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Medialens's "suggested action"
Posted by Ken Farrell on September 27 2007, 13:52 » Uploaded 27/9/07 14:15  

After prompting its readers to email Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler, the website Medialens has now recommended they discontinue this action:

Our goal is to encourage reasoned debate. This seems unlikely to result from writing to Gavin Esler. We are therefore not recommending that readers write to him at this time.

But Esler's no different from other journalists who dislike Medialens's approach, so why not apply the above reasoning to all such journalists - ie cease these email campaigns, since reasoned debate "seems unlikely to result"?

Medialens has previously provided a rationale - that the emails aren't primarily for the benefit of the journalists, they're for readers to see how journalists respond to challenges from "members of the public".

So why stop now? If Esler's arguments are so weak, and if the Medialens subscribers' emails are hitting a nerve, why do the Medialens editors suggest that their readers stop writing to Esler at this point? It doesn't make sense.

Unless there's an unspoken perception that perhaps Esler is partially right, and that these emails often come across as "identikit" and "robotic". In which case, continuing the email campaign would reflect badly on Medialens.

Medialens would have more credibility for me if they'd written, as a "suggested action", not that their readers should stop emailing Esler, but that they should continue, taking care to write their own thoughts, in their own words whenever appropriate (ie when they perceive Esler to be talking dangerous nonsense).

As for the "robotic" behaviour alleged by Esler, I guess we can judge according to how many of Medialens's readers follow the recommendation to stop (after previously following the recommendation to start). Start now. Stop now. Don't think for yourself, follow the leader.

COMMENTS Post comment


Comment 01 – ALP September 27 2007, 16:52

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Comment 02 – dav September 28 2007, 13:29

Not really. It's pretty clear:

"Our goal is to encourage reasoned debate."

Seems quite fair.

"This seems unlikely to result from writing to Gavin Esler."

Seems to pretty spot on, the exchanges have spiralled into one ways insults. There doesn't seem to be anything more to be gained from the exercise. So...

"We are therefore not recommending that readers write to him at this time"

Remember though, this is a +recommendation+. They are well within their 'rights' to make one.

And you can be sure there are many that a) will not follow their recommendation, and b) will follow their recommendation due to coming to that conclusion 'all by themselves!!!!'

I'd 'recommend' certain folks stop hijacking Media Hell to further their own petty vendettas. It adds nothing to the project as far as I can tell.

Where has all the discussion of framing and semantics gone?

Comment 03 – ALP September 28 2007, 15:27

You've not really dealt with any of Ken's points, Dav. As for the response to the latest "Alert" it seems predictably obedient. Why stop writing to Esler at this point? What's changed?

Comment 04 – Donnie Darko September 28 2007, 16:27

Are you sure the insults between Esler and Medialens are one way dav? I've seen a lot of ad hominem attacks on Esler coming from the medialens people. One of them called Esler a "cunt". another called him a "scumbag". Plus there are the more politiely worded ad hominems that have been going on for ages. I think it's probably this that pisses Esler off to the degree he's pissed off.

Comment 05 – ALP September 28 2007, 17:15

Dav, one thing apparently distinguishes you from the medialens herd - you at least seem prepared to venture outside the protective ML womb and discuss these points on other sites. Why not post a link to these remarks of Ken Farrell over at Medialens? Are they not valid points, even if you see things differently? Or would you rather apply the ad hominem treatment, which is what Ken received from those "reasonable" folks last time. The problem over there is that it's a closed world, because anyone who challenges the dogma gets banned - like Ken. I'm beginning to think that people on that board are afraid of even acknowledging that criticisms of Medialens are coming not just from establishment people like Esler, but from heretics and dissenters.






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