The solidly, even smugly, Tory supporting Telegraph has confirmed what many already knew: the Tories’ strategy for winning next year’s General Election includes putting the boot in on the BBC wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself. This has been demonstrated by a particularly inept piece of presentation by the increasingly journalist-lite paper.
“Cameron and Osborne go to war with BBC on coverage” told the Tel today, letting the cat out of the bag in no style whatever. If the Tories really had briefed the paper to say that, their media operation is truly inept: the last thing the Corporation needs to know is that the attacks are part of a pre-arranged game plan. This is needless, but the detail is revealing.
Take, for instance, the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, whining to Radio 4’s Today programme that “I would have thought the BBC would have learnt from the last four years that its totally hyperbolic coverage of spending cuts has not been matched by what has actually happened”. Yes, it’s “totally hyperbolic” – got that?
In case you haven’t got that, here’s wee Georgie again: “What I reject is the totally hyperbolic BBC coverage on spending cuts. I had all that when I was interviewed four years ago and has the world fallen in? No it has not”. Young Dave’s duty spinner concurred: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor do think that is a hyperbolic descriptions [sic] which don't help us have what is important here which is a clear, and sensible and measured debate”. Quite so. It’s only about debate.
Sadly, the Tel can’t resist making it about anything but debate, refuting a claim that the Beeb’s reputation abroad is good by telling “It’s fair to say that the BBC’s reputation is not very high everywhere in the world. The Argentinian ambassador to Britain has lodged a formal complaint about the behaviour of Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear team”. On other pages, Tel bashes Argies.
This amateurish coverage of amateurish politicians engaging in an all too obvious group whingefest even includes the headline “BBC vs Media – who’s telling truth?” Er, hello Telegraph people, the BBC is part of the media. As you’re siding with the Murdoch Sun, you mean “Tory supporting newspapers”.
So who is behind this early kick-off in the General Election campaign? Well, back in 1998 when Australia went to the polls, the Liberals – their equivalent of the Tories – went in with both feet on national broadcaster ABC. And whose services did Liberal leader John Howard retain that time? As if you need to ask: step forward Lynton Crosby. Another continent and 16 years on, nothing has changed.
Are you thinking what he’s thinking? No? Neither am I.