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Saturday 10 December 2011

Firing Up The Spin Machine

As the dust settled following the Brussels summit – which, as I noted yesterday, not only left Young Dave with nothing, but also failed to properly address the problems facing the Euro – the Fourth Estate has begun the process of declaring victory in the retelling. In this, Cameron is painted as a latter-day Churchill, lined up against people who talk foreign, the evil city of Brussels, and of course the BBC.

Of all papers, one might expect spin and bluster from the Murdoch Sun. But behind the Churchill photo, their account is remarkably even-handed, with political editor Tom Newton-Dunn ending his comments “Rejoice? Hardly”. He points out that Cameron – who had shied away from offering a referendum on the EU – would not have got an acceptance of the deal past his own party.

But the level-headed assessment is not shared by the increasingly cheap and nasty Express, which has appropriated events to show support for its “crusade” to quit the EU altogether. The language is down to the usual level: “bitter summit row ... bullying Franco-German plot ... referendum on our EU membership unavoidable ... ‘hero’s welcome’ for the Prime Minister”.

And, as usual for the Express, there is a mix of pure invention and unintentional hilarity: “Embittered Eurocrats were understood last night to be plotting ‘revenge attacks’ on Britain ... a furious Mr Sarkozy was said to have been physically restrained by aides after losing his temper ... Labour risked losing touch with millions of voters ... Eurofanatic Lib Dem MPs”.

But for the ultimate spin cycle, you can’t beat the Mail, where the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre have identified the traitors in the country’s midst. Moving effortlessly from fawning over BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid, Dacre’s finest lay into the Corporation with “How Europhile BBC turned triumph over Britain’s veto into disaster”.

The BBC was accused of reporting Britain’s veto ... as a national catastrophe” thunders the copy. This is followed with “Biased? Presenter Sophie Raworth ... Justin Webb announced gravely ... Robert Peston informed listeners they should be ‘concerned’ ... viewers then had to wait until almost 1.03pm to hear Mr Cameron’s remarks on the story”. And how many complainants? One – Tory MP Peter Bone.

The editorial line is then passed over to the comment part of the paper, in the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), where Simon Heffer shows why the Telegraph decided they could get along without him: “the BBC seemed yesterday to have become the EU’s equivalent of Lord Haw-Haw” he harrumphed, another fool unable to talk about Europe without returning to World War 2.

Meanwhile, the facts are lost in a fog of spin. No change there, then.

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