Andrew Marr: Blogged Off

Does Andrew Marr have a book to sell? A programme to promote? A product to push perhaps? Not to my knowledge, but why else would anyone make such alienating remarks about such a wide group of people?

The broadcaster won’t be welcome on the internet again, according to yesterday’s press, after dismissing bloggers as “socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements.”

In an interview at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, discussing the growing influence of citizen journalism and blogs, he claimed that most bloggers, were “very angry” people. The BBC presenter apparently said the that citizen journalists will never replace real news, dismissing their contribution as ‘spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night’. Nice.

“OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the… rantings of very drunk people late at night. It is fantastic at times but it is not going to replace journalism.”

His words unsuprisingly prompted an angry response online: “Andrew Marr is a dinosaur who needs to come into the 21st century”. Political blogger Paul Staines, who runs the Guido Fawkes site, hit back by describing Mr Marr as a “jug-eared old man sitting in Auntie’s basement.” Others said Marr was wrong to tar all blogs with the same brush.

One thing that adds fuel to this fire is that the BBC itself has more than 100 blogs on its own news website and encourages readers to send in their thoughts. Sunny Hundal, of the political blog Liberal Conspiracy, said he was “projecting his own biases rather than reflecting the breadth of [bloggers]. “It’s a curious remark coming from a journalist who used the ‘rumours on the internet’ excuse when asking Gordon Brown if he was popping pills. Marr clearly reads political blogs and even absorbs the rumours. So it’s absurd to turn around and caricature them now.”

Anyone who has published their thoughts online will know that, unrestrained by anonymity, bloggers and comment board regulars can be a notoriously aggressive bunch – present company excluded of course. But he must have been on the receiving end of some serious criticism to make comments like that.

That’ll be nothing compared to this backlash…

Gemma Carey, Bluewood Training Ltd –

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