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All the news that fits

In today’s Financial Times, Chris Dunkley laments the inability of television news to present a critical assessment of the news. In his view, “television is settling for the mass while the more serious aspects of the medium are quietly forgotten”.

Pertinent to the debate in weblog circles about the value of professional journalism is Dunkley’s reiteration of Lord Northcliffe‘s dictum: “news is something that somebody somewhere wants suppressed and all the rest is advertising”.

A good man

Stan Fischer, the long-serving number two at the International Monetary Fund, yesterday announced he would be leaving the Fund later this year. The IMF is frequently slated by critics of globalisation, but Fischer has been in the forefront of moves to reform the institution.

In his press conference yesterday, it was telling that he cited the increasing transparency of the IMF as one of the most satisfying aspects of his seven years at the Fund.

Although he’s an American citizen, Fischer was born in what is now Zambia, and his deep interest in Africa — and southern Africa in particular — marked his stay in Washington in wholly notable ways. He’ll be a hard act to follow.


The most novel website covering the UK election is Tactical Voter. Because there are three signficant political parties in Britain, tactical voting can have a major impact. In the 1997 election, by all accounts, voters in the centre and on the left were determined to get rid of the Tories. So in constituencies where the Liberal Democrats were the most viable opposition to the Conservatives, they voted Lib Dem. In constituencies where there was a Labour-Conservative battle, Labour got the vote.

The electoral map in Britain means there are virtually no real contests between Labour and the Lib Dems, so the centre left could theoretically mobilise to virtually wipe out the Conservatives. The threat is real enough that the Conservative party is apparently checking to see whether Tactical Voter violates electoral law.

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