The Fourth (Fifth?) Estate and You
The greatest government watchdog is the mediaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Maria Miller joins the Unemployed for Fiddling Her Expenses
Many contributers on Hub Pages take on the mantle of being members of the Fourth Estate. Especially when they are political commentators. Most people know vaguely what the term means: there are the first two "Estates," Lords Temporal and Spiritual and, third, the House of Commons.*
Number 4, which concerns writers and specifically journalists, is the estate which has gained power in modern times making the press (and all media) in equal terms with the government - the 3rd Estate, the Commons. (In fact, even as far back as Oscar Wilde's time, he was saying the Fourth Estate was becoming the "only" real area of influence). This is why there is so much conflict with the press in Britain today, the press becoming all powerful and the government trying to draw their teeth in reports like Leveson.
(The Leveson Inquiry is a judicial public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the Britishpress following the News International phone hacking scandal, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson, who was appointed in July 2011. A series of public hearings were held throughout 2011 and 2012. The Inquiry published the Leveson Report in November 2012, which reviewed the general culture and ethics of the British media, and made recommendations for a new, independent, body to replace the existing Press Complaints Commission, which would be recognised by the state through new laws. Part 2 of the inquiry has been deferred until after criminal prosecutions regarding events at the News of the World)
Attributed to Wikipedia)
And this is why you see much unofficial collusion by the leading newspapers, like the Times, Mail, Mirror and the other 3 or 4 distribution leaders. You can sniff out their left, right or center bias, but it is buried often as the papers have found that "United we stand, divided we fall."
Presenting a united front in opposition to government efforts to limit the powers of the press has been largely successful, despite the blow received by the Murdoch scandal, echoes of which still reverberate throughout the media and did, indeed, result in one huge casualty, the powerful Murdoch vehicle, the News of the World, being forced into closure a couple of years ago. (The - by then tamed - scandal- rag was once known to all Brits as "The Screws of the World"). But the paper gradually moved away from smut when people with hard and soft ponography available on Uporn, etc., at the touch of a button, were bored about reading of who "did" what or to whom in a newspaper, "Heck, we're all at it!"
It was the demise of the very powerful and influential "News" that caused the closing of ranks by the other members of the leading print-press and the situation we have today.
The press scored a major victory today (April 9th 2014) with the resignation after two weeks of denial by the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, who was discovered to have concealed some £40,000 pounds in expenses...she eventually paid back only around £8,500 of this amount and apologized in a abbreviated and somewhat arrogant manner in the House. This appeased no one and as she was involved in Leveson, the press and, ipso facto, the public, sick of officials with their mucky paws in the cookie jar, set about her in no uncertain manner.
One can only look with some pity - plus revulsion - on the government today, composed as it is with about 95% public school and Oxbridge graduates. These usually verbose and facile administrators (learned in "public manipulation 101") picked from this track are told from the cradle to the grave that they are special, and that the world is their oyster if they appear to do a few hours work a day on behalf of the deluded who elect them. If you go to Oxford or Cambridge and favor politics, law or finance, etc., you soon find this to be true as you become part of a Freemason-like, powerful "Buddy System" who will help you until old age in every endeavour you attempt in life. This is why you find so many inept men and women in positions of some - or a lot of - power. No matter if you have the physical presence of a Blob Fish (see my article), and the mental acuity of Shrek; you are hooked on poontang, cross-dressing, gambling, fags, booze and the rest, your more able classmates with make sure you fit in somewhere..."Wanna be Culture Secretary, Flo?" The same critique applies to Royalty and many Bankers, etc., who all went to Eton/Harrow and Oxbridge.
We may soon find the "Fifth Estate," suggested in the movie about Wikileaks, becoming an ever more powerful reality, encompassing as it does the World Wide Web and all the riches and woes the Internet has brought to us all.
This writer was never a political journalist, far from it, my main forte was sports, with work as a entertaining columnist. But as beginning contributers will discover, the pen can be "mightier than the sword," and all they write will have influence on reader's thinking and/or knowledge, to a lesser or greater degree.
But as to what estate we all belong today, maybe to the new kid on the block, the Fifth, as well as the established Fourth, online bloggers have greater influence every day, although most will find it hard to make any money outside of true TV or Press journalism (wanna break in to mainstream media? Are you an Eton toff and an Oxbridge graduate? Yeah, there too!).
Paper and print media and books are still competing on more or less equal terms with the electronic media and publishing. To many, there is still nothing like the feel and convenience of a novel. Electronic readers cannot replace a fiction book for pleasure and convenience, unless the price of downloads drops considerably. Text books may be having a rougher time with all the sites like Wikipedia and online encyclopedias taking over and giving out the specific information students and reasearchers are seeking, without having to spend ££££'s on high-priced texts they will never need subsequently.
Amazon and Ebay, etc., provide access to used books in as new condition for a fraction of the bookshop prices, even when postage is factored in. But this wordsmith will admit to being a wee bit prejudiced and old fashioned in his outlook. I suppose kids born in this Millennium and in the future might get a Kimble reader, etc., at Christmas or for a very early birthday gift and might never buy a print publication again! Sad, say my generation.
So Mr and Ms noviate Contributer, glance down at your computer keyboard and reflect over the power throbbing at your fingertips that can be assembled from all those keys. Reading often, and avidly, will give you a life-time of pleasure: as will actually writing about a variety of subjects (more and more "stuff" is increasing the sum total of human knowledge and readers look for information about it). Someone once said a person could once "know" all available information in the world: but now, one person can't even "know" all there is to know about a blade of grass.
The one or two wonderful things about publishing, even in a modest way like on HP, is that you make friends and garner admirers (and critics of course). It is an art and a hobby and brings its own satisfaction even if the £.s.d. (big bucks) is lacking.
*Look the other "Estates" up online, they pretty boring and the House of Lords is a weary anachronism we all wish would fade and die.