First there was the supposed conspiracy over climate change: Governments, scientists, anyone of liberal persuasion and a host of shadowy cabals were coming together to force helpless developed nations to throw not billions, but trillions of Pounds (or US Dollars, or Euro, or whatever) away. It was a scam, a fraud, a leftist plot ... and yes, it was a conspiracy.
Except, of course, it wasn’t. But that did not stop the issue of more heat than light – way more – over the subject. Nowadays, with so many hooked up to blogs, Twitter and a variety of websites, conspiracy scares can be whipped up with some speed. And demonstrating this yesterday was the otherwise rational being known as Tim Montgomerie, at ConservativeHome.
Poor Monty is taxed by the media coverage of Phonehackgate. More specifically, he is clearly distressed by the focus on Young Dave’s spinmeister Andy Coulson, former editor of the Screws. The thought that this is news on a more general level, rather than purely a party political fur fight (as I considered yesterday) has not occurred to this stalwart of ConHome.
So Monty has concluded that he has unearthed another conspiracy. This one involves favourite whipping boys of ConHome: in addition to Labour, the Beeb are asserted to be on board, with the tired and hackneyed graphic painting the BBC as a Labour mouthpiece wheeled out. The Guardian, having caused deep offence to the Tory party by daring to separate news and comment, is there too.
But giving a unique twist to the Montgomerie paranoia is the inclusion of the New York Times. The NYT has majored on Phonehackgate of late, which is enough for Monty to conclude that it is part of his new Axis Of Leftist Evil. As Fat Dick Littlejohn would have said, you couldn’t make it up.
What Montgomerie and all the other clever people who talk loudly in restaurants cannot, or more likely will not, take on board is that there is a difference between slanted journalism, and a media outlet giving out information that is inconvenient to one party’s particular cause.
Were we to start down the road towards having news approved by political pressure groups, that would lead us to a place we should not be going.