Saturday, 1 September 2012


The first in an occasional series of misused words where it matters.

Peter Mandelson is quoted as bewailing “… the fact that the internet is giving public access to uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news, all in the name of free speech …”

I agree (more or less) with the sentiment, and I don’t want to engage in the important debate about the available remedies, because this is about Use of English (which used to be an O level subject, and should still be).  So with which of his words am I taking issue?
That’s right.  “News.” 


  1. Sorry - is the discussion of available remedies (presumably not something you get from the chemist this time) and therefore about the "Use of English" something that will make the difference between whether you get a C or a D for English? Because to some people in this country that is a far more important question. After all, everyone knows that the internet is the least trustworthy source you can find. (Look at Wikipedia, for example.)

  2. A large part of that quote could be condensed into the single word, rumour. And then you could substitute 'free speech' for "the internet" and cut out the last phrase and then he wouldn't have needed to misuse "news" at all.