Sunset over Britain

By Scardino, Albert | The Nation, September 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Sunset over Britain


Scardino, Albert, The Nation


Freedom of expression, which ranks about nineteenth on the European list of human rights, may have been crippled for a generation or two in the crash that claimed Dodi Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales. It was an Englishman who wrote about first killing all the lawyers. Now British public sentiment, guided by the public relations expertise of Harrods, has switched to targeting independent journalists who work with a camera, the paparazzi. Attached to thousands of bouquets of flowers at Kensington Palace are bitter poems offering to protect the two young princes from those who have taken Diana's image for the last thee.

The anger is spreading. Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, would like to toss in the editors of tabloid newspapers. So would thousands of mourners. The editors buy the photos, so Spencer personally telephoned each of them to uninvite them to his sister's funeral. They all complied.

For the moment, the editors of the broadsheets have stayed quiet, since the fire is all directed elsewhere. Their turn may yet come when the critics realize that the only distinguishing feature between tab and "quality" papers, as the broadsheets are known, is not the subjects they cover but rather the way the paper is cut and folded at the end of the printing process.

Next will come owners of flagpoles who refused to lower their standards during the first week of September Come to think of it, the people in the street might place the non-half-masted-flagpole operators at the top of the list. "Off with her pole," they shouted at Buckingham Palace last week.

In the flood of grief there was no room for dissent. Men and women who only a week before had been embroiled in furious debate about the politics of Diana's land-mine crusade suddenly felt obliged to praise her campaign.

Nor was Diana only a domestic phenomenon. So when the hostility against the paparazzi and the tabloids and the non-believers washes across the Atlantic, it will search for new targets. The private lives of public officials may be one of the first subjects to become taboo. Diana's death could accomplish what Vince Foster's final plea could not, the setting of a new boundary to public inquiry, self-imposed by editors but every bit as effective as law. The public support that brought sunshine laws to Florida, freedom of information statutes to Washington and personal tax return disclosures to politicians everywhere met resistance all along the way. Those in authority would be grateful for the chance to turn back the clock.

In most of Europe, there has never been a guarantee of access to public records and public meetings, certainly not to public officials. The eastern half of the continent is only just now learning how to hold a press conference. Far from being free, speaking or printing critically can be very expensive, as libel and slander laws are heavily weighted in favor of the rich and powerful. In the United States there is no such thing as a wrong opinion. In Germany, France and other parts of the continent, some opinions can be not only wrong but also criminal, particularly if they suggest support for Nazism. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sunset over Britain
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.