We live in a world in which there are two centres of power. One is the Enlightenment State: the world of government, the judiciary, science and academia, in which people are innocent until proven guilty; experts are respected; ideas take precedence over feelings; and trust exists between the principals. But, in the last forty years, a second source of power has arisen that is brash and noisy and challenges the Enlightenment State like nothing before. It is called the Republic of Entertainment and it is embodied by the mass media. In the Republic of Entertainment, people are guilty even if proved innocent, experts speak mostly for vested interests, feelings and emotions are more important than ideas, and no-one in authority can be trusted. This controversial, brave and important book argues that, if civil society as we know it is to survive, the Republic of Entertainment must be confronted and its power laid bare. This book will change decisively the way many of us think about the role of the media.
John Lloyd is editor of the Financial Times magazine and author of Rebirth of a Nation: An Anatomy of Russia (1998) and What the Media are Doing to our Politics (2004). In addition to working on Weekend World, he is a contributing editor to Prospect and a former editor of the New Statesman.