There is a deep-seated malaise at the heart of what we call journalism but is really just the promotion of elite interests through the entertainment corporations that we call the media.
The illusion that the media somehow represent us is deeply ingrained in us – and for a reason. The ones telling us throughout our lives that the media are the Fourth Estate have been … the media corporations.
But there are moments when the illusion is particularly hard to sustain. And one of those moments occurred yesterday when Stephanie Flanders, the BBC’s economics editor since 2008 – that is, the person who has shaped the BBC’s economics coverage for the past five years – announced that she was leaving the corporation to join the the investment bank JP Morgan (the same JP Morgan that pays millions to Tony Blair each year).
In a revealing press release, Flanders said: “In many ways, I will be doing the same thing at J.P. Morgan Asset Management that I have been doing at the BBC…”
Yes, of that there can be little doubt. In fact, Flanders has been doing “the same thing” for most of her career, it seems. Before she joined the BBC, and before that the New York Times, she was “a speech writer and senior advisor to US Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers during the Clinton Administration”. That is, the banking criminals who contributed in significant measure to the destruction of western economies and the transfer of ordinary Americans’ wealth to the economic elite who really run the US.
So no conflict of interest for the BBC or the NYT in hiring her to a position in which she should be – but obviously hasn’t been – holding the economic elite to account. The reality is that there is no conflict of interest because the BBC’s interests – like those of other mainstream media – are indistinguishable from those of the 1%.
(h/t Media Lens)