Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

British Blogs Flex Their Muscle: The blogosphere has been relative slow to flex its muscles in the U.K. to the extent that it has in the U.S., but the recent saga of John Prescott suggests that British politics might be about to experience a “Dan Rather” moment.

According to The Guardian, “Bloggers have basked in a higher profile than ever before in the scandal over Prescott’s links with U.S. billionaire Philip Anschutz. Prescott himself has suggested the scandal has been a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign fronted by bloggers, their strings pulled by journalists or Conservative Central Office.”

The reality appears to be that Prescott, the deputy prime minister, entered into some at least shady and at worst corrupt dealings with Anschutz, a conservative Christian who owns the Millennium Dome monstrosity in London and wants permission to turn it into a giant casino. The mainstream media ran the story, the Blair government more or less ignored it, and citizen journalists—believing Prescott was being given a free pass—kept the story alive in their usual, inimitable and not particularly decorous style.

Prescott recently told BBC interviewer John Humphrys of his bewilderment at the blog attacks: “'I think it’s called the internet or something—blogs is it?—I don’t know, I’ve only just got used to letters John, I haven’t got used to all this new technology.” He’s almost certainly being disingenuous, but if his ignorance is sincere, he and his colleagues would do well to learn quickly, if U.S. experience is any guide.

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