Medialens is an interesting site which claims to be about “correcting the distorted vision of the corporate media”.

That sounds fair enough but a quick browse reveals that it is closely linked to Znet and anyone who has read Z Magazine will know they therefore only want to correct certain distortions that don’t fit into their world view. I used to like a lot of the stuff on Znet but it has taken some appalling positions in the wake of September 11 and at times veers towards conspiracy theory. It produces the kind of condescending, know-it-all, liberal-left orthodoxy that I think needs to be challenged if we are to reconstruct something useful out of the left.

At Medialens then the likes of Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk and John Pilger, who of course have all produced some outstanding journalism, but certainly have an agenda especially in the Middle East, are not subjected to correction or scrutiny of any distortions that may appear in their writings — these journalists are untouchable. Why is that?

I am all for accuracy in the media and for debate. But Medialens, who try to operate as a self-styled media watchdog for a particular part of the left, seem to me to discourage debate and encourage the adoption of a single world view.

For example, ‘heretics’ on the left such as Nick Cohen of the Observer, who has had the temerity to suggest Iraqis might be better off without Saddam Hussein, are roundly denounced and readers encouraged to complain to the bosses of individual journalists – which I find a bit snitchy.

I find myself agreeing with the comments of Andrew Marr, political editor of the BBC who when solicited for his views on the site said “I’m afraid I think it is just pernicious and anti-journalistic. I note that you advertise an organisation called Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting so I guess at least you have a sense of humour. But I don’t think I will bother with ‘MediaLens’ next time, if you don’t mind.”

Make up your own mind: MediaLens.org