Spirited defence of The Independent

Peter Kellner robustly defends his paper against Blair's attack.

Simon Kelner: Would you be saying this, Mr Blair, if we supported your war in Iraq?
As the only representative of the multifarious British media mentioned by name, it's hard not to be flattered. Or, indeed, vindicated - our principled opposition to his policy on Iraq (or the Middle East as he quaintly put it: note he couldn't refer to Iraq by name) has clearly exasperated him. But that misses the point. We are unabashed about the way in which The Independent has evolved, although we would point out that this newspaper was not established as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views, but as an antidote to proprietorial influence and narrow political allegiance.
And Simon Carr adds his rejection of Blair's thesis:
There were quite a number of questionable assertions in his argument. This cynicism, for instance, where does that come from? The media? Or from politicians themselves? Fiddled statistics, waste, partisan abuse, mutual blame, twisting of facts and quotes, deceptions, disasters and dishonesties. That's what they say about each other in any representative day in Parliament.And why is Parliament not considered more important, he asked. His answer: because of "the way it is reported. Or not reported".

There are many reasons why Parliament is not considered more important, but reporting is not one of them. If he were right, the Parliament channel would attract more viewers than the 68 misfits and obsessives who tune in to it.For 90 per cent of the time they are open for business, the debating chambers of the Commons are 90 per cent empty. MPs aren't interested in what goes on in Parliament; isn't that more significant than how the media present it? And why are they not interested? Maybe it's the junk legislation that fills the days and nights in the House. So many laws pass through like sewage through the system in order to "send a message" to society (a novel interpretation of what laws are).
'Opinion and fact should be clearly divisible' says Blair. It would make a fine epitaph.