The Thick of It


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Labour and the media

Tony Blair's speech yesterday where ghe dubbed the media a "feral beast" has gained plenty of coverage. His point that the media no longer reports news, instead comments (and passes judgement on it) struck me because about five years ago I went to a Camden Labour Party meeting at which Alistair Campbell made the same point.

Isn't this because newspapers specifically are always behind the 24 news agenda, they are no longer in real time and are never informing their readers of events for the first time. Campbell gave this response to my question in Camden when I asked why Labour, a government meant to be obsessed with spin, is so poor at getting it's message across.

I do feel that Blair's analysis of the present situation of the media - politics relationship is correct. However, I feel it is much more a chicken and egg situation as to who is to blame. I do feel though that Labour's paranoia was inevitable after 18 years of opposition and unfavourable media coverage. The easy answer is that the media despite claiming to have been pro-Labour at least in the immedate post 1997 years, is naturally anti-Labour.

Many have commented that Blair is feeling sour grapes as the tide as turned against him and while there is truth in that, I think he has prompted a worthwhile debate about our political media. Michael White states that his analysis is "hard to dispute" and I was interested to note his comment that Blair downgraded Parliament, but so did newspapers in stoppoing Parliamentary reports in the early 1990s.

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