Friday, April 23, 2010


Spin Threatens to Dominate Campaign After Second debate

How was it for you? I found it a bit stodgier this week but it still held my attention to the end when I gratefully raced out to the pub where I found nobody has bothered to watch it. I was fascinated to read, courtesy of the Mail(so it's likely to be true), of the feuding in Tory high command on how to respond to 'Clegg-mania' and how their campaign was paralysed for days as a result.

The origin of the word 'spin' derives from US media aides' efforts to big up their masters at party conventions. The aftermath of these debates provide a perfect equivalent to such conditions and I fear spin has intruded into the camapign with an unseemly lurch. To me it seemed all three candidates were basically no better or worse than last week, though I did feel Gordon had raised his game more than a tad. Yet the instant yougov poll gave the game to Cameron with Clegg second and Brown third. This dubious judgement was feted as gospel truth by the triumphant Tories but some later polls gave it to Clegg by a sniff or two.

I was pleased to see Sky News had decided this morning to say the debate was 'too close to call' which was about right. Nobody delivered any knock out blows, least of all Cameron; Gordon was combative and believable I thought; and Clegg, if not sparkling as before, did not allow his momentum to stall. If you look at the papers though spin dominates. The Sun was back to 1992 form with its absurd cheer leading for Cameron. It was also The Daily Mail for Dave; Times for Dave; The Guardian for Gordon and the Mirror for Gordon> The Independent opted to highlight the poll which made Clegg as the winner. So, given the closeness of the polls the papers chose the result which suited their prejudices. So depressing when organs of opinion surrender any objectivity to bang their partisan drums.

Just a question - after James Murdoch and Rebekkah Brooke's personal demonstration the correctness of Stanley Baldwin's view of press barons, can anything a News International medium produces be relied upon?

There are some complaints about bias in Sky's production values in the debate; the Times was playing games with its front page and we have the Sun censoring polls it has commissioned because they don't show what it wants to print.
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