Des Freedman

The BBC and public service broadcasting

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By the time you read this, "Sachsgate" - the events that culminated in the suspension of two of the BBC's highest-profile presenters and the resignation of a senior radio executive - will have, in all likelihood, disappeared from the front pages of those newspapers that used it to paint a picture of moral decay with the BBC at its epicentre.

When Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left smutty messages on the answerphone of actor Andrew Sachs, this was seen as merely the latest example of the alleged collapse of BBC editorial standards, following the discovery of faked phone-ins, the re-editing of a documentary of the Queen in 2007 and the Hutton Inquiry into BBC newsgathering in 2004.

The New Blue Media

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Theodore Hamm, The New Press, £14.99

The premise of this interesting book is that the US political landscape has been transformed by the rise of progressive media figures like Michael Moore and Jon Stewart and innovative online sites like MoveOn.org and the Daily Kos. Motivated in particular by a fierce opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, this "new blue media" (blue, in the US context, refers to Democrats; red to Republicans) has helped to carve out a significant space in US political culture.

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