Essential reading from The Economist, in this thoughtful and balanced article by Bagehot. You read all the way to the end to see the positive side of “Tabloid Rule”.
They thus tempt governments into policymaking by headline, a method that prizes speed, simplicity and emotional satisfaction over sober analysis of costs and benefits. Tabloid-wooing helps explain the authoritarian streak of the last Labour government (and much besides). A desire for positive headlines helps to account for several of the current coalition government’s dubious policies, from a pledge to cap net inward migration, to the decision to shield the National Health Service from public-spending cuts. Years of hostile headlines about the European Union have made sensible public debate of Britain’s EU interests almost impossible: instead successive governments talk tough at home while pursuing pragmatism in Brussels.