Shock horror – the PM met journalists and media executives

 

            The list of media executives and journalists the PM has met since taking office should have come as no surprise. Mr Blair and Mr Brown did similarly.

            I am not a bit worried that the PM had a meeting with Guardian, and two meetings with the Trinity Mirror Group. I am sure both sides behaved impeccably.

              Can we now leave the investigators of possible media and police misdeeds  to get on with their jobs, and get back to sorting out the mess in the public finances and the disaster that is the Euro?

              Politicians will carry on talking to journalists. Some politicians will carry on thinking some newspapers  have more influence over public opinion than they do, and think they can have influence over those papers. Running  the country well is the better way to secure more favourable comment.

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47 Comments

  1. Alison Granger
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    In the long list of misdeeds that reporters, policemen and politicians have been guilty of the hacking stuff is small beer. The endless racking over is getting very tedious and I agree that there are much more pressing problems such as sovereign debt, tanking economy, illegal wars, mass starvation in Africa and little stuff like that.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Indeed almost anything is more important would there be this fuss if a few BBC staff had looked through a few peoples bins I wonder. Running the country well is the better way to secure more favourable comment but little sign on that alas.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        If you think this is about journalists looking through a few litter bins, you are deluded. What you seem to be in favour of is a Chinese style government and media, but without the reality of living under such a regime. A fantasy no less.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    If you pop across to Labour List, you will see that the whole thing is about this scandal. At the very bottom, someone has noticed the Euro.
    The Left smells blood, it is impressed with Mr Miliband’s judgement and looking forward to the total defeat of the government.
    The Euro is boring and irrelevant to these people
    Their weapons are the moral high ground and the sneer. Deadly.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The media loves nothing better than talking and writing about itself. A classic case of “Nero fiddling whilst Rome burns”.

  4. Bryan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Whilst the ‘left’ seeks yet another resignation, Euroland is in (near) meltdown and could take the rest of us with it. Still, false indignation is always easier than problem solving!

    I agree – hackgate has gone on long enough.

  5. James
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I agree. If Mr Cameron wants to socialise with his friends and neighbours, why shouldn’t he be able to? Corruption might be illegal but nepotism definitely isn’t yet, despite the EU’s best intentions.

  6. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    “Running the country well is the better way to secure more favourable comment”

    You would hope so wouldn’t you. Alas this is not always so.

    Turning now to other matters, I am really impressed with Mrs Murdoch.

  7. APL
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    JR: “… PM met journalists and media executives”

    Indeed, no one should be surprised that an advertising executive with aspirations to something better, mixes with other branches of the media manipulation machine should then be found socializing with other news and information manipulators.

    It was they who ‘exploded’ the speech he made during the Tory leadership campaign, out of any proportion to its merit.

    He owes his position to them! Payback time.

    • MickC
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      Yes, at the time I thought Camerons speech was given more prominence by the media than its or indeed his quality deserved.

      It is remarkable how the public are influenced by the media.

      • norman
        Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        I don’t think that’s quite the case. I think it’s remarkable how the ruling political class are influenced by the media. The vast majority of Britons probably don’t give a stuff about any of Camerons speeches (or any other politicians it has to be said).

        I know I don’t. Anything they say has to be taken with a shovelful of salt.

        • APL
          Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          Norman: “Britons probably don’t give a stuff about any of Camerons speeches”

          True, but the media know that, and their target audience were people like Redwood [Tory MPs] and the Tory rank and file with a vote.

          The BBC succeeded in frustrating the election of an apparent ‘right of center’ candidate.

  8. Gary
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    They met, they sure did. Cameron wined and dined Brooks , he went horseriding with her, and spent Christmas with her, attending birthdays with her. Coulson slept at Chequers after he was sacked. The labour party great and good spent similar sessions cozying up to Brooks, Brown even after his son’s medical condition was exposed.

    Many of us unwashed look at this and have to wonder if the last 3 or 4 governments of this country, having been essentially been more of the same thing, had something to do with this newsgroup that they courted ?

  9. Richard1
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Conservative MPs must make sure that the enquiry into the media, concentration & political links also looks at the BBC. The BBC has not even had a pretence of impartiality in its coverage of this story, and the prominance given to it is absurd – the leading news item on all chanels, who editions of Any Questions devoted to it, live coverage of Murdoch’s evidence to the Parliamentary committee on the main news – we had none of this even for the Iraq war. The enquiry needs to look at the BBC’s market power, at its supposed political neutrality, and most important, at the links between senior BBC management, editors and journalists with political figures, and other figures in the media world (e.g. lets shed some light on the connections between the BBC, the Guardian, and certain Labour front bench figures).

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t Sky News also have live coverage of their owner?

  10. lojolondon
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    This whole hacking scandal is a BBC / Guardian attack on Murdoch, nothing more. In the last 10 days the EU was in crisis, Italy is about to default, Greece and Spain are in shutdown mode and the Euro should fail. Barely a mention on the news. Instead we get 15 or more minutes focusing on every aspect of Murdoch. The BBC never mentions that THEY are the biggest monopoly in news and media, for some reason they do not count. And their totally anti-British, anti-Christian, anti-Tory bias in every programme makes Chemical Ali look fair and balanced.

    • Mark
      Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      He was Comical Ali – and at least he was comical! Chemical Ali was rather nastier – I don’t think he gave many interviews.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      “The BBC never mentions that THEY are the biggest monopoly in news and media”

      You can’t be the biggest monopoly. You’re either a monopoly or you’re not; and in this case the BBC is not a monopoly.

      Murdoch controls 40% of the UK media, how much does the BBC control?

      • Winston Smith
        Posted July 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Before the scrapping of the NotW, NI controlled 37% og national newspaper circulation, much of this was from two tabloid publications. The media includes tv, radio, internet and local newspapers, magazines and more. BSkyB accounts for 6.8% of broadcasting output. The largest and most powerful braodcaster across tv, radio and the internet is the BBC. It controls mor than 70% of news broadcasting across the UK. It sis technically not a monopoly, but it exerts monopolistic control over the market.

  11. rose
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Dream on John.

  12. rose
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    The PM has just been meeting South Africans and Nigerians. Perhaps we will we see an announcement on Libya soon. It can’t all have been about trade and Mandela’s birthday.

  13. Acorn
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Welcome to tabloid Britain. I do hope someone is watching the shop while our mickey mouse tabloid MPs are playing politics. Please tell me there are a bunch of trustworthy guys, behind the scenes, who actually know how to run the country and, defend it against physical and economic attack.

    Democracy is great, don’t get me wrong; but, it helps if we elect individuals who are considerably brighter than the average and don’t float into office on a sea of bile to practise hypocrisy.

  14. Tim
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    This story is just so over egged. Labour and a few left leaning news agencies, particularly the BBC and Guardian, see this as all consuming. Get over it. With the exception of the Dowler issue move onto the issues of the day, EU, Euro, immigration, foreign aid, human rights act, all of which need urgent action, NOT words!!

  15. REPay
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Hear! Hear! I live in the USA and this is treated much more as it should be – firstly as a hacking scandal and a problem for NewsCorp and secondly as a political story with some cause for red faces but not for apologies or more ludicrously resignations. Watergate this ain’t. The media and politicians fiddling while major problems such as the euro and public finances go unaddressed – that’s how it seems to people I speak to.

  16. Derek Buxton
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I am sure there are more urgent matters to occupy MPs than this sordid tale, especially since it was started by the BBC’s propaganda arm the Guardian. They had to stop the BSkyB bid at all costs and did.
    I want an immediate investigation into where all the money we haven’t got has gone, Cameron gives it away like a group of drunken sailors, except they earned their pay, whilst his own People are to be driven into fuel poverty. All to gain “brownie” points from the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Since when has the Guardian been part of the BBC?

      Also every media outlet that wasn’t owned by Murdoch tries to stop the BSkyB bid as well. The Mail, Mirror, Telegraph, and Observer also opposed it.

  17. Steve Cox
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    “Mr Blair and Mr Brown did similarly.”

    Is that really a recommendation, John?

    Blair and Brown did many things that wrecked this country, so should Cameron (and Osborne) be thought innocent of blame just because they followed similar policies (almost unrestricted immigration, abject failure to cut public spending and hence borrowing far too much, messing up the armed forces in ways that would have horrified their predecessors, etc., etc., ad infinitum it sadly seems)?

  18. Robert K
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Remarkable that Parliament be recalled and the PM return early from a foreign trip to sort out a nasty little muddle with Mr Murdoch whilst the real news of the day is the collapse of the eurozone. It gives little grounds for confidence that our legislature is more interested in Hackgate than it is in discussing how we steer through the ongoing financial crisis, the latest phase of which has the capacity to make Lehman look like a walk in the park.

  19. Bernard Otway
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Rupert Murdoch in his testimony yesterday, said That the politician he had MOST meetings with over the last 14 years [Including Blair’s 11 yrs as PM] was Gordon Brown so WHY the furore around DC and his 26 meetings since 2010 which have been published,as DC said today in the debate WHEN are liebour going to give EXACT DETAILS,And more to the point it shows the same GD’s RANT in the house in the last few days about Murdoch in a PROPER light .When will liebour EVER LEARN inluding Minipede what about the ex NI man on his current staff about which he did NOT answer the many question or remarks put to him today.

  20. Bernard Otway
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Also John Why no question from you in the house today,I am sure your intervention would have been very prescient,David Davis who asked the first question is certainly in my opinion
    positioning himself,IMHO you should be too.If the two of you head up a NEW and PROPER conservative party distancing us properly from the EU and stopping AID plus reducing the state by at least 20% you will get back me and the literally thousands of ex conservatives,who now are UKIP including the likes of Edward Huxley ,at the last election enough to have won a proper mandate and now properly worth about 1.5 million votes to UKIP and more by the day.
    Just look at the commentators on your site

    Reply I did not ask a question today because I do not think the concentration on the press issue is either wise or healthy

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Millions. Not ‘thousands’.

  21. Liz
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    The Press are out for revenge against MPs for revealing the expenses scandal; MPs are out for revenge against News International for being more powerful than them, Labour is out for revenge against David Cameron as they want to be in power, the BBC wants to get rid of its main media rival! The resulting frenzy and hysteria by people less than whiter than white themselves is bringing contempt upon all parties. The over the top reporting, acres newsprint, hours of repetitive air time are boring everyone rigid who just want the news reported properly not just the story that is obsessing journalists and politicians. The attempt to hit 80 year old Rupert Murdoch with a plate of foam said it all. Pure slap stick, laughable security and pompous politicians attempting to control the Press and stop their little peccadillos being reported – what a farce no wonder the public have no respect for any of the parties involved. What has been happening outside Westminster this last week or so – who knows?!

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      “The Press are out for revenge against MPs for revealing the expenses scandal”

      Wouldn’t the MPs be out for revenge against the Press for revealing the expenses scandal?

      Why would the BBC want to remove a rival? It’s paid for by the tax payer so it won’t lose any money no matter how powerful the Murdoch empire becomes. Unless Murdoch wants to destroy the BBC, in which case the BBC is justified in fighting for its survival.

  22. Electro-Kevin
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    A propos Neil Kinnock (and others)

    The hacking of Milly’s phone (and those of fallen soldiers) had absolutely nothing to do with political bias.

    So why is the remit of the inquiries being expected to result in the legal curtailment press bias ? Rather like when the Victoria Columbia case was being used in the argument against smacking children the Left are, yet again, being allowed to deliberately conflate unrelated issues in order to get their way.

  23. Electro-Kevin
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Once again – the most powerful newspaper in the land (if the lowest selling) has to be The Guardian.

    It’s their agenda we get served up just about every time.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Does this mean that the Conservatives got the most votes in the election as part of the Guardian’s agenda?

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted July 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        No. However, I do wonder why David Cameron seems like he reads the Guardian avidly.

  24. Mike Fowle
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your comments today and previously. The problem for MPs is that however much the more sensible of us say, for goodness sake address the real issues, the state broadcaster is fixated on one issue and is showing a complete lack of proportion and balance. Even those papers who piously call for less attention to the “hacking scandal” still have pages of coverage and comment. The problems really lie with the media than MPs, but how do you encourage the media to become responsible, in their little self righteous world. Incidentally, when I learnt about the enormous sums that BBC commentators are paid – out of public money – my view about the expenses scandal took some revising.

  25. Kenneth
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    “Running the country well is the better way to secure more favourable comment.”

    I do not agree. If our government had done what should have been done and cut excessive public spending last year, we would have seen a larger growth in the private sector and a more healthy economy ………….and much less favourable comment by the BBC and other centre-left media.

  26. Jonathan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Neither the Left or the Right political leadership have any comment about the Euro crisis and increased demands of what used to be the single market; I get the feeling it’s more fun for all to talk about “Hackgate” than get serious and do something about the power that’s being drained from the UK.

    • norman
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Why would our politicians waste their time talking about something they have no control over, or understanding of in the majority of cases, when instead they can be holding Stalin-esque show trials to enable them to pass more draconian laws to further restrict liberty?

      • uanime5
        Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Better than allowing media barons to gain more power. At least we can vote out unpopular Governments.

  27. forthurst
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    “Some politicians will carry on thinking some newspapers have more influence over public opinion than they do, and think they can have influence over those papers.”

    Politicians ascribe far too much power to the media; they seem to use the media as a surrogate for public opinion when it is not; it is often no more than that of a nasty little cabal trying to create undue influence for itself. This can cause politicians to act stupidly or precipitously and against the public interest: such was the dismissal of Enoch Powell, an extremely popular politician, but hated by the Cultural Marxists who were plotting to pervert this country into a multi-culti (place-ed). Of course it is true that tabloids can stoke up hysteria amongst the hard of understanding, but that is hardly grounds for political action either.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      “Of course it is true that tabloids can stoke up hysteria amongst the hard of understanding, but that is hardly grounds for political action either.”

      This is exactly the thing the Government should prevent. Stoking up hysteria benefits no one, makes it harder to enact sensible policies, and detracts from real issues.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted July 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Tell that to the BBC.

  28. Robert George
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    The Goverment and its major agencies employs altogether some 3000+ people as media advisors, PR people and so on.

    Cameron should have these people identified and declare every one of their jobs redundant. That would achieve two things, firstly it would diminish the obsession with PR and image at every level of government, secondly if the better part of 3000 journalists were put on the jobs market, the entire profession would be re-priced (downwards) and the less able would have to seek more productive employment.

  29. Winston Smith
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    If you look back, Mr Redwood, you will remember how Cameron won the leadership election vote through media manipulation. This is why they are so important to him. At the time Davis was ahead in the polls. Then came the conference speeches. The media followed with a pro-Cameron onslaught, middle-class metropolitan journalists doing their best to promote ‘one of their own’. “only Cameron can beat Labour” was their constant message. I watched as many Tory members and MPs were taken in. I lost total respect for my local MPrespect, now Cabinet minister, who fell for this message. Whilst so many people are easily influenced by media soundbites, the political elite will continue to link with the media elite.

    Reply: There were various reasons why David D did not win. They are not all to do with a media conspiracy.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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