Right-to-reply website launches
A website launches today which aims to offer "an impartial, web-based right-to-reply service".
Newscounter.com is run by a bunch of Tories, and Matthew Taylor - a former advisor to Tony Blair (so a bunch of Tories then - Ed).
The site will "provide an authoritative means of publishing a full response, alert relevant bloggers and other stakeholders to the full response, secure profile for the response via online search engine listing", and "provoke debate around the accuracy of the original coverage".
All this sounds admirable, but in the age of blogs and comments on stories is it a necessary or realistic business model?
Newscounter chief executive Matthew Cain said in the press release: "Misrepresentation in the media can have a huge impact on an organisation's brand and reputation. With the proliferation of online news outlets, the potential for damage as a result of misrepresentation is increasing."
But why adding another news outlet will solve this problem remains unclear.
Apart from straightforward scew-ups, which most publications are keen to correct as quickly as possible, correcting misrepresentation is far from simple. A quick browse of Wikipedia will make this clear.
Newscounter's non-executive directors include: Sir Stephen Sherbourne, former head of Thatcher's Political Office; Matthew Taylor, former chief adviser on political strategy to Tony Blair; and Nigel Clarke, one of three principal partners at political consultancy GJW, which was implicated in the Lobbygate or cash for access scandal.
The website launches in true old media style with a breakfast briefing in Soho's Groucho Club. ®
Myth of the "liberal" media
This kind of initiative coming from conservatives would, in the North American context, be bound up in the myth of the "liberal" media that right wingers perversely claim to be victims of, no matter how spinelessly the media in fact adheres to their corporate masters' dictates.
Not that they're entirely insincere. The American right has become so intolerant of debate and other quaint trappings of democracy that any departure from the party line is declared "liberal" bias.
Yet not even concentrated corporate media ownership and a cadre of ideologically groomed journalists can prevent the regular contravention and subversion of right-wing consensus, because it is reality itself that continually pounds away at the thick but crumbly bulwark of conservative self-delusion and denial.
Faith-based reality proves little defense against the continuous corrosive harm by being totally wrong about pretty much everything. Right-to-Reply won't help much either.
But who is going to bother...?
Newscounter says "One of the main reasons for newscounter is how hard it is to find two sides of a media story online."
I beg to differ! It's very easy to find two sides of a media story online, in fact you can easily find a *dozen* sides at times.
So why is anyone going to go to Newscounter and expect anything other than self-serving propaganda?
RE: Our right to reply!
"One of the main reasons for newscounter is how hard it is to find two sides of a media story online."
Presumably you mean to find -only- two sides, it's usually fairly easy to find about a gazillion different points of view on any given news story, even from outlets using the same wire services, take the Google News listing for the story involving Cannabis research from Tuesday May 01 2007. News outlets headlines for the story ramge from "Cannabis chemical curbs psychotic symptoms, study finds" in the Grauniad, through "Brain scans pinpoint cannabis mental health risk" fro Reuters, to "Even a small amount of cannabis 'triggers psychotic episodes' warn doctors" from tabloid tat purveyor The Daily Mail. Full spectrum available here http://news.google.co.uk/news?hl=en&ncl=1115888940 there are certainly more than two sides of that story being widely reported.
"I reckon it takes about 3 times longer to find a response than an allegation."
Have you thought of simply using Google's Blog Search facility ? Oh wait, that wouldn't further your ends of making money and spreading your agenda, would it ?
What is your agenda, by the way ?