Amol Rajan: The media is a propaganda outlet for Royal Family

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Amol Rajan
Friday 24 August 2012 10:00
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No subject in the history of journalism has generated as much stupidity and sycophancy as the British Royal family. The whole point of journalism is to be a sceptical observer; to ask "What is really going on here?" and "Is that true"? And yet, when it comes to our absurd monarchy, journalists are so bamboozled by aristocratic wealth that they can only portray a confected picture to their audience. In other words, they substitute propaganda where journalism should be.

For instance, have you noticed that you never, ever see a picture of Catherine Middleton on the front pages when she isn't smiling and looking gorgeous, in some delightful floral print dress, at a charity polo match or some such? Now Mrs Wales – spare us from the "Duchess of Cambridge" – is a beautiful lady, and does noble work. But like the rest of us she is prone to bad moods and bad breath, and doesn't look her best on a hangover. You wouldn't know that from media coverage of her. What you get is an idol, not a person.

There is a sub-species of this journalistic failing, which involves intelligent people writing silly things. Peter Oborne scolded Prince Harry in The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

"He knows how to behave. He went to Sandhurst… Furthermore, the Royal Family has spent time and money [some of it ours]… providing him and his brother with very serious advisers".

Hilarious! I fell off my chair laughing. Peter went on to argue that Harry had violated his duty to both the Army and the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas, or Windsors, as they renamed themselves out of embarrassment at their Teutonic roots.

Does anything capture the absurdity of a hereditary monarchy quite like a telling off in the Telegraph for a posh aristo who stripped off in Vegas at a pool party – on the grounds that as a product of Eton, Sandhurst, and the marriage of Charles Windsor and Diana Spencer, with expensive advisers, he knows how to behave ?

I have absolutely nothing against Prince Harry, or Prince William, or Catherine Middleton, or the Queen. Other royals, particularly Prince Philip and the scientifically illiterate Prince Charles, who champions policies that would lead to the murder by starvation of millions of Africans, I dislike. I also have great and growing respect for the Armed Forces.

But scolding posh aristos for partaking in strip billiards is a sign of the emotional infancy of a people too cowardly to vote for their head of state.

Follow @amolrajan

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