The Archbishop of Canterbury on Wednesday night attacked the media, accusing journalists of distorting debate and contributing to a climate of national cynicism. In his speech at Lambeth Palace, Dr Rowan Williams accused journalists in print, radio, tv and the internet of "conspiring against public understanding". The archbishop said: "We need to deflate some of the rhetoric about the media as 'guardians and nurturers' of democracy simply by virtue of the constant exposure of 'information' and we need to be cautious about a use of 'public interest' language that ignores the complexity and, often, artificiality of our ideas of 'the public'. " He accused the media of manipulating fear, exhibiting violent conflict between people for entertainment, and living off internal feuds: "Corrupt speech, inflaming unexamined emotion, reinforcing division, wrapped up in its own performance, leaves us less human: fewer things are possible for us. Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow." His attack included national newspapers which "communicate as if every reader ... shared the same fundamental values, preferences and anxieties", broadcasters for their obsession with breaking news, and weblogs which indulge in "paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry". Dr Williams said that journalists were drawn from too narrow a class, educational and ethnic base. He said that they were too London-based and had "a strong tribal identity which may be pretty far removed from the specific local and civic loyalties that form the raw material of serious discursive politics." The archbishop said: "A flourishing, morally credible media is a vital component in the maintenance of genuinely public talk, argument about common good. "Such talk is not in rich supply just now and it is only fair to ask what share of responsibility the media has for this. But ... societies to some extent have the media they deserve and license." Source: ACN
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