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Tuesday, 5 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Jun 07, 04:41 PM

From tonight's presenter, Gavin Esler

g8_203.jpgRobin Hood in Reverse

Vulture funds rob the poor to fatten the rich.

As we revealed on Newsnight earlier this year, they are a crafty mechanism which allows the buying up of the debts of developing countries rather cheaply - and then the new debt owner takes his money back, at a huge profit.

The poor lose. As the G8 leaders assemble tomorrow in Germany, Gordon Brown and President Bush are taking an interest.

I'll be asking the British Government minister responsible whether, realistically, anything can be done to stop the vultures preying on the poor.

The Cameron Clan

The row within the Conservatives over grammar schools rumbles on, with some Conservatives (quietly) suggesting it has undermined David Cameron's authority.

Michael Crick is on the trail - and we hope to hear from both sides.

Web 2.0

The stuff you read on the internet. Do you believe it? Seriously? Why?

We'll be hearing from the author of a new book about why much of what you may be reading has all the editorial authority of graffiti on a lavatory wall, and a Web defender will explain why the democratisation of the web is so important.

You can read extracts from the book, The Cult of the Amateur, and join the debate by clicking here.


The government wants to clamp down on middle class binge drinking. Our Science Editor Susan Watts will tell you how much wine you can safely drink each day.

The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Jun 07, 02:07 PM

The Cult of the Amateur
How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy
by Andrew Keen

amateur_203.jpg“If we are all amateurs, there are no experts.”

Watch the Newsnight discussion here.

Andrew Keen’s new book, The Cult of the Amateur is the latest addition to the Newsnight book club. In it, the author expresses his concern for the profligacy of online amateurism, spawned by the digital revolution. This, he feels, has had a destructive impact on our culture, economy and values.

He says, “[They] can use their networked computers to publish everything from uninformed political commentary, to unseemly home videos, to embarrassingly amateurish music, to unreadable poems, reviews, essays, and novels”.

He complains that blogs are “collectively corrupting and confusing popular opinion about everything from politics, to commerce, to arts and culture”.

He claims that Wikipedia perpetuates a cycle of misinformation and ignorance, and labels YouTube inane and absurd, “showing poor fools dancing, singing, eating, washing, shopping, driving, cleaning, sleeping, or just staring at their computers.”

He warns that old media is facing extinction – “say goodbye to experts and cultural gatekeepers – our reporters, news anchors, editors, music companies, and Hollywood movie studios.”

What do you think? We’ve published two extracts from Andrew Keen’s book below. Have a read and share your thoughts – is he being alarmist about the effects of the Web 2.0 revolution, or raising genuine concerns? Are we at the mercy of the amateur? Can kids tell the difference between credible news sources and the amateur’s blog? What, in any case, can be done?

Continue reading "The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen"

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