Paul Dacre, editor of that fine upstanding bastion of the free British press, the Daily Wail, made a rare public appearance on Monday night, to deliver the annual Hugh Cudlipp lecture at the London College of Communications.
Dacre used the platform to attack what he calls the “subsidariat” – that is, serious, broadsheet newspapers such as the Guardian, Independent and Times. “Serious”, in this context, is a relative term, but I’m sure you get my drift.
What the editor of the newspaper that once supported the British Union of Fascists is trying to say is that broadsheet newspapers survive only through cross-subsidies from more commercial publications such as those featuring pictures of semi-naked women and second-hand cars.
So what?, I hear you cry. If the hard-of-thinking want to read The Sun, and profits from that comic are diverted to pay the inflated salaries of the likes of Mary-Ann Bighead of The Times, then what’s the problem? Times readers would no doubt pay double the newsstand price if that was the only way they could secure their daily fix of journalistic pomposity and egotism, so perhaps the subsidy would be better called a stupid tax.
Dacre also has a go at the BBC:
“BBC journalism is reflected through a left wing prism that affects everything – the choice of stories, the way they are angled, the choice of the interviews, the interviewees and, most pertinently, the way those interviewees are treated.”
Now, as a libertarian, I’m quite happy to see the BBC’s funding model criticised in public, but Dacre’s attack on the public service broadcaster is just plain silly. One can accuse the BBC of lots of things, but purveyors of “cultural marxism” they are not.
What an embarrassment Paul Dacre is to the noble profession that is the Fourth Estate.
Of more interest is the reaction to Dacre’s silliness. In today’s Guardian there is a letter from the infamous Keith Flett: self-appointed epistolary custodian of the Left. Here is Mr Flett’s epistle in full:
“Thanks for publishing an article by the editor of the Daily Mail in the Guardian. You have just reminded me why I remain a Marxist.” [Keith Flett]
This made me choke on my muesli when I read the letter at the breakfast table this morning. I immediately submitted a response, which I’ve just been told is scheduled to appear in tomorrow’s paper:
“Keith Flett citing Paul Dacre as the reason why he remains a Marxist is little different to someone justifying membership of the Flat Earth Society on the grounds that it keeps the geometry nice and simple.”