When My Black Cat made her recent exclamation, she was well aware of how The Media Standards Trust came into being. After all, the information is available on the Media Standards Trust website for everyone to read.
It was the idea of Sir David Bell, Chairman of the Financial Times. It came to him when he was at a conference in Leeds in 2003.
Those attending the conference came from varied backgrounds ie not only from the media but from business, law, the police and interestingly, medicine. The MST website reports that those present seemed to think the media had become powerful but was neither transparent nor accountable and that the quality of news content was deteriorating.
The media contingency at the conference felt misunderstood.
“Those within the media felt those outside did not understand that news was going through a revolution, and that at the end of it all news organisations would have to be more transparent and accountable if they were to survive.
Both agreed that in the midst of this revolution standards were deteriorating. Journalists, short of time and money, were being asked to turn around more stories, in less time, on more platforms. News was becoming more inaccurate as a result. They were coming to rely more heavily on press releases and public relations material. They did not have the resources to pursue investigations.”
What then happened is interesting.
A little subgroup consisting of four people was formed. They were to go out and seek the opinions of others in the media and the general public. Over a period of two years, the opinion of 500 people was sought and nearly everyone thought the same.
It is not clear whether these four people attended the conference.
It is not clear whose opinions these four people sought, what format the questions took or the contents of the final report.
Suffice it to say on asking around during The Witching Hour, no-one in the witching community seems to have been asked – not witches, black cats or broomstick makers. But then we might have skewed the results.
My Back Cat, being a suspicious soul, thinks that the cross section of the type of people they say attended the original conference, suggests Common Purpose may have held it. However, I have told her we have no evidence of this and have reinforced to her that we are only accepting Grade A1 and Grade A2 criteria – i.e. information obtained from Julia Middleton’s book “Leading Beyond Authority” or from documentation definitely originating from Common Purpose e.g. a common purpose website. We will also accept information from websites which are clearly intertwingled with Common Purpose, for example, The Media Standards Trust website.
So, My Black Cat, you can think what you like, but we will not regard these joyrides of your imagination as evidence!
However, the four people who went out into the wilderness to seek the opinion of others were key figures within the Common Purpose outfit, of that there is no doubt.
Sir David Bell – Quoted in Julia Middleton’s Book “Leading Beyond Authority” and Chairman of Common Purpose International. (Evidence Level A1 and A2)
Julia Middleton – Wrote the Book “Leading Beyond Authority” and is Founder and Chief Executive of Common Purpose (Evidence Level A1 and A2)
Sir Cyril Chantler – Quoted in Julia Middleton’s Book “ Leading Beyond Authority” (Evidence Level A1)
Robert Peston – Mentioned in Common Purpose Website (Evidence Level A2)
So, you can see what is driving My Black Cat’s imaginary joy-ride.