Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Simon Kelner: Would you be saying this, Mr Blair, if we supported your war in Iraq?

"Most days The Independent speaks for itself. We like to think that we do our little bit to make sense of an often bewildering world. But today is different: our editorial approach, and the values that underpin it, have come under attack from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

In a wide-ranging speech on politics and the media, he singled out this newspaper as a metaphor for the corrosive relationship between the public and the body politic, and on behalf of our journalists, and more particularly our readers, we felt it would be wrong to let his assertions go unchallenged......

As the only representative of the multifarious British media mentioned by name, it's hard not to be flattered. Or, indeed, vindicated - our principled opposition to his policy on Iraq (or the Middle East as he quaintly put it: note he couldn't refer to Iraq by name) has clearly exasperated him. But that misses the point. We are unabashed about the way in which The Independent has evolved, although we would point out that this newspaper was not established as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views, but as an antidote to proprietorial influence and narrow political allegiance......."

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