Conservative politicians have reported an increasing sense of unease over stories appearing in press publications which usually show a willingness to tow the party line, suggesting an outbreak of actual journalism may be afflicting newsrooms up and down the country.
Michael Gove today lamented several stories which appeared over the weekend in usually Tory-sympathetic newspapers including the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian.
The Telegraph, a champion of the Tories during their extensive campaign of lies over Brexit, took the proverbial biscuit last week when they published a ‘leak’ from a Downing Street insider who reported Dominic Cummings’ latest anti-leak rant. Cummings reportedly told aides, “one leak and you’re out” and warned them, “if you try to take me to an employment tribunal you will be dead to me.”
Christopher Hope, the Telegraph’s Chief Political Advisor said of the leak about an anti-leak statement designed to plug leaks to the press, “the irony of the anti-leak drive itself leaking to The Telegraph may not be lost on Mr Cummings.”
The shift in the Telegraph’s loyalties comes after the newspaper printed a story revealing the government covered up the results of a pandemic trial run earlier this year then ignored those results.
The trial run proved beyond doubt that the NHS would not be able to cope in the event of a pandemic outbreak mirroring the current crisis unless extra funding and failsafes were forthcoming.
Meanwhile, the Guardian, considered by many to be ‘Tory-trite but Tory-lite’ has reversed political gears in recent days by pointing the finger of blame at a government which, it says, has put lives at risk by dithering, delaying and spinning facts and figures. However, the newspaper remains anti-European, claiming the Coronavirus crisis has ‘brought the EU’s failings into sharp relief”.
The Daily Mail, by contrast, remains stalwart in its role as the government’s sycophantic propaganda machine, vomiting forth the kind of gutter press output and inaccuracy for which the paper has become synonymous.
While the news that the news is reporting the news instead of simply regurgitating government press-releases verbatim will dismay many in Westminster, readers can only benefit from the sudden emergence of journalistic integrity.
There can be little doubt the Brexit debacle and the 2019 election result were largely orchestrated by right-wing press barons as much as the politicians who keep them firmly in-pocket. A similar wholesale campaign of spin cannot be allowed to twist the true story of the government’s latest failure to serve the British public.
Those who work on the frontline in the nation’s newsrooms finally have a purposeful role to play.