Blogging and power

Interesting comment by Peter Preston on the BBC’s Business Editor, Robert Peston.

On both sides of the Atlantic, destitute bankers are looking round for someone to blame. ‘Did the media spook the market?’ asked Tina Brown’s new website ( on day one. British political journalists, testifying to a Lords committee, said Peston had ‘played an instrumental role’ in the story. And the Daily Mail, of course, took to the warpath, demanding: ‘Does this BBC man have too much power?’

One answer came fast from the Mail’s own political editor, talking to their Lordships. ‘More power to his elbow, if he’s the journalist leading the charge, good for him,’ said Ben Brogan warmly.

But pause, for a moment at least, and take cautious stock.

The Peston tale that spooked the City last week wasn’t even a broadcast to begin with. It started as a blog. Peston is prolific, blogging continually between studio shuttles. He can write three or four quick blogs a day, telling the net world what’s going on. It’s a brilliant service, where one thing goes with another. He’s a voracious newshound. The BBC has special salience and special clout. All that training comes specially trustworthy.

Yet the wire grows higher and higher. Blogs don’t go through anxious committees of editors, pondering deeply. They are self-publication, performed at the double.

Their speed is part of their attraction, and we’ve reached a stage where one man at his terminal can rain billions over Britain.