Can the Guardian become Britain's Establishment newspaper? John Lloyd, author of an illuminating book on the media and politics, thinks the paper's editor, Alan Rusbridger, is on the verge of achieving that goal. Really? The Spectator's Stephen Glover doubts the day will ever come:

To change the deep-seated culture of a paper is not an easy thing. It is not simply a matter of asking reporters to be objective. If the Guardian is to appeal to a wider spectrum of readers and to become the paper of the establishment, it will have to tone down or get rid of some of its Dave Sparts while importing a few old farts in the process. Whether Mr Rusbridger can bring about such a transformation — and whether he really wants too — must be a little doubtful.

Even if he could, there is a deeper question. What about the readers? The Guardian is the newspaper of teachers, lecturers, social workers, middling government employees. Its pages bulge with government job advertising on which it has a virtual (and indefensible) monopoly. Is it really feasible for it to continue to appeal to its traditional readers while stretching out its hand to members of the establishment — mandarins, lawyers, the higher clergy, senior businessmen and the like? John Lloyd argues in his piece that the establishment has moved to the Left, and he may be right about this. But has it moved so far?

If Lloyd is correct, then we're in deeper trouble than I thought. I still like aspects of the Grauniad (I used to write arts pieces for it years ago. Come to think of it, I also did a few shifts as a reporter when Melanie Phillips was news editor - that really was another century). Although most of its US coverage is hopelessly shrill, it still runs thoughtful contrarian pieces now and again. Glenn Reynolds has a column; they even allow Charles Krauthammer through the door sometimes. What really caught my eye in Glover's piece was the reference to Rusbridger's own politics ("He himself is not a man of the Left; he simply happens to have edited a centre-left paper for some ten years.") It must take a very odd constitution to be able to sit in front of stuff like this, day in, day out, if you don't belong to the Left. I wonder how he does it?
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/top-peoples-paper-can-guardian-become.html|||1/21/2005 01:52:00 pm|||||||||