Audiocast: Is our news industry undermining the West?

July 21, 2017


Most weeks the podcast will involve Ayesha Hazarika and I sitting down with a guest or two to discuss that week’s top features on

Once a month or so, however, the brilliant Sean Glynn will be producing a much more structured interviews-based programme – not unlike BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programmes, which many of our British readers will be familiar with. Sean’s already working with the journalist Juliet Samuel on a programme for our second ‘deep dive’ series – ‘Capitalism on a knife-edge’.

Our first audio starts off with Lionel Shriver talking about her news-aholicism – and I hope you’ve already read her brilliant essay detailing her addiction. With the help of stellar guests such as broadcasters Jonathan Dimbleby and Justin Webb, and former Downing Street heads of communication Alastair Campbell and Craig Oliver, we examine my concern that the demands of 24/7 media are pulling politicians, business leaders and other public figures away from a focus on the long-term. And as I wrote in Thursday’s London Evening Standard, the eastern economies could be the big beneficiaries of our loss of focus:

“While, for example, Trump is tweeting about the media and the media is tweeting about him, China is organising its $900 billion One Belt, One Road series of infrastructure investments to encircle the globe. It has knitted old US allies into a new Pacific area free-trade zone. And it is beginning to show signs of winning the space race. In times when global power is shifting I recommend reading less news and more history.”

Michael Burleigh, one of UnHerd’s two resident historian columnists (Allan Mallinson being the other), has written about China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative for us today…. but before you read his piece have a listen to the audio documentary below. We discovered a large amount of consensus around the concern…

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