Almost no alternative media site offers original news reporting. Wikileaks, for example, provides not news, but carefully screened stolen documents, including some that may be doctored or entirely fraudulent.
True, some in the alt. media world occasionally make some actual news gathering effort. Matt Drudge made a lightening visit to Afghanistan in the opening days of the American assault on that country with laughably trivial results in reportable news. Webster Tarpley recently spent a couple of days reporting from Libya. But collectively, the alt. media news gathering effort is essentially nil.
The MSM provide more than just news, however. Opinion is cheaper than news and the MSM is full of it. Here the alt. media provide real competition, some of which may be enlightening. Yet much, probably most, comment in the alt. media is ill-informed, paranoid or outright insane -- proving that George H. W. Bush is a reptilian extra-terrestrial being one amusing example.
The questionable value of alt. media commentary is a common feature not only of the work of unknown bloggers, but of people who might be expected to make some sense. Former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray (CM), for example, whose blog caters to a bizarre collection of Communists, settler immigrants, Anglophobic racists, Muslim proselytizers and other oddities.
Among the oddities, was occasionally to be found the worthy Canspeccy attempting to engage with advocates of various bizarre ideas in the belief that it could be fruitful to attempt rational debate on the Internet. But I have now, it seems, been banned from commenting on craigmurray.org.uk, which is perhaps as well, since there are surely being better things to do with what remains of my one and only life.
However, inasmuch as I am inclined to devote time to scribbling on the Internet, craigmurray.org.uk offers a fascination source of nonsense for examination.
Here, for example, is Craig Murray writing today about the recent UK riots and, in general, on Britain's current social and economic difficulties.
... In both public and private organisations, the earnings differential between the highest and lowest paid should be limited by law to a factor of four, including the effect of all non-salary perks and benefits. ... Will Hutton has been promoting a factor of ten in the public sector – that is far too wide an equality gap.My response to this, which failed to pass "moderation" was:
The first half dozen paragraphs of this post are excellent. Nicely written. Punchy. To the point.To quote further, Murray wrote:
But the rest is totally nuts.
"the earnings differential between the highest and lowest paid should be limited by law to a factor of four ..."
Exit the financial services industry, which accounts for 9.4% of Britain's GDP, produces a 25 billion pound annual trade surplus and pays a quarter of all corporate taxes.
For that matter, exit pretty well all relatively senior business people, professionals and civil servants, including ambassadors, for better paid opportunities abroad. Or will the Murrayite Socialist Republic have a wall around it like East Germany?
There are quite sensible and simple solutions to poverty and ignorance, but recreating a Soviet-style system in Britain is not one of them.
It is the widespread acceptance of the idea that all problems must be solved by a further expansion of a monstrous bureaucracy (which already consumes more than half the wealth of the country) that is destroying Britain.
But I suppose one last push by the Commies for total control of everything might be useful inasmuch as it will hasten the day of the counter-revolution.
... [the] wish to promote worker partnership and cooperatives needs to be given concrete form by legislation forcing all companies to give truly significant – I am thinking around forty per cent – shareholdings to employees.Oh, dear! exit all footloose corporations from the UK.
[If one] really wants to roll back the excesses of the last thirty years, then natural monopolies like the utilities companies and the railways need to be returned fully to public ownership. PFI should be discontinued and all PFI assets nationalised without compensation.Oh dear! again. Murray, I suppose, is too young to remember what a crap state Britain's major industries were in the last time they were nationalized. I actually worked for one of them, The Central Electricity Generating Board, at their Research Centre on the Campus of the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Capenhurst in Chester -- next to the uranium enrichment plant.
In some ways, it was a great place to work. My colleagues were smart people. During the year that I spent there, I shared an office with a physicist and a chemist from whom I learned more useful science than during the three previous years I'd wasted in university obtaining a PhD.
The pay was good. Whether it exceeded four times the then average wage I am not sure, but my starting salary, at the age of 23, was twice that of a university assistant lecturer. And the conditions of work were excellent. When I traveled on business, a secretary obtained first-class rail tickets for me and arranged a taxi to take me to the station.
The thing was, though, that the entire project was absurd. Our objective? To find ways to increase the national demand for electricity.
But CM's economic vision extends even more widely.
There is of course much else, of which limiting banking transactions to the actual funding of purchase of property, goods and services, rather than gambling on future values of those things, is perhaps the most important.Well, I suppose that's OK since the banking sector will pretty well have abandoned Britain due to the cap on incomes, so no new ex-migration of capital, technology or talent can be expected to come from this. And I suppose the Government could restore the Post Office's role as a savings bank. Probably a post office manager can still be had for less than four times the average wage.
But why not simply impose sensible controls on private credit creation and then allow the market to work within that framework? The banking industry worked well under post 1929-crash regulations until those regulations were idiotically or criminally repealed. The obvious thing is to restore those regulations. But to rely on a market mechanism operating within a sensible framework of laws, when you can impose government micro-management on every aspect of business activity is, I suppose, anathema to an advocate of Soviet-style Utopia.
Under CM's "radical reforms" the average wage will, incidentally, be much lower than now, not only because half of Britain's companies will have packed up and gone offshore driving the country into the deepest of economic depressions, but simply because by eliminating salaries more than four times the present average, the average will be greatly reduced.