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The can you, should you, ask that question conundrum

Job losses in journalism cartoon © Matt Buck Hack Cartoons

Recession, job losses and hard times in journalism cartoon © Matt Buck Hack Cartoons

Kudos to Paul Murphy at the FT’s excellent Alphaville blog for spotting one of the more amusing examples of don’t-mention-the-economic-war.

The scene, the London School of Economics and a debate on journalists’ reporting of the financial crisis. The implicit questions (my emphasis), whether reporters should be allowed to ask awkward questions* to those in power during difficult times and, whether journalists are actually able to do this. The second question relates to the the size and power of the financial industry’s public relations operations compared to the resources of commercial or even state-funded journalism.

On stage at the event were reporters Evan Davis and Robert Peston of the BBC, Alex Brummer of the Daily Mail, Gillian Tett of the FT as well as Lib-Dem MP Vince Cable, and economist Willem Buiter. In the moderators chair and keeping an expert eye on proceedings, Sir Howard Davies, head of the LSE itself.

Hang on. Could that be the same Howard Davies who was the first head of the Financial Services Authority in the UK, appointed in the time of the iron chancellor Gordon Brown? Why! It could.

Shouldn’t a man like that, who has also been a recent Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, have been answering questions from the reporters instead of presiding over an analysis of the relatively powerless scribblers and their activities?

Charlie Beckett has a match report and journalism.co.uk, analyses events here too. I am looking forward to hearing the post game punditry from Howard Davies.

* ie. straight ones.

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