Thursday, 19 May 2016

Fear moves online

Things seem much the same, EU debate presented as an issue between Conservatives based on escalating fears. This will continue unless the positive ideas from Corbyn are reported. There is an alternative through social media but it is hard to get a grasp of the scale or how it compares with a news agenda still set by Fleet Street.

Today Program on BBC Radio 4 this morning included an interview with Steve Baker. He has written on the Conservative Home website that he did not expect "how quickly the Remain campaign would descend into insults, personal attacks and petty tabloid smears on key people."

He details comments about Boris Johnson from Michael Heseltine and about the tone of comments on immigration by John Major. Is it very surprising that Boris is getting some robust remarks? He chose to mention Kenya in his Sun opinion to discredit the views of President Obama. This could go on and on, I am not going to repeat all of it.

The thing to notice is that Steve Baker has gone to a web site rather than a newspaper and the Today prog has taken this as a story basis. Will this continue as people may get bored with "petty tabloid smears"? It could be interesting if the BBC are prepared to include a wider range of opinion.

Meanwhile IPSO has made a judgement on the Sun story about the Queen and Brexit. I did buy a copy of the Sun and cannot find any apology. Apparently just printing the fact that there was an IPSO judgement is all that is required. They repeat the claim in an editorial that the Queen probably agrees with them on Brexit though they do not name any sources. I cannot find much press interest in whether Michael Gove was possibly the source. There was when the story first appeared but now the rest of Fleet Street seems to have lost interest. There was even some sort of defence a while ago along the lines of Privy Council rules not applying over lunch. It just seems to me that if the Queen has no defence about what papers publish it is no surprise what is written about anyone else.

Most interesting comment so far is in the Huffington Post.  "IPSO Fails Another Big Test" , another reason why the interesting  reporting of the EU referendum debate will mostly be online and with an editorial base outside the UK.

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