On being ruled by the media

RBS, the bank that made some rather serious mistakes and was bailed out by the UK Government (read by the UK people), are in the news almost every day. Especially in the Daily Hate Mail, who blame the bank for everything.

They’ve not lent money to a business! So the headline screams. Although, of course, if they HAD done it and the business had subsequently failed the headlines would have read “RBS throwing tax-payers money down the drain” or something similar.

For a few weeks now, they (amongst other media) have sought to have the knighthood, awarded to Fred Goodwin (for services to the crisis, I suppose), the ex-boss of RBS and the leader at the time of the disastrous investments, revoked. They asked how it was possible that he kept his knighthood when the bank had to be rescued by the British taxpayer.

The call to strip Mr Goodwin became louder (in the media, that is). And, eventually, the deed was done.

But, one has to ask, without the shrilling of the media, would it have happened?

And, what purpose does this [revoking of the honour] possibly serve?

The media have a part to play in our life but, surely, not to run the country? This is similar to the call for the ban of dangerous dogs; ‘Sarah’s Law'; and a thousand and one other laws and decisions made on the back of the ‘call from the media’. Things that often, quite frankly, are wrong or, at the very least, waste time and money on something that does not work or is irrelevant.

But, I suppose, it distracts the average Joe from looking at real issues.

To me, not only is this trial by media wrong in every case but it also highlights a weak government, one that is reactive rather than proactive; one that thinks publicity (and good publicity, in particular) is everything.

As it is being pointed out (but more quietly), surely, if Mr Goodwin’s knighthood is ‘shredded’, so too should the honours and awards given to other bankers. After all, it was their industry as a whole that got us into this mess, not the actions of a single man.

I hate the idea of the world being run by the media who are, after all, there to sell papers or subscriptions or raise market share for their advertisers. No business really does something for the public good (unless there is money to be made from it) and the media are no exception to the rule.

But they seem to be the new rulers.