Two weeks before publication of The Return of the Public and the reviews are starting to appear. Boyd Tonkin in the Independent thought the book’s critique was ‘marked by a sombre and scathing rhetoric that recalls the Frankfurt School critique of thinkers such as Adorno and Marcuse’, which makes it sound much more difficult to read than it is. I hope. On the other hand, Tonkin thinks my positive proposals are ‘rather technical’ and ‘fanciful’.
(In case you are wondering, they aren’t)
Meanwhile John Lloyd in the Financial Times also thinks that my proposals are unrealistic, on grounds that again don’t entirely convince. But he acknowledges that there is a deep and deepening problem with the news media. His response to this problem is to repeat the argument of his book What the Media Are Doing to Our Politics – that ‘we must just try harder’. I think most journalists try pretty hard already – the problem derives from the structures in which they work and the incentives and restrictions those structures create. As far as I am see the structural changes I propose are fairly straightforward to implement and would have a beneficial effect on precisely the problems he and I can both see.
The Return of the Public is not published until October 11th, it can already be bought at Amazon in the UK. There is no concrete evidence behind the rumours that the Coalition is planning to suppress the book on account of its emancipatory potential, as far as I know.
But it might be sensible to buy multiple copies at this early stage, anyway.
Incidentally, the book does not look like this –
whatever Amazon may try to claim.