Of Dogs And Lamp Posts. And Journalists And Politicians

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Alexander Nekrassov writes from London: There’s no way elected politicians should ever be allowed to be newspaper columnists, or write articles on a regular basis in newspapers. It goes against the concept of a proper relationship between the media and politicians that in an ideal world should resemble the way a dog treats a lamp post. As in the dog urinating on the lamp post.

Dogs don’t lick lamp posts, or jump around them with joy, or marvel at the light that comes from them, or sleep beside them. When they see a lamp post, they approach it, sniff it, with deep suspicion, and then leave their mark on it before going on about their business.

That’s why every trainee reporter in the past had been told about one of the most important rules of journalism: you never get too friendly with politicians. It makes you look stupid and unprofessional. It actually discredits you. You might just as well get friendly with the mob. So when I see elected politicians writing their own columns in national newspapers, or writing regularly in them, I get really annoyed, especially when they pretend that it’s no big deal.

I’m sorry, but I disagree. It actually amounts to corruption on the part of the elected politicians in question. There is no other word for it. And it also amounts to a serious error of judgement on the part of the newspapers that allow politicians to promote themselves for free and plug their nasty agendas.

Elected politicians should not be allowed to manipulate the media. They should be monitored by the media on a permanent basis. They should be attacked by the press at the first sign of showing serious incompetence or demonstrating preferential treatment of some big boys from the world of finance or business.

In fact, politicians should be constantly hounded by the media, because they deserve it. Once they have decided to become politicians, they made their choice of not having a private life. An elected politician has no right for a private life – he lost it once he became a servant of the people.

Modern politicians have lost all sense of proportion and that is why they should be watched round the clock by journalists and the moment they make an error of judgement, as they call corruption nowadays, should pounce on them and tear them to shreds, like a pack of dogs.

Pissing on them would not be enough anymore. It’s time to call tem to account the moment they only start thinking of bending the rules. Otherwise they will cause even more mayhem and chaos. Take them out – that should be the command given to the press-hounds.

We’ve seen already what this cosy friendship between politicians and the press can result in. Governments across the world have been getting away with murder. Take the British press: initially blinded by Tony Blair, it didn’t see anything wrong with him, even though it was crystal clear that he was not suited to be at 10 Downing Street at all.  The press was actually attacking the opposition that had been wiped out in 1997. While Blair and his people were dismantling Britain and throwing its constitution to the dogs, hacks were busy mocking the policies of the Shadow Cabinet.

It was beyond belief. It was as if British journalists lost it completely. Were they ever actually trained as journalists? Because the basic rule of proper journalism states that you go after ALL politicians, while paying special attention to the ones in power. You don’t trust any ministers. The moment they open their mouths, you shout: ‘You’re lying to us, aren’t you?’

Journalists should always treat politicians with hostility. They should remember that comparison to the dog and the lamp post when they get an idea to snuggle up at the feet of some ‘servant of the people’. They should know that they are betraying their profession when they get friendly with political rulers. And when they see that politicians start writing regularly in newspapers and appearing regularly in TV shows, they should mock and ridicule them the best they can.

Politicians should be kept away from the press as far as possible. It’s that simple.

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