Jon Snow: Broadcasters should have been more 'robust' over Brexit

Broadcasters should have been 'far more robust with the truths and the lies' of the Brexit debate ahead, Channel Four news anchor Jon Snow has told the Edinburgh International Televisoon Festival.

Wednesday, 23rd August 2017, 7:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:54 am
Channel Four news anchor Jon Snow opened the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

At the flagship MacTaggart Lecture, which opened the three-day event, Snow told hundreds of industry delegates that the media has become too cosy with “the elite."

He recalled the Brexit debate as a “ghastly period in which empty vessels and overloaded egos have been allowed to wallow about the stage too often unchallenged.”

Snow said he believed the modern-day British media was “far too removed” from those on the “wrong side of the terrible divide that exists in present-day society” in the UK. He said there was "little awareness, contact or connection with those not of the elite.”

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Snow added: “Never have we been more accessible to the public nor in some ways more disconnected from the lives of others.”

Snow said the Grenfell Tower tragedy had taught him a “harrowing lesson” that he thought he had learned but perhaps forgotten.

He said: “We’d better accept we are all in this together, all of us in this room ARE, by definition, part of the elite. Yet I believe that we have, by the nature of our business, an obligatino to be aware of, connect with, and understand the lives, concerns and needs of those who are not.”

He added: “In that moment (of the Grenfell Tower disaster) I felt both disconnected and frustrated. I felt on the wrong side of the terrible divide that exists in present day society and in which we are all in this hall, major players.

"We can accuse the political classes for their failures, and we do. But we are guilty of them ourselves. We are too far removed from those who lived their lives in Grenfell and who, across the country, now live on amid the combustible cladding, the lack of sprinklers, the absence of centralised fire alarms and more, revealed by the Grenfell Tower.”

Addressing the growth of so-called fake news, Snow said Facebook had a “moral duty to prioritise veracity over reality” jnstead of prioritising “fakery on a massive scale” which he said threatened democracy around the world.

He admitted too few questions have been asked by news organisations, including his own, about the “apparent miracle” of its Facebook's reach.