Despite the deadly dull mood at this year’s Tory Party conference in Birmingham, some of the broadcast media is in an angry mood at Theresa May’s lack of availability for interviews. As Ben de Pear of Channel 4 News put it yesterday, “The @10DowningStreet press office have granted @theresa_may interviews to 20 @BBCNews journalists during conference; none for @Channel4News or @5_News and there is solidarity across broadcasters that this is a dangerous precedent”.
Other broadcast outlets had been shunned, as the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire pointed out: “Theresa May dodging full interviews with @GMB @SkyNews @5_News @bbc5live as well as @Channel4News is telling about her lack of confidence. No wonder the rest of Europe's running rings around her”. But one media source was backing the PM.
To no surprise at all, the presence prepared to shill shamelessly not just for the Tory leader, but also her spin chief Robbie Gibb, was the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who put out Gibb’s spin unedited in a post titled provocatively “Media Moan About Missing May”.
The Great Guido’s ire was directed mainly at Channel 4 News’ Michael Crick (wonder why?) as he whined “Broadcasters have ignited a media spat with Number 10 over access to Theresa May, with Channels 4 and 5 particularly aggrieved about not getting time with the PM compared to the BBC. An indignant Michael Crick tweeted ‘if Number Ten is not careful it could soon look like the BBC has become the state broadcaster.’”
Tell us more. “May’s comms chief and former BBC exec Robbie Gibb was the recipient of a strongly-worded missive from the broadcasters earlier this afternoon”. Yeah, right. We already knew that as Jim Waterson of the Guardian has Tweeted it out, with the comment “Letter draws comparisons with attempts to exclude specific outlets in Trump's America”, which the Fawkes massive managed to miss. Or more likely ignore.
So did those chez Fawkes criticise Gibb for his attitude? Not a bit of it: the brown tongues were out in force as they simpered “Robbie wasn’t having any of it, hitting back with a long list of the PM’s recent interviews and challenging them over whether they’d made the same fuss over Corbyn last week … Over to you, Channel 4”.
No response to Jon Snow’s pointed message “Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May. For 29 years at @Channel4News I have interviewed the @10DowningStreet Prime Minister of the day at their party conference - until today. @theresa_may has refused to appear on @Channel4News tonight; unprecedented & disappointing”. No response to the Beeb actually being a signatory to that letter. No examination of Gibb’s apparently continuing influence over the BBC to the potential exclusion of others.
If anyone was not yet aware that the Fawkes blog was, as Peter Jukes put it recently, “a wholly deniable subsidiary of CCHQ”, they should be under no illusions now.
That grovelling Fawkes post was so blatantly partisan, it should have been marked as advertorial. Another fine mess, once again.
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