Politicians love to get their propaganda into the papers. This allows the less able and far from talented to project an image of competence, a pretence of gravitas otherwise undeserved. And politicians who are, by profession, journalists do not merely aspire to get their propaganda into the papers - they actually do it, with monotonous regularity.
One politician with a background in journalism who has used the press to project an image of ability that he does not possess is Environment Secretary Michael “Oiky” Gove, who looks and sounds no more convincing than Elmer Fudd. By no coincidence at all, he has failed to round up rascally rabbits at Education and Justice before arriving at his current berth. But the fawning press coverage is the stuff of other politicians’ dreams.
Just how fawning that coverage gets can be seen from a story first run by the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, which told readers “A DEEP new Cabinet split has opened up over Theresa’s May new Brexit compromises - as it also emerged Michael Gove physically tore up her customs plan … The irate Environment Secretary stunned officials by ripping a document he disliked in two at a meeting this week”.
Can you hear Arnie? DON’T MESS WITH ME … ASS-HOLE!! Or was he the reincarnation of Harry Callahan, asking his Civil Servants if they felt … lucky. Well, did they, punk? And did that report contain six sheets, or only five? But enough. The Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn is taking dictation once more, recycling Gove’s propaganda as some kind of heroic derring-do, if only the Life of Brian kind.
Michael Gove is Murdoch’s man. He provides the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker with gossip - who can forget the totally untrue “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” - and the grateful hacks provide him with a platform for his propaganda. The heroic ripping up of what must have been a very slim report is part of that propaganda.
So the story should have remained just another slice of Sun silliness. But sadly, someone at the BBC decided to treat it as real news, never a good move where the Sun is concerned. And so it came to pass that readers there were told “Environment Secretary Michael Gove physically ripped up a report on Theresa May's preferred option for a new customs partnership with the EU”. Yeah, of course he did. It was in the Sun.
Do go on. “The Sun reported Mr Gove ‘physically ripped it up to show he wasn't prepared to accept the document as a summary of their discussions’ … BBC political correspondent Matt Cole said representatives for Mr Gove had confirmed the paper's claims.” Representatives called Michael Gove. Who would have been made up at the thought that the Beeb could be so credulous as to treat his propaganda as if it were fact.
Michael Gove is not a political hero. He does not even rank as high as any in Rome. His political career has been defined by heroic spin, only for all the fawning copy to steadily unravel later - as it has done with his supposedly wonderful tenure at education, which failed to raise standards, but wasted a shed load of money.
Get a grip, BBC. And filter out this self-aggrandising drivel.