Feral beasts fail to respond

At Alastair Campbell’s Hugh Cudlipp lecture last night he blasted the news media for failing to debate their own shortcomings. Have they discussed the issue today in light of his comments?

It seems not. The Guardian printed the speech in full on its website and had an edited extract in the paper, while The Independent and Press Gazette online both reported on his comments.

The Times diary section reports Campbell’s humorous line about being offered reality TV show gigs, but coverage is absent from its news pages.

Campbell said that after Tony Blair’s farewell speech on the press last year, in which he dubbed us “feral beasts”, the press failed to engage in a debate about their role in democracy.

Two journalists have responded to the challenge – former Channel 4 editor Charlie Beckett, who said the spin doctor was “disarmingly open” about his mistakes, and Sunday Times writer Bryan Appleyard who is not quite as complimentary.

Roy Greenslade thinks that Campbell, who cited Blair and the FT’s John Lloyd – who thinks journalists give politicians an unreasonably hard time – may have a point.

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