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The republic of entertainment

Two sensibilities battle for control of our culture. The recession might give one the upper hand

By Toby Mundy   March 2009

For over 25 years, perhaps dating back to News International’s acquisition of The Times in 1981, two distinct sensibilities have been competing for authority and attention in Britain: the enlightenment state, and the republic of entertainment. The former reigns in the quality press, the civil service, the judiciary, science, medicine and, to some extent, the church and the military. The latter is most commonly embodied by the mainstream media, but is increasingly apparent in politics and other spheres.

In the enlightenment state, reason triumphs over emotion, experts matter, elected politicians are legitimate, facts are the enemy of cynicism, means are…

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