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Sunday 2 February 2020

Dan, Dan The Media Hypocrisy Man

Former MEP and occasional Tory Daniel Hannan, one of those people that Robin Day rightly and memorably called “here today and gone tomorrow politicians” has suddenly decided not only that he was right about anything to do with the EU, but also that he is going to make sure everyone knows about it. So it was that he was once again given a platform by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph to do so.
Here, he has told anyone not yet asleep that ”Self-important broadcasters haven't yet realised how irrelevant they now are” going on to claim  I no longer give TV interviews - and I'm amazed any other politicians do either”. Really? Yes, really: “If you are one of the thirty-odd European journalists who asked for an interview with me this week, and whom I turned down, please don’t take it personally”. There was more.

It’s just that the previous week, I had had as many requests. I had no particular reason to accept any of them - I was quitting politics - but I thought I might as well help the reporters. So I ended up agreeing to nine interviews - seven of which turned into harangues by the journalists about what a terrible idea Brexit was. A waste, surely, of everyone’s time”. The good news is he’s quitting politics. The bad news is that he hasn’t stopped sounding off.

But do go on. “It got me thinking. Why do politicians give interviews? Seriously, why? Ten years ago, it would have been a ridiculous question. The media were precisely that - media, channels for whatever you wanted to tell your electorate. If you had something to say, it made sense to say it where it would reach the widest audience - which, unless you were targeting a very niche constituency, generally meant television”.

And guess what? “The general election didn’t just bury Corbynism; it also buried any lingering sense that the old media could set the political agenda”. Ah, that false assumption - that broadcasters somehow have a political agenda. The paranoia of the right-winger, as certain today as it was for Mrs T’s old pal Norman Tebbit.

But here a problem entered: Hannan is writing his screed for a newspaper that is part of the oldest of old media. And it is a part of the old media that specialises in attempting to set the political agenda - by hiring the more creative interpreters of reality like, well, Himself Personally Now. This thought seems not to have occurred to him. Or the Tel.

Instead, he is using the old media that isn’t really setting the political agenda, honestly, to eulogise over alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s craven cowardice. While Bozo The Clown runs scared of any kind of grown-up political interview, none of his predecessors wound have entertained it. Not Theresa May, not Young Dave, not Michael Howard, Not “Shagger” Major, and certainly not Mrs T.
Daniel Hannan is not merely a hypocrite, he’s supporting political cowardice. If our elected leaders can’t handle a few difficult questions, what’s going to happen when the going gets really difficult over trade deals and dealing with unsympathetic fellow leaders?

Probably as well that he’s quitting politics. Because he wasn’t much good at it.
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MikeD said...

As you say, it's not about communicating through new media channels; it's about avoiding scrutiny. Trump has successfully avoided any probing interviews and at the same time he has painted his critics as 'fake news'. Boris and his chums are copying that recipe. Further out there on the right, paid conservative shills like Alex Jones have stopped talking to anybody who doesn't agree with then 100 percent. The closest they get to talking with anyone who has an opposite opinion is jumping an unprepared student protester (the Owen Shroyer technique), who is then edited and presented as typical of 'liberals'.

Andy McDonald said...

Here's how the media agenda works: fill the space. Newspaper article informs morning TV discussion, which sets off social media weigh-in, which informs next day's newspaper coverage. And so on.

Anonymous said...

"Hostile media" simply means a fight between far right factions. As in the USA, where - rare honourable exceptions apart - there's miniscule difference between Republicans and Democrats. Knobhead Trump is right when he talks about fake news directed at him. But it would be no different if Killary Clinton was president instead of Orange Head, as demonstrated by Pizzagate, Whitewater, the Vince Foster allegations and the Slick Willy comical impeachment effort.

The British version is New Labour V tories V LibDems.

Which is one reason Western institutions and their media are rotten with corruption and despised by free thinkers everywhere.