If you read in a newspaper that ‘Unemployment could top five million if the Labour government continues with its economic policies, a leading economist warned,’ and if the leading economist turned out to be a former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, Professor David Blanchflower, do you think that you might read more than two sentences in a couple of broadsheets? And do you think you might expect the broadcast media to think it worthy of the odd mention, and perhaps even an invite to Shadow Chancellor George Osborne to respond?
In fact, Professor Blachflower made the warning about Tory policies, saying that unemployment would soar if they tried to reduce the deficit too early. I spotted a couple of sentences beneath ‘The Workout’ quizgame in the Times.
I know that Labour are in power, and therefore their economic policies make a difference now, and are therefore bound to be subject to more scrutiny. But given the media has collectively decided – hey why bother with an election? seems to be the thinking – that David Cameron is going to be PM, and Osborne the Chancellor, in a matter of months, should this kind of contribution from an expert not be getting a little more attention?
But I know how tough it must be for the broadcast media with so much going on … all the world leaders at the UN, Iran, Afghanistan, nuclear warheads, and of course the really big stories of the day … how Obama snubbed Gordon Brown because their meeting was in a kitchen, and that old favourite how he was ‘forced to deny rumours sweeping Westminster’ that he might quit on health grounds.
People say they get the politics they deserve. If Britain has the media it deserves, then it did something very very bad in a previous life.
What is surprising is that you are surprised…After all AC you almost single handedly invented media manipulation. The reasons for the negativity of the media against the government is obvious, they do not have someone of your calibre controlling their output and they have had enough of this discredited government and are looking forward to a new target when DC et al are in power…
The Media did a sound job of holding New Labour to account in TBs halcyon days when no effective Parliamentary opposition was being provided by the Tories (or anyone else) Someone had to counter the Spin.
I agree that the Media is by no means perfect, but it is great deal better than having some State controlled poodle which simply regurgitates the rubbish fed to it by manipulative spin doctors.
The message that Gordon should indeed be receiving loud and clear is that many voters neither like, trust nor respect him. He should Go and Go now!
Try putting these three words together in order in a single phrase. POT, KETTLE, BLACK.
If you were working for DC right now you would be feeding the press exactly the kind of stories you now complain about. Sorry, but you just can’t have it both ways!
If we do have the media we deserve, then the “something very, very bad we did in a previous life” was to allow you and your unscrupulous gang of liars and double dealers free rein to corrupt the lobby in particular and the media in general.
Not so long ago, Ten Downing Street was a prestigious address, synonymous with honour and integrity. Because of you and your gang it is now a byword for mendacity and tribalism.
So please stop your daily bleating. We don’t like the situation any more than you do but the poison you introduced into the system is going to take a long time to pass through.
AC – you are like a child who has thrown his dummy out of the pram because you can no longer influence and bully the media into reporting the ‘fictional’ stories you want them to report. Must be hard to accept that you are now (and have been for some time in the view of the majority of people in this country) a discredited irrelevance.
You are more interesting when you moan about blisters (toughen up you whinger) then when you dip your toe in the world of politics – says something really.
Having been the victim of media spin I will only ever again talk to a journalist in sound bites. They call that spin. You can’t win. The best that can happen is for internet to replace the need for these informsation distortion parasites.
In your Chain Reaction interview you said that while working for TB you realized that in this media age you must SET YOUR OWN AGENDA. So does this mean that the current Downing Street media machine is not doing it´s job properly?
I love the way these Tories and journos (possibly both combined in ne same person) come on here to say you are irrelevant … so irrelevant they can’t stop themselves reading your views and trying to rebut them. Keep sticking it up them. They can’t hack it
Nick Davies in his book ‘Flat Earth News’ covered this sort of issue quite well. He said that once the media had made up their mind on a subject that it was hard for anyone to go against the flow of stories.
However having said that, Labour should stop whinging about the Tories getting favorable coverage and spin spin spin. You know this more than anyone Alastair, if your being slammed for one thing, slam them back on another, change the story.
In a recent state election here in Australia it was a forgone conclusion that Labour would take the state parliament. The conservative party were in the same position as Labour (UK) are in now, the media had made their mind up. Yet a major event (in this case change of leadership) changed the story, got people talking about a Conservative come back low and behold 12 months later we are now stuck with a conservative government for the next 4-8 years…
Kevin Rudd here in Australia sets the agenda every morning with a radio interview, no idea if you have anything like that with PM Brown, but it sets the agenda for the days media cycle. Obviously if anything else comes up then that takes over, but at least the media and Tories are not setting the agenda.
Anyway that’s my two pence on the subject, probably naive but valid. If the tables were turned and it was a forgone conclusion that Labour were going to win another term that you Mr Campbell, would not be complaining about media double standards.
I have been banging this drum for a long time. What can we expect when the best selling newspapers in this country are comics that follow celebrities wherever they go and fill pages with topless women. Alastair I’m afraid you’ve helped perpetuate this by writing for these rags.
I remember when the same thing was happening to John Major! Only he got it for 4 years constantly while Tony Blair had a free run. Gordon Brown has had unfeasibly good press for a decade. Swings and roundabouts. Labour’s turn to face the other side of the coin I guess.
You are part of the media and part of the problem and NO we do not deserve any of you.
It is good to be having the discussion about how to deal with the deficit. The problem is I don’t trust Gordon, Peter M or Ed Balls and I am willing to give Dave Cameron the benefit of the doubt. I think Alistair Darling is the most trustworthy of the government currently.
Almost a million fewer people voted for Blair in 97 than for Major in 92. We gave Blair the benefit and i think generally that was the right result. I think the turnout will be lower due to expenses saga etc. but that Cameron is the right result this time.
I just hope there is proper constructive scrutiny which was missing for the first few years of Thatcher and Blair and this is where it all goes wrong. Focus on having a stronger opposition for after the election. Let’s not have Paxman sending flowers to Mr Mandelson eh?!!
Philip Jermyn – I am neither a journo or a Tory (I am no more a fan of the Bullingdon boys – too much like that Charletan Blair). What are you? Another dummy thrower – try a farleys rusk and get your nappy changed.
‘Keep sticking it up them. They can’t hack it’ Can’t feel anything yet so I am hacking on – blisters and all.
Wah wah. From one irrelevance to another.
I have to agree with Freddo. It is arch hypocrisy for Alastair Campbell to criticise “Today’s media” in any way at all.
All the commenters who are using the ‘pot / kettle / black’ line about press coverage should have a read of Nick Davies’s very enjoyable Flat Earth News. It’s a critical book about the modern media, the rise of PR being one of the main themes. Davies is no fan of AC but points out that the number of government press officers rose from around 150 at the beginning of the Thatcher government to 1100 by the end of Major. Yes Labour added another 300 or so in their first two years but you can hardly say that they invented spin – that was the Tories… or the 90s, or the internet, take your pick.
Separately, could I suggest that there be two comments sections on this blog? One can be for all the people who think AC is a mendacious warmonger who singlehandedly destroyed modern politics, and the other one would be for people interested in debating the contents of the blog? Might speed things up a bit…
All the Tory apologists seem to enjoy ranting at you every time you expose media laziness and bias is quite amusing. It must be flattering to be given credit for inventing spin. Sadly, I have bad news for you and them. Every one spins. Split up a fight and you will get two sides of the same story both told to paint each participant in the best light. You did not even invent political spin. Thatcher had Ingham. Even Shakespeare wrote Richard III to suit the needs of his Tudor politcal masters. Your expertise puts you in a unique position to expose Dave and his cronies and they hate it.
Did it ever occur to you that it only merited two sentences for a reason.
Incidentally, is there any truth in the rumour that Obama was actually hiding in the kitchen to get away from Brown. You could hardly blame him, his reputation is taking a bit of a battering at the moment, the last thing he needs is to be pictured with our clown of a PM.
If the rumours that you are to mastermind Brown’s re-Election are true, then you will not be arriving a moment too soon. A couple of the first points that you might consider addressing are:
1/ If true, was it really necessary for No10 to put themselves in a position where their request for a one on one meeting/photo op with President Obama was rejected FIVE times?
2/ How did this nugget of detail come into the public domain?
3/ How did the information that one of the President’s senior spokesmen phoned the BBC to deny rumours of a rift in the Special Relationship come into rthe public domain?
All the above smacks of extreme desperation and ineptitude in the No10 spin operation.