Extraordinary outburst by Andrew Marr at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.
“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.
OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.
It is fantastic at times but it is not going to replace journalism.”
Responding to a question from his audience at Cheltenham Town Hall he added: “Most of the blogging is too angry and too abusive. It is vituperative.”
Oh dear, oh dear. And there I was thinking that Marr was an interesting and thoughtful chap. Apart from the absurdity of someone as plug-ugly as Marr complaining about the physical appearance of others, I’m reminded of the sneering of Dan Rather’s Crossfire producer at the “guys in pyjamas” who dared to question the accuracy of Rather’s journalism.
Remember what happened to Rather? I wonder if Marr does? It’s a sobering story of what happens to mainstream journalists who become complacent and lazy. Until today, I had thought that Marr was better than that.
LATER: Krishnan Guru Murthy has some sensible comments on this. I also wondered if Marr has actually read any serious blogs. One charitable explanation of his strange outburst is that he’s confusing bloggers with the anonymous commenters who are the scourge of the Guardian and other sites which allow anonymous commenting.
Today I heard a recording of his remarks at Cheltenham. He sounded, in a way, like a guy playing a gullible (and adulatory) audience for cheap laughs. His first stab at “bloggers” raised a titter, so he pushed ahead, at each point waiting for the next laugh.