I’m intrigued by Andrew Marr’s recent attack on blogging. For those who’ve missed his comments, here’s what he told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, as reported in the Telegraph:
“Most citizen journalism strikes me as nothing to do with journalism at all. A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people. … Most of the blogging is too angry and too abusive. It is vituperative. Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.”
It is not the rather tired cliche that bloggers are ugly geeks that surprises me — we’ve all gone for the cheap laugh at some point. No, it is Andrew Marr suddenly taking the moral high ground which I find a little, well, cheeky.
Cast your mind back just over a year, and you may remember a rumour which did the rounds of a handful of bloggers alleging that the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was dependent on prescription painkillers and pills. The story was not touched by a single reputable news outlet because there was not a shred of reliable evidence to support it.
But that didn’t stop Andrew Marr choosing to ask Mr Brown about it live on air on his Sunday morning show.
Perhaps next time Andrew Marr chooses to attack ‘abusive’ blogging he might also like to say why he’s happy to use unsourced rumours on blogs as a source for questions to the Prime Minister in a desperate bid to generate some controversy?