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This is the second paragraph of this Susanna Rustin article, putatively about “the rise and rise of radio”, from today’s Guardian.
I didn’t look at the photo and clicked on “unfollow” straightaway so I wouldn’t see any more of Dale’s tweets. Holding this woman up to ridicule in front of the 26,000 people who follow him was abusing his position, I thought.
I love the Guardian, but this article is awful from start to finish. It starts with the above assertion which feels like holier-than-thou nonsense: how did the writer know that a woman was being “held up to ridicule” without looking at the photo? How could she be sure this wasn’t a joke? And is she always so reactionary?
And that’s not to mention that the Iain Dale incident has precisely nothing to do with the popularity of radio, which the headline suggests is the thrust of the piece. Indeed, she doesn’t get onto radio until paragraph seven.
She then goes on to give piss-poor reasons for the popularity of radio, beginning with the assertion that “the licence fee is the obvious first answer”, as though radio is exclusively popular in the UK).
Then, further along, she attempts to classify radio as an “old” or “new” medium (as though this dichotomous, rather than a spectrum), and, working for a newspaper that employs Aleks Krotoski, one of the foremost academics on the subject, turns to Wikipedia for the answer.
Is radio old or new media? The Wikipedia “new media” definition doesn’t mention radio at all, perhaps uncertain whether to lump it in with printing presses or mobile apps.
Then, in the final paragraph, there’s the assertion that the Desert Island Discs archive was opened last weekend. Of course, regular readers of the foremost newspaper for media coverage will know that the online archive actually launched last year.
In any other newspaper, this kind of article would be par for the course. But the Guardian isn’t any other newspaper: it’s one that should strive for first-class journalism, not lowest-common-denominator page-filling tosh like this. It’s really quite disappointing.