Saturday, May 07, 2016

Toby Young on why he has not changed his mind about free schools

There are times when the way things get misrepresented in the MSM makes me want to scream, and Toby Young describes a classic example in a Spectator blog here.

He is stepping down as CEO of the trust which supports a group of free schools, all of which he regards as being very successful. He will remain a director of the trust.

Unfortunately The Evening Standard decided to put a headline on an article about his stepping down suggesting that he had said that "running a free school" was "harder than I thought" when he had not in fact said this, and the people who actually run the schools concerned are their respective head teachers. This has been taken by a large chunk of both the MSM and the internet commentariat that Young had changed his mind about the free school programme and was agreeing with its' critics when he has done nothing of the sort.

A very high proportion of people with strong political views are convinced that the media are biased against their own point of view - many tories think of the BBC as the "Bolshevic Broadcasting Corporation" and most lefties think that most of the media is hopelessly right wing.

This is partly because many of them have been on the wrong end of this kind of distortion.

My opinion for what it's worth is that this sort of thing is driven more by incompetence than bias and that bad journalism has given almost every part of the political spectrum just cause to fume at one point or another.

I think it was Bruce Forsythe who once pointed at the date on a newspaper, and said something like

"See that - it's the date. That's the one piece of information you can trust on any of 'em."

While that was said in jest, and I would not go that far, I think a degree of healthy scepticism about anything people read in a newspaper, see on TV, or indeed find on the internet is not a bad idea.

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