate-funded newspapers and TV stations, have names that might just carry a well-publicised web publication. Maybe The Guardian, and even The Independent - could donate some of its online subscription money for this - though of course this might detract from the value of their own publications.

Regarding the idea of them going underground and just publishing themselves, I think of the recent blog-inspired hype around Howard Dean. They claimed he was being pushed by the free blog underground. They soon discovered that although 100 comments and emails were coming in every day and other blogs were joining in, they still made up only a tiny proportion of voters. So the whole thing had no impact.

Anyway, to sum up: could The Guardian survive with only Media Lens-approved advertisers; are The Guardian journalists perfectly satisfied with their work and; is it worth considering a totally independent alternative?

Thanks very much for your time and hope you go on to raise more awareness.

All the best


Aidan
Fri Jan 30, 2004 2:29 am
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