I still like Harry Potter. But I don’t think I’m a Griffindor. I don’t think I’m at Hogwarts. I don’t think that I’m the hero of a story or that I can hunt down all the Horcruxes of the British media (one of them is Brendan O’Neill’s giant head, another is Giles Coren’s keyboard…)
No one pretends they’re Rita Skeeter, the odious and fake news writing hack from the Daily Prophet. They don’t even set themselves up as the wacky editor of The Quibbler, Xenophilius Lovegood. They want to be Harry or Hermione. None of them admits to being Ron.
And beyond all that, no British journalist wants to admit that they — if they existed in the world of Potter — would be credulously taking the messages sent out by the Ministry of Magic at face value. If the Lobby — the group of journalists with special access to the Prime Minister’s spokesperson and the physical lobby in Parliament — were reporting on the Ministry of Magic, they would spend a lot of time repeating that Voldemort definitely wasn’t back, and, in fact, the government’s track and trace campaign for Deatheaters is extremely effective.
The Harry Potter series is a fun set of books and movies; it is not a template for understanding every aspect of the real world. In a children’s book, good needs to triumph over evil and the moral quandaries faced by our heroes have to be relatively simple. The Ministry must fail, Voldemort must be defeated, our heroes must — with a few quibbles — be relatively good and relatively kind. The real world sucks. Voldemort would win. Voldemort would sell off everything good and use the profits to further the growth of his off-shore hedge fund. Voldemort would cut the health service and then go on TV to say how well he was looking after it.
And much of the media would help him, casting magic spells to talk about how lovely his new baby was and how he’s looking much better now he’s decided to wear the toupee over that pale white skull head of his.
Yes, I had this one analogy and now I have beaten it to death.