Tabloid idiocy

The thing I detest most about the British tabloid press is its sanctimonious stupidity. It is written by people who couldn’t run a bath, have no experience of any organisational life and to whom the notion of systemic failure is entirely alien, yet who never fail to search for ‘the guilty men’ whenever there is a complex organisational failure. The publication of the two reports into the 7/7 London bombings has called forth another orgy of this retrospective sanctimoniousness. Why didn’t the security services detect the plot? Why was Siddique Khan not monitored more closely? Etc., etc… Henry Porter has an intelligent take on this:

The press is having it both ways: it must be illogical in one set of circumstances to condemn the credulity of intelligence officers while in another to attack them for not acting on every piece of information received, however peripheral it seems. Having sat through the inquiry into David Kelly’s death and read Lord’s Hutton’s report with disbelief, I am disposed to a sceptical line on government reports.

But the two accounts of the 7 July bombings and the intelligence failure do not have the glare of whitewash, nor the slightest glimmer of it. They seem to provide an accurate picture of what happened and the difficulties faced by the security services and Special Branch. What Siddique Khan and his three companions planned was essentially unknowable. …