When the lobbyists become the reporters

Andrew Brown looks back at the recent Anglican Consultative Council and sees the future. It is a world of journalism without reporters and where the news-gatherers and the lobbyists are one in the same.

If you wonder what the future of journalism looks like without profitable news­papers, study the coverage of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Jamaica.

None of the national papers has a reporter there. None, of course, has any stringers left in the country, either. So what we’re left with is reports on blogs, none of them from people who are even trying to be neutral. (Why should they?) No one would raise the funds to travel to Jamaica and watch the Anglican Communion at work unless he or she was passionately com­mitted to one side or the other. But they are lobbyists, not journalists.

Those left in London can always try the Gledhill trick of ringing up lobbyists in the meeting and quoting what they say. But unless you believe that Canon Chris Sugden from Anglican Mainstream is entirely dispassionate and neutral about what is going on at the ACC — and not even his worst enemy would claim that — then it is hopeless quoting his accounts without making an attempt to check them, and we just can’t check anything for ourselves from this distance.

One thing that happens when lobbyists have press passes is that they attempt to influence the news they are writing about. This blurring of the lines make both roles less trustworthy.

See previous Lead reports here, and here. Don’t forget the attempt to seat the Rev. Philip Ashey, an American, as a Uganda’s clergy rep after he already had been issued a press pass because he blogs for the American Anglican Council.

Read the rest from Andrew Brown here.

Past Posts