Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is Rothermere About to End Dacre's Love-in With Brown?

Gordon Brown may now owe some favours to one or two of his friends in the media. Although the ITV news at 10.30pm last night led with a punchy report on Brown's humiliation in the Commons, the BBC's 10pm news placed the story well down the order - number three, after a weak lead story about Al Gore's eco-film, and a story about floods insurance which had been around since the morning bulletins. The BBC's coverage, by the objective James Landale, felt brief. A later story in the bulletin about a Marilyn Monroe exhibition was given more airtime. On the radio, BBC Radio 4 put David Cameron's Commons attack at the top of its 6pm bulletin but Radio Five Live at the same time was not evening mentioning in its headlines the amazing scenes at the Commons. Is the news cycle that short nowadays?

This morning's Press websites are also instructive. The front page of the Daily Telegraph's site gives only the tiniest mention of the Commons mauling - a small-print steer to Andrew Gimson's political sketch. The Daily Mail is also distinctly muted in its website coverage. Indeed, I hear there are continuing ructions at the Mail about editor Paul Dacre's love-in with Brown. A mole who was at yesterday's editorial meeting at the Mail says that Dacre became extremely angry about criticisms of Brown. How long until the Mail's owner, Lord Rothermere, decides he'd like David Cameron to get fairer treatment from his paper?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I for one am dumping the Telegraph and changing to the Times. The pro-Labour moves of recent times at the Telegraph are driving away loyal readers. Dear Bill must be spinning.

Paul Burgin said...

Any proprietor worth their salt would consider the sales of a newspaper in the previous four months before trying to change an editorial stance.

Anonymous said...

any comment on the disgrace that is 330 people dying in hospital because they couldnt be arsed to clean the wards properly. alan johnson should resign immediately.... the police are investigating. 300+ people dead due to management incompetence

Letters From A Tory said...

The Mail has left many people confused about what they stand for, and their readership has dropped as a result. You can't keep sucking up to Brown and not expect ramifications.

Hitchenophile said...

Iain,

This issue is familiar to me as a Scottish football fan based in London. It is now impossible to get any infortmed or comprehensive comment on Scottish football at all in UK newspapers these days.

The reason for this - very few people who read these newspapers have an interest in Scottish football. And I'm afraid it's the same for PMQs - nobody cares . Cameron won't win the next election by his performances in the Commons, I'm afraid; just ask Hague.

Which is why the 'amazing' scenes in the Commons will disappear into the news ether within the next 30 days and Brown's solid poll lead will return, because his innately serious qualities will appeal to voters directly through the media.

John T said...

Just on the "news cycle" being short, Iain, you might care to look at the number of posts on yesterday's open thread. When you were away, the "blews" cycle was longer and the debate, while at times frightening and bizarre, did enlighten and inform me much more than when you are in the office. No doubt you will have spun another yarn by the time I've typed in the Solidarity-styled slogan and managed to post this.

John T said...

Anonymous Scottish Football Fan,
The Scotsman is on sale at most London railway stations, I sometimes get it to inform myself before talking to my father-in-law who is an avid curling nut.

ContraTory said...

My impression is that Gordon Brown's bad day yesterday is well reported in all of the newspapers. Given the coverage, disparaging editorial comment is not necessary. The BBC's reporting yesterday was a bit limp.

Ed said...

The tide is going out on Brown, and the papers that fail to go with the flow will lose readers very quickly. Brown has lost his impetus and the only way is down from now on.

The Times is switching back to Blue, the others will catch up or sink.

John T said...

ed, if the tide is going out, won't the papers "catch up or be stranded" rather than "sink"?
Seriously, I'm sure there'll be polls out soon which will make newspaper editors think much more than you or I , I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Dacre's love in with Brown is alienating a lot of loyal Mail readers(some of his editorials could have been written by the Labour Spin machine) but until it significantly affects circulation it's doubtful anything will change.

Anonymous said...

Many small strokes fell even the greatest oak. Not that Brown is an oak, but it doesn't matter. The events which have caused Brown so much trouble will surely fade in time. The lingering perception that he is cowardly, boorish and weak will not. He got a good press in his first 100 days and the press helped him to shed the negatives which comprised perceptions as to his character. Relief to be rid of Blair did the same.

he has none of that now. Blair is, strangely, ancient history and the press have turned quite decisively. Events will continue to deteriorate and there will be no way back. Every little negative, such as a bad PMQ, will chip away at Brown's personal reputation. This is, after all, all Labour had and now that is slipping into the sea.

It truly looks bad for Labour now. I'm biased, of course, but it's going to take something spectacular for them to recover.

Ed said...

John T, yep!

Anonymous said...

"Dacre became extremely angry about criticisms of Brown"

It was quite clear that Benedict Brogan had been nobbled at the beginning of the week.

John T said...

ed - I do hope your flag won't be at half-mast after the week-end's endeavours - in the polls and on the pitches! This is great fun - I admit we probably vote differently, but I've hated the lack of real opposition for so long, and who knows, Cameron might just swing me around in the future.

Adrian Yalland said...

Would love to see the end of Dacre, but the trouble is that some authoritarian Tories would prefer to see an authoritarian right-wing Labour MP, than a liberal left-wing Tory MP.

This is triangulation of politics, and the fact that, as Crossland conceded in the late 60's, the question of how the economy will be run is settled (it's capitalism), and that the new beak in politics is not between right and left, but authoritarian and libetarian.

Cameron is instinctively more libertarian than Brown, which is why many Liberal democrat voters (and some MPs) are much more pro Blair than the centralising 'clucking fist' of Brown.

It's an interesting time!

Adrian Yalland said...

sorry - should ave read pro-Cameron, not pro-Blair!

coffee, coffee, need more cofee!

Paul Linford said...

As a matter of interest, Iain, what's your view on the question of whether the editor or the proprietor should have the final say over which political party a newspaper supports?

Ed said...

John T. There's nothing worse in politics than an unchallenged government. It happened in the 80s and it happened again from 97 to last week.

It's refreshing to see a return to proper debate and Opposition.

[A friend of mine has a tshirt quoting Wilson's "We've only won the World Cup under Labour"]

Howard said...

Blair was successful because he had a strategy that worked. Brown has failed because his only strategy was winning an October election. It is over for Labour. Brown meeting the press snacks of panic. He has no strategy now so the only way to win over the press is by bullying, just as Major attempted to do. Cameron's strategy was to stop an October election and humiliate Brown. It worked and he will now build on that and win the election. Everybody should relax. It is over, and Brown knows it, and I bet Blair is the first to recognise this.

fibbing dims said...

Is there any more obvious example ve of an Editor chasing a knighthood?

Dacre has done great damage to the centre right cause for many years.

Man in a Shed said...

What the hell is the Daily Telegraph playing at. For the first time in years I found The Times giving a more punchy critic of the government.

The BBC favouritism for Labour was also in evidence the day before hand on the reporting of Alistair Darlings larceny. The comparison is between the 6 O'Clock news and ITV 6:30 - almost broadcast from two different planets.

Will The Times and ITV become the leading voices of the resistance? Or will Stalin fix them too ?

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

'As a matter of interest, Iain, what's your view on the question of whether the editor or the proprietor should have the final say over which political party a newspaper supports?'

Thats a interesting one. It should probably fall into the same area as who runs a business, the directors, or the shareholders.

The director/editor is employed by the shareholders to run the business on a day to day basis. But on fundamental issues of direction and policy etc, surely its the owners which have the final say.....

Or am I being naive?

bebopper said...

Actually, Radio 4's PM and Six o'Clock News covered PMQs extensively. Ditto Newsnight.

Re Dacre: he controls editorials and a couple of reporters, but his star columnists Littlejohn, Waterhouse, McKay and Letts never fail to heap abuse on the Bogeyman.

John T said...

nice one ed!
I get confused when Iain Dale's here - much easier yesterday, though a bit febrile.
man in a shed - I've spent years shouting at the BBC for being anti-labour! I think it's true that they are anti-tory, but they are most of them a long way left of Blair. What I can't stand is the constant attention on the machinations - who has "won" PMQ's,tie-colours,etc., and very little on the policy differences. It sounds so puerile (they're mostly men arguing) If they have turned against Brown because he gave the exclusive to Andrew Marr, then I'm only pleased that they've turned, for all our sakes. The motives of journalists in doing so is very suspect, in my opinion

Chris Paul said...

Mmmm. Time for dobbing in some more sources?

The Mail and the Telegraph do not want to over state a bit of punch and judy yahhing and booing from the man who said he'd consigned that to history.

They have already covered the goings on over the election decision. Covering the PMQ reflection of those goings on at any length is not proportionate.

And Dacre is right. If The Mail - already seen as hugely right wing - starting trying to out-Guido Mr GuF and out-Dale Mr Dale on Brown-bashing they might as well give up and go home.

Re-read Mr Blaney's thoughtful contribution and reconsider.

HF said...

Chris Paul, Which Mr Blaney statement was that?

Anonymous said...

Rothermere hates hte Notting Hill set as much as dacre. there won't be any change at the Mail or MoS

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that the PMQ's story has disappeared from the Daily Mail site completely.

Dacre once again following his William Joyce like objectives.

Is it true the curculation of the Daily Mail has dropped 60,000 since the love in began.

Whilst Dacre is in charge long may its circulation drop!

BJ said...

Come on Iain. PMQs happens every week. How often does it lead the Six O'Clock News? Rarely, unless a big announcement has been made.

And as for "some non-story about the Al Gore film"... you were among those who insisted that it was wrong for schools to be sent An Inconvenient Truth for use as a teaching aid.

Now a high court judge agrees with you. I happen to think that's a great story... and I'm surprised you weren't making more of a song and dance about it! You certainly would be if the BBC led with a story that cast the film in a more favourable light for whatever reason. Make your mind up!

John T said...

hf - it's one of Iain's earlier blogs, scroll down the front page...