So. 2010 is almost over. What have we learned from the year?
Politics: not even the most slavish of media support could get Young Dave over the majority line in the UK General Election, but he has since demonstrated that he, unlike many in his party, understands this new art of the possible. Labour surprised many by not being wiped out by the supposed “Tory Tsunami”, then electing Mil The Younger as leader. The drop in support for the Lib Dems should have surprised nobody – same with their discomfort with some Coalition policies.
Press And Media: the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) finally showed that it is utterly toothless and unfit for purpose. The Maily Telegraph demonstrated why it has earned its new nickname, the Desmond press descended further into bigotry and inaccuracy, and very few noticed the supposedly upmarket Times vanish behind a paywall. Also, Paul Dacre did not retire, and swore a lot.
USA: the Tea Party movement started to hobble the Republican Party. After many began to write him off, Barack Obama ended the year in good shape. Larry King bowed out as his network, CNN, fell to third place in the cable news ratings. The wisdom of the UK’s impartiality rule for TV was demonstrated superbly by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). And the most trusted news presenter in the USA was a host on Comedy Central.
Climate: Christopher Booker and his pet gofer James Delingpole continued to rage to their echo chamber of like minded conspiracy theorist believers, with Booker unable to count to three, or read a graph title, reliably (Delingpole compensated for this by sneering more aggressively). Supposedly once in a generation weather events occurred rather more frequently. This last was lost on the denial lobby.
Blogosphere: despite claims to the contrary, it still needed the MSM to help break stories to the extent that they made a difference. Some long established blogs scaled down their involvement or left the scene, but the genre carried on.
Astroturf: the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) continued to churn out “reports” full of dodgy figures, misleading assumptions, and occasionally – as in their urging of a lowering of the poverty line – sheer nastiness. The group has still not published full and up to date accounts or a list of donors.
And finally: we were still no nearer to even having a debate about currently illegal drugs. Sad but true.
Have a good and productive New Year.