Can there really be a more monumentally stupid or destructive news anchor than Channel 4's Jon Snow? On his news blog, and more vehemently in his presenting of this evening's news programme, Snow was extraordinarily aggressive about the decision of British news media (including his own Channel 4 News) not to report the deployment of Prince Harry to Afghanistan. He likened the voluntary agreement to the approach of media in totalitarian states, twice referencing China and Russia. It was an extraordinary performance, although fortunately for him and his viewers his three guests were more measured and sensible. Prince Harry's presence in Afghanistan could surely only have been tenable if the media agreed not to set up their usual rampant circus around it. And Prince Harry should clearly have been able to be sent to Afghanistan given the time and money spent training him to fight wars. Thus, the media agreement - in Britain - seems to have been a rare moment of self-realisation and responsibility amongst the Fourth Estate.
The story was eventually broken by foreign news websites - notably the Drudge Report today - and the consequence, as Snow acknowledged in his questioning, is that now the prince's continued presence on the front line is far more questionable.
Snow made much of the fact that this 'black-out' was not appropriate for a free media, but his freedom seems to be a freedom from responsibility as much as anything else. If he really believes that a voluntary, responsible decision amongst British news editors is the same as the severe, often violent repression suffered by editors in totalitarian states, then he really isn't fit to present the news in a free society. Prince Harry may or may not be able to continue fighting one of his country's wars; Jon Snow really shouldn't be able to continue warping his country's news.