I love the sentence "The message has been disintermediated." What a pithy way to sum up the situation today, when people can access news and information that goes far, far beyond the predictable slant of most newspaper and television news.
Peter Wilby thinks I'm "a fool". According to the former editor of the New Statesman: "The online success of Daniel Hannan's speech about Gordon Brown to the European Parliament - it reached the top of YouTube's 'Most Viewed' list and has 'gone viral' - proves what we knew: the internet lacks quality control."
Yup. That's the thing about the internet: it turns the quality filters off. Until very recently, few of us could get political news direct from source. It had to be interpreted for us by a BBC man with a microphone or a newspaper's political correspondent. Now, though, people can make their own minds up. The message has been disintermediated.
It is striking that those who seem most upset by the development - pundits such as Mr Wilby and The Guardian's Michael White - tend to be on the Left. Perhaps they sense that the Left has the most to lose. What Mr Wilby seems to mean when he complains that the internet "lacks quality control" is not that my speech was ungrammatical or shoddily constructed, but that its content was disagreeable. The quality filters he evidently has in mind would screen out points of view that he considers unacceptable: that taxes are too high, that present borrowing levels are unsustainable, that Britain would flourish outside the EU, that we could do more to repatriate illicit migrants.
This is, of course, why some members of Congress here in America periodically talk about reinstating the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." The president is not in favor of that, though, so unless the Democrats try to sneak legislation of this variety in under some other name, chances are that the "Fairness Doctrine" will stay on the shelf--for now.
But I can imagine that as the new mandate to redefine marriage sweeps through more liberal judiciaries, more than a few liberals, especially those in Congress, are going to wish that the Fairness Doctrine were still in force. It's going to be pretty hard to indoctrinate the people into laying down their religious freedoms and clapping for Jack and Jim, or for Jill and Jane; the people are probably going to complain, and a lot of that complaining is going to be via the new media sources: websites, blogs, video-sharing sites, and the like.
Meanwhile, the solemn pontificators of the liberal party line are teetering; even the New York Times is fearful of its survival. These liberal voices won't, of course, examine the possibility that maybe the people are tired of being spoon-fed mindless liberal mush explaining why gay marriage is super-terrific but Christians who homeschool are a shady bunch, much to be feared; no, the decline in circulation is because too many uppity pajama-clad citizens think they can offer news and opinions without a deferential nod in the direction of the Gray Lady, and the absence of enforced fairness means the Times just can't compete with...total amateurs who do this sort of thing for fun.
Because, fret the major news organizations, the Internet writers lack "quality control." Or just plain control, as Hannan says.