Catherine Bennett gets herself worked up into a lather over at THE GUARDIAN this weekend in an article entitled, "It's time to kick the clerics off the moral high ground" and subtitled, "We should drop our assumption that churchmen have an automatic right to be heard in this secular age."
She has a go at the bishops in our House of Lords, of course, and, although she says nothing new, she does have a valid point to make here, it does seem unfair. But then the bishops are just one of many unfair elements in the our second chamber.
However, the rest of what she says is just antitheist propaganda in which she employs such sloppy journalistic techniques that she would have trouble convincing a Sun reader who is just spent the whole of Saturday in the pub of the logic of her argument.
I left her a comment:
"Your comments about bishops in the House of Lords are perfectly valid. But claiming that clerics have an automatic right to be heard is just silly sour grapes on your part. You state yourself that the media go looking for bishops to get soundbites. The media are not forced to do this. Nor are the media, including The Guardian, forced to report something a bishop says and it rarely does unless what the bishop says might sell more newspapers. At the end of the day access to the media is all down to public demand. I think what you are really upset about is that there are still people who do want to hear what clerics say. I can understand your gripe as it's a hobby horse of yours. What I can't understand is why an Observer columnist would lower herself and use Daily Mail tactics to appeal to prejudice."
There is, in fact, something very sinister in what Bennett is campaigning for, and this was picked up by other commenters on the article's thread. In our country the media decides who to interview and quote. The only piece of legislation that I know of that overrules this is the law that states that each political party must be allowed a certain amount of media time during the year and especially before an election (this is carefully worked out with reference to the number of seats a party holds or is competing for). But Bennett seems to want Parliament to legislate against the media deciding for itself whose words it reports.
One of the accusations that the right wing is always flinging out is that liberals can be more fascist than they are. So it's bloody annoying when the Bennetts and Toynbees of the English liberal press prove that the right wing may actually be right about something for a change.
PTL I'm not a liberal.