Thursday, 14 December 2017

Daily Mail not quite as convincing as during referendum

Expands on tweets ( @will789gb ) as I have bought recent newspapers. More study later but this bit relates to recent tweets from Anna Soubry.

Telegraph reports Chief Whip threatened to sue for defamation as he strongly denied he had "bullied" a female MP and reduced her to tears. p4.

But Mail editorial asks "Was she truly a victim of bullying? Or were these tears of remorse for threatening wanton treachery?" p14

so there were tears, some might say

But Express and Sun are not into opinion front pages on this topic. Telegraph may regret the earlier front page with a list of the rebels. It seems not to have the impact they managed during the referendum.

Not sure when but there will come a time when the broadcast media do not follow this sort of thing quite as closely as previously.

continues on Twitter.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

@bbcr4today follows newspapers, hard Brexit continues online #blameTheresatheAppeaser

I am trying to stop buying newspapers so much but am also trying to understand BBC reporting. Radio 4 news today starts with fact that Michael Gove has suggested voters can change policy in the next election. Hard to understand why this is news. Then Nick Robinson sets up an interview with a reference to a range of views from Mail to Telegraph. Turns out in his questions that Gove may have meant to say vote for a different Conservative leader. So I have now bought a Telegraph, all much understated than @bbcr4today suggests. Charles Moore apologises for "sounding negative about poor Mrs May's efforts". No mention of betrayal or anything like it.

So a couple of questions that may turn up.

Why is the BBC still following an agenda set by newspapers? ( Nick Robinson not the only proper journalist puzzled as to why social media continues with alternative views )

If there is an election can there be a change of direction towards a single market, even back to whatever the EU would offer? How soon can this happen?

Meanwhile if the transition period turns out to be a bit of a muddle I do not think the Brexit newspapers now have the circulation or energy to work up the crashing out option. This still continues online with Westmonster, Breitbart London, Moggmentum, Leave.EU . Still not known what happened in the referendum with Russian bots, but somehow everything continues anyway. Scale and timing to clarify later.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Tabloids back off Remoaners, is there tweet danger for May? #blameTheresatheAppeaser

This is a very speculative post, may be out of time and scale, but could connect with something soonish. I am gradually closing down for holidays, need to clear newspapers from living space in case of guests.

I think the tabloids, well mostly Telegraph, have backed off turning the Remoaners into demons. There are now more of them but even though they made a public statement there is almost no negative reporting and not much of a story. One explanation is that the newspapers think the readers will not go along with it as the Brexit enthusiasm is not on same level as during referendum. Also tweets and social media have begun to take over. Westmonster gets funding as Express may be for sale.

But maybe the gap has moved on, not against a fringe of MPs but against Theresa May prepared to get a deal with EU. Not sure what support for a crash exit there is in business but it seems some newspapers are ok about it. The tweet world - Breitbart London, Westmonster, Leave.EU, MoggMentum - has started to raise the possibility of getting rid of May. I have started to retweet some of these with the tag - #blameTheresatheAppeaser.

Some of this is now in the newspapers. Today Telegraph page one "support from Eurosceptic Tory MPs...ebbing away" , ..."leadership candidates including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and David Davisare said to be in a state of readiness in case of a coup, though none is prepared to wield the knife" Quentin Letts in Daily Mail reports on Prime Ministers' questions - May "greeted with cheers from Government sycophants" but "regarded with suspicion by Conservative Brexiteers." Tom Newton Dunn in Sun (p2) "David Davis allies have launched a bid to make him PM"...... Sun sources - "Theresa will be gone by Christmas". Iain Martin comment subheadline in Times (p33) time to acknowledge May unsuited to leadership and must be replaced urgently - on Brexit Canada plus arrangements for City and Ireland. New Prime Minister Gove Rudd or -unlikely- #Boris. Too much peril for a general election. key figures to meet and agree.

Fleet Street for Brexit might get behind this sort of thing but more likely as tweets for now ( whether or not picked up by Russian bots ) .

Not sure how this is working out but my guess is Fleet Street as print will be shown as losing influence as in previous occasions.

By the way, Bannon and Breitbart not always concerned with interests of existing party organisation.

RT may still be best source for #Corbyn and PMQs

I am still confused about the idea of Russian bots influencing Brexit voting. Given what is being reported about the USA it seems quite possible. The UK gov is upset about something but they do not inform us what it is. So maybe later the first part of this blog will need to be rewritten to include new info.

Meanwhile I still think RT has done a good job on reporting Corbyn and PM questions in parliament. The newspaper story since Corbyn was elected leader of the opposition has been that he fails most of the time. On YouTube you can see actual recordings in his own voice. Duringbthe referendum and second leadership election I found RT did the most complete clips, avoiding the edits some others came up with to show an anti Corbyn case. I may be wrong about this but look forward to some proper study.

Steve Richards has suggested ways in which Corbyn and Labour could develop policy on single market. If there is support for this one thing to do would be to reconsider reporting on what Corbyn said during the referendum. The move to blame him ahead of the coup was so definitive that the record is way adrift as my own memory serves. During the general election Laura Kuenssberg for example managed an interview that concentrated too much on immigration and failed to notice what Corbyn was trying to say about economy. Maybe just my take, but it was quite easy for Conservatives to edit into an attack ad.

Maybe RT is just promoting any view that helps instability, but I find the Corbyn coverage useful. The FT needs a change in Brexit policy but Corbyn will need to be persuaded through policy that includes the concerns he has stated.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Tweets set the news agenda

posted by mistake in another blog

Fleet Street circulation and share prices, a looping story

This week news that Fox is back in talks with Disney. LA Times suggests background of scale required to compete online. Still waiting on talks but so far I cannot find any info on what happens to the print aspects. Will they form a viable unit? ( Roy Greenslade in Guardian mentions the Sun has three different versions of editorial in print for UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic. Could not work so easily if Sun part of a global website. )

Last week worries about Daily Mail group circulation and other issues caused a significant drop in share price. Roughly 700 to 550, still there today.

Jeff Jarvis has written about stories as a loop, something else happens so the first story can be rewritten, just a bit different. Also there can be new comment.

Meanwhile still no news on Trinity Mirror and Express. Problems may be around pensions. Scenario could be that Desmond gets cash and pension funds get the print business. Possible future story on how the valuations got past trustees.

Still expected that Guardian will be tabloid printed by Trinity Mirror. This could be viable if enough new contracts compensate for circulation declines in Trinity Mirror itself.

This post also relates to blog on IPEX. There will be spare machinery, where will it go?

Not off topic for this blog. Fleet Street seems to me to be declining as influence. The Telegraph story on "mutineers" was not much supported by other tabloids. Things are moving online. There is energy for Moggmentum, Westmonster, Breitbart London, Unherd. More on this later.

Also more loops on UK newspapers.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Jokes may be real news, even with a fake Trump

I enjoyed the fake Trump on the Peston show today.

Meanwhile the Telegraph has reported that Trump has cancelled the working visit to London. That was on Friday. Today Sunday Times reports ( page 6 on paper ) visit is on for Feb 26-27.

Both newspapers have editorial supportive of Trump. Both exclusive reports. No announcement widely shared.

My guess is that the wedding started something on Trump and invites. Not off topic for this blog as on Twitter it seems that the same accounts supporting Brexit also support Trump. I am not claiming they are shared bots or run by Russia. But check Moggmentum, Breitbart London, compare with newspapers. There are patterns. The Sunday Times mentions that Farage may be a "person of interest" for FBI. How did all this work? More research later. Meanwhile I hope the Fake Trump turns up on YouTube during the Preston break.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Dateline London , some connection

This is just a blog, great to get some contact with the proper media. I shout at the radio, I add my own comment to a tweet. And every so often there is some response.

Previously I have had a civil conversation with Flush the Blog Please @BlogFlush , a Brexit supporter, so it is possible through Twitter to consider opposing views.

Alex Deane is not the only Brexit supporter to appear. Janet Daly appears and Michael Gove briefly when concentrating on journalism. So Alex Deane is not an isolated voice.

To explain a bit more than I can get in a tweet, recently there seems to be agreement that Russia and bots have had influence in the USA and in continental Europe. Also , partly by implication, in UK and Brexit. Nobody disputing this much as memory serves from last week.

So will someone turn up soon with a different point of view?

By the way I still don't understand what the Russian motivation would be, unless just to encourage a bit of chaos.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Corbyn reporting slips back

Just about on topic for this blog.

Owen Jones on the Marr Show used a tablet when reviewing "the papers" to find tweets direct from Jeremy Corbyn.

I wondered if the speech about "warped and degrading culture" had been reported so later found it at the end of a story about Gove and Weinstein "joke" . Today prog sets news agenda maybe or just why not ignore Corbyn as much as possible unless there is something negative.

Going back to the referendum I still think that Corbyn made a major contribution that was not reported. This now continues, outside the general election rules on balance etc.

Nick Cohen wants leadership to counter Brexit but claims ( now in photo caption of Corbyn online) that Corbyn has spent his career "opposing EU on infantile-leftist grounds".

Well we are in a world of alternative facts. See previous posts in this blog on what I think actually happened during the referendum.

Will Hutton suggests that there may be a turn in opinion about Brexit

Events, along with the implosion of the Conservative party, may convert a small majority to the merits of staying inside the EU. But to seal the deal, there has to be a credible offer of change to the left-behind, white working class and the parts of the country in which they live and recognition of the vital need to shore up threatened identities.
If Remain had done that – and fought as a cross-party coalition putting Britain and its great values above party affiliation – it would have won in June last year. If disaster is to be averted, it must learn the lesson – or leave the field to an increasingly vicious right and decades of fury and self-examination as the country asks how ever it was led to such severe self-harm.
Well, what was Corbyn saying during the referendum and how was it reported? Lord Mandelson and Will Straw spent most of the time following Cameron. When space was made for Labour it turned out to be George Brown. Lord Darling did share a platform with Osborne. Corbyn knocked for pointing out this budget idea not cleared with him. etc etc see previous posts.
If the Remainers want support from Corbyn, why not quote what he said in referendum as a start? The soft coup needed a story but times need another one, closer to truth.


Monday, 23 October 2017

Real News About Newspapers ( draft )

No response so far to my blog post and tweets about the Sunday Times. See previous post on how Marr and Peston promoted me into paying out for Sir Keir Starmer in print only to find he is behind a paywall online. OK only a few hours but I did tweet yesterday so am moving on. Complaint is not just to Sunday Times but also BBC and ITV. I would think someone would tweet eventually. Will broadcast media continue to decide on news as in what appears to be in newspapers? Should they worry at attacks, even if backed up by Conservative MPs? At some point they may start their own news and/or report on newspapers as a situation.

Much is happening. Trinity Mirror may buy the Express group. According to Garry White, Trinity Mirror revenues fell 8% in a recent quarter but profits continue, up 24% for 2016. Apparently cost savings could make a link with Express a good deal. But Sunday Mirror down 22% year on year. Also the Guardian has announced that they will change format away from Berliner to tabloid. Trinity Mirror will do the printing. According to the Telegraph, April circulation 154,000 compared to 341,000 in 2005.

Shutting down the Berliner presses should save millions of pounds per year but could trigger a hefty one-off charge. According to the newspaper's annual report last year, it still owed Lloyds Bank £33.7m on hire-purchase agreements for the presses.

Next week at the NEC there will not be a Man Roland stand as part of IPEX. There was sheetfed at the Print Show in Telford. But the future for newspapers is getting closer to a news event.

Much to talk about though. Short run ( digital ? ) magazines as very local for example.

Sir Keir Starmer has only got  70,000 followers on Twitter. Sunday Times behind paywall about 200,000 ( accurate figures welcome, this is just a draft )

Watch the trends. If about 5x followers his tweets could be news.

Complaint about TV and newspapers - clarity about online paywalls

No response yet to tweets yesterday about the Sunday Times. To be clear, this is a complaint. In theory there should be a response in Twitter form or somewhere. BBC Marr show and ITV Peston both had news that Sir Keir Starmer "wrote" in Sunday Times about votes in parliament re EU. I wanted to check this out so bought a copy of the Sunday Times. I was surprised to find that the actual article was online only. I followed the suggested link to discover it was behind a paywall. Actually I guess there was a link to the article if I could have read all the article I had already paid for. ( If I have just got this wrong please someone send a link, this is just about my own experience. )

Complaint is not just about the Sunday Times. How can TV talk about the "papers" without making it clear what the deal is? Is there a bias? Marr panel finds a story to say that papers are still much read on a Sunday. "Hooray".

Might TV or someone report what is happening with newspapers? Circulation numbers etc. ?

How long will Sir Keir and other MPs bother to write for newspapers if they get this sort of coverage? If online only why not write somewhere not behind a paywall? Why is there a convention that it is only news if somehow associated with paper?

Slightly off topic, Corbyn started to recover public profile direct to camera on own YouTube channel. just my take.

Another thing, Marr claims including Huff Post on tablet shows BBC "not living in 19th century". I checked some dates in Wikipedia. News about this comes slowly, not anytime soon?

Times   1795

Telegraph 1855

Mail 1896

Express 1900

Guardian   1821

Mirror 1903

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Andrew Marr may just be uninformed about Corbyn in referendum

More later this week, just that I fell asleep last night to Andrew Marr on Start the week. Needs a comment a bit longer than a tweet.

He repeated the claim that Corbyn has been against the EU since Tony Benn days. No mention of what he said in the referendum. I used to think the BBC middle ground style of interviews were just winding Corbyn up. Now i think the news management has been so consistent that they really do not remember what happened.

Channel 4 has prevented Corbyn from putting the Last Gasp on YouTube. ( See screenshot in previous posts ) I never see repeats of Sky conversation with young voters. Corbyn as balanced yet persuasive.

Would it be possible for Channel 4 to offer Marr a private showing? Even if they don't want it on Youtube?

By the way, still interested in how it was all decided, to put Brown upfront and Corbyn on Sky. No offence intended, just looking at ratings.

Hello @campbellclaret , are you trying to persuade Corbyn or just have a go at him? Why not point out what he said in the referendum? Trust in media not helped by stories that clash with public memory, even if Andrew Marr is a special case.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

BBC impartiality

Reading Peter Preston response #2

And in Britain, this conference season, there’s a melee tinged with vitriol and violence. Laura Kuenssberg gets a conference bodyguard because of trolling threats after the Canary website mistakenly reported she’d be speaking at a Tory fringe meeting this week. No: she isn’t doing that because it doesn’t fit with BBC impartiality.

Watching Sunday Politics with someone from the Sun, someone who worked for Sunday Times and also Steve Richards for balance.

In the Guardian back in April Steve Richards wrote...." when anyone declares the solutions need to be modern, liberal and on the centre ground, we may nod in assent – but should then wonder what they mean." Problem for me was that Corbyn and most Labour supporters were seen as outside this scope.

Previously Gaby Hinsliff explained that the media did "not hate Jeremy Corbyn, more complicated than that"

And so to many commentators, his victory just didn’t compute. It made no sense. We treated it like a glitch in the system, almost a mistake.

So the soft end of Fleet Street is still fairly close to the Sun / Mail etc in news agenda.

See previous post, reporting on print newspapers as part of the #sackBoris situation is not much to be seen. More complicated as the age profile of Conservative voters / Brexit fans is much the same as for newspaper readers.

Twitter could go off in apparently a different direction.

Fleet Street is Backing Boris

Reading Peter Preston response #1

".....Corbyn and Watson write off Mail and Sun.....Now, can we all move on? "

Well no, not really. this is a continuing story. The papers are players. The hard Brexit leaders in Cabinet are also journalists. May is not frightened of the party membership. The problem would be the reporting in the Sun, Mail, Telegraph. In recent days the Telegraph promotes the major article ahead of Florence. Now there is the interview in the Sun and the claim in Sunday Times that Boris expects May to go. this sort of thing would continue. Maybe Gove will step forward as the balanced Times candidate.

The print news scene is so heavily into Brexit that they are part of the situation to report on. I am not sure what the rest of the pro journalists will do. Possibly the broadcast ones will eventually take a risk and offend the Sun, Sunday times etc.

My guess, chance remark one morning on Channel 5.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

brief comment on Media Show, trust in BBC News

Longer than a tweet but no time for full post, listening to radio in kitchen, need to get back to food.

Media Show has a worry about trust in Sun, Mail etc and includes BBC.

Concern about views on Laura Kuenssberg.

Just sticking to why there is a problem for some, recap from previous posts.

The "blame Corbyn" option seems to have been with some in the PLP and others ever since Corbyn elected

Corbyn did not seem in control of Labour campaign during referendum. When Cameron media policy decided to make space for Labour, it turned out to be Brown and Darling in the news.

Norman Smith reported Corbyn objecting to Osborne / Darling doom budget. As memory serves he said "Not exactly helpful. they are supposed to be on the same side." Excuse me, if someone from the House of Lords arranges a gov of nat unity the leader of the opp is allowed to say it was not cleared in advance.

The TV spots Corbyn managed to get included Last Leg on channel 4 but they blocked him from using the clip on his own YouTube Channel. Is it too late for this to be corrected?

"blame Corbyn" continued with closing press release from Will Straw. Connects to two heckles reported by BBC. Through twitter I gather that one was connected with Portland, the other with the Lib Dems. I believe this as there has been no contradiction. Not corrected on BBC as far as I know.

How many other heckles from 2016 were reported on BBC main TV news? My guess is zero.

During recent election I thought Laura Kuenssberg interview with Corbyn could have been reported as a stronger emphasis on importance of jobs and EU market. I thought BBC fed the newspapers with emphasis on free movement of people as an issue. When the Conservatives edited it as an attack ad I do not remember any BBC statement objecting.

In her TV doc on the Brexit referendum Laura Kuenssberg managed to show the evidence to "blame Corbyn" without spending time on Lord Darling or Brown. I realise time is tight on such a show but i hope there will be a return to this topic. What actually happened? What choices were made? Would the result have been different if Corbyn was reported for views on worker rights, environment etc. and backed by Labour organisation?

more later, back to the kitchen

Monday, 25 September 2017

extended tweet @ChukaUmunna

More of a post later

Watching BBC News after Today prog mentions Stalinism re Corbyn

Hello Chuka , if you want to change UK policy on EU might it ne a good idea to correct the record on what Corbyn actually had to say during the referendum? "Blame Corbyn" seemed to be well prepared at the time. Did he actually control the Labour message?

He managed to get on the Last Gasp but strangely Channel 4 has managed to prevent the clip as part of the official Corbyn YouTube channel. Why not organise a petition to correct this?

Scope of this blog still mainly about newspapers but also media in general.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Scope to include Twitter, Trump, CNN

Seems that television and online are now a large part of the scene for newspapers. Social media is mostly based in the USA so gradually the language and news focus gets to shape the UK as well in many respects. Brexit and Trump have become linked and several words are becoming confusing. "Nationalist" and "Globalist" for example. in the UK I think the EU was actually able to offer protection for parts of the UK economy. We will see what global Britain looks like, quite soon in outline.

CNN has announced a special on Trump and Twitter but it was not on UK version last night. Maybe soon. The bit i taped included a suggestion that Kellyanne Conway has the job of keeping Trump " on message and off Twitter". Maybe this is a cable TV point of view, similar to Guardian and newspapers in UK. Twitter is significant, also quick. Definitely now part of the context for UK newspapers.

More later on how words are being used. Now following @KellyannePolls as well as watching CNN.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Alternative Facts and Alternative Spaces, newspapers and Twitter / YouTube

This post is just about on topic for Brexit. Mostly about student loans as this is the aspect most newspapers and radio / TV are concerned about. Corbyn on Marr showtalked about much else including access to European markets. But anyway, another time. The main relevance is how the papers still think they can make things up. sorry. I am going to be more balanced. The Mail is reporting broken promises, gullible students soforth. Here are two screenshots from tweets.

And here the source material

Do your own search to find how this NME statement and Marr interview were reported.

My guess is that the newspapers are just concentrating on their older readers. There seems to be more of a gap around 45 or 50 , people who get alternative facts from social media and /or newspapers. Not sure about this but will see what else turns up.

Back on topic for this blog, still finding claims that Corbyn did not put energy into Remain case during referendum. Main aim of this blog to record what happened during referendum and 2017 election. How did this Brexit decision happen? Media stories against Corbyn still a large part of the explanation. His case for Remain was not reported, any more than what he said about EU on Sunday.

By the way, have you come across much press comment on David Cameron role in the referendum? not that long ago but seems to have slipped off the agenda.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Today Corbyn clip prompt to check alternative facts with BBC , Channel 4

On Today this morning another example of BBC narrative that Corbyn was to blame for the Remain defeat in referendum. Given as reason for the coup. I have done a quick upload to show the source.

See previous posts for my view that Corbyn contributed well during the referendum. The outstanding questions are around how the media options were allocated. Did Will Self decide to stick mostly to the Cameron approach? When Labour was asked to step forward as the polls wobbled, why was it mostly Gordon Brown? Did Corbyn know about Lord Darling sharing a platform with Osborne?

More specific for broadcasters and which someone knows the answer to so I am looking for support. One good thing about the election is that it is now established that clips from broadcasts can appear online in social media, either directly or through fans. The Conservatives edited a Laura Kuenssberg interview with Corbyn as if it was an attack ad. It could be seen in other ways if a news organisation should choose to show the priority for jobs.

Anyway the questions?

Would BBC support asking Channel 4 to make available the Corbyn appearance on Last Leg? The whole thing to show how he made a case? Not a catastrophist with project fear but building support based on employment rights and the environment.

Would Channel 4 support investigation of the two heckles reported by BBC including Newsnight? Much Twitter comment linking Portland Communications and the Lib Dems.

Apparently all is sweetness and light with the PLP but somehow the previous narrative continues. We can have alternative facts, memory plays strange tricks, but is it time to compare notes?

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Reuters report on UK trust in news since Brexit

Short post as I am almost on holiday. Lots happening around the start of EU negotiations but I am away next week so it may have to wait. the blog is about this all came to happen. The EU referendum and then the Brexit Election. Both stories to come back to.

But there is a definite news item, a report from Reuters Institute for Study of Journalism that includes a shift in trust dated from Brexit-

 Trust in the UK media took a significant
knock (-7 percentage points) in the wake of
a bruising and polarising Brexit campaign.
The role of the BBC came under particular
scrutiny, with the referendum taking place
when the corporation was seeking a new
charter. Remainers accused the BBC of
pursuing ‘unthinking balance’ and failing to
expose the exaggerations and distortions
of the Leave side. The right-wing press and
websites played a key role as cheerleaders
of the Leave campaign as well as attacking
the BBC for a perceived pro-EU bias. None
of this has enhanced the reputation of
mainstream journalism, at the same time
as the growth of social media (+6) exposed
people to alternative perspectives and
a more emotive form of news.

Nic Newman
Research Associate, Reuters Institute
for the Study of Journalism

Leaving aside the question of whether social media is actually more "emotive" than some newspapers we could mention ( another time ) this is a documented event, a shift in trust based on experience of reporting.

Maybe just my own view but I also noticed at the time a media bias on Corbyn. We are still told that he was "lacklustre" etc. so this is not over. Some genuinely believe this but there may also be an explanation why the Canary shows up in the report stats, not the New Statesman.

More posts later, there is a collection of paper building up. Seems that the Customs Union is the defining issue for Labour and the "FT Brexit" approach. Conservative leadership interesting for some but too confusing for the main narrative. I still see it as defined by newspapers with the "Express Brexit" most crucial if a leadership contest went to the membership or UKIP was reactivated.

Part of the confusion around the options in negotiation follows a lack of info during the election. Not much on offer from the candidates but journalists are allowed to ask a question, then comment if there is no answer. Depending how much damage turns up I guess the election journalism could do as much for trust in media as the referendum.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Reflection time to look back to Corbyn in referendum

Over a week since the election I still do not find much to convince me that the print journalists have changed all that much. Includes some broadcast aspects as well. In Guardian today John Harris considers changes in Corbyn reputation as reported and mentions " a vocal minority of online celebrants" who lack the nuances of the experienced print soforth. Thing is, can the online still be considered a minority outside the world of the columnists? Much could ebb and flow but a return to print as the main driver of election  opinion is pretty unlikely and this matters.

In the New Statesman Jason Cowley writes that " The armies of online Corbynites boast about slaying the beasts of the MSM (mainstream media) and abuse anyone who dares to remind them that Labour did not win the election." well , this blog considers that Fleet street is still an issue. In 2017 social media has started a base, that is all that is obvious. Still think print format could be a bit more polite.

Do these operations really intend to transform as online? They seem to have given up a bit, often just knocking Facebook and Google without explaining what they offer on their own sites. Maybe it is just the nature of a columnist to avoid a read/write medium. Guardian announcement on tabloid format had almost nothing about a web policy.

Anyway, back on topic, this may be a good time to ask some questions that may get an answer in the new spirit of open exchange and unity. It has sometimes been reported that "Benn was sacked in the middle of the night". What seems to have happened is that a report appeared in both the Observer and the Sunday Times that Benn intended to resign from the Shadow Cabinet and would encourage others to do so. There was a phone conversation with Corbyn. How could he continue given the printed reports? Later it was reported that Benn was not the source for the reports. So how do such things happen? Is it possible that someone from the Guardian or New Statesman could hazard a guess. Even the Observer or Sunday Times might reveal something in the new climate.

As mentioned in a recent post I am still interested in the two heckles of Corbyn reported on BBC TV news at the end of the referendum. They were intended to show that Corbyn was blamed by his own supporters. On Twitter it was widely stated that one was linked to Portland Communications and one to the Lib Dems. Neither claim has been considered by the BBC as far as I know. How do they decide which heckles to report? I do not know of others given the same amount of attention during 2016 or 2017 so far.

Jason Cowley, as linked above, also wrote about Corbyn that "He was a long-standing Eurosceptic, and so his leadership in the EU referendum campaign was lacklustre." This is just not true. So it is also misleading to write that he was "abused and traduced" as if this was in the distant past. Estimates are that 65 -70% of Labour voters voted for Remain.

The information I would like is about how the TV appearances were decided on. The official campaign with Will Straw seems to have been close to Cameron and HMG. Alan Johnson had some influence on the Labour Party office whatever the Leader was supposed to be doing. ( just my guess, no info to check this on). Corbyn was supposed to be aimed at youth. He was strong on Sky but shown late in the referendum. Was it his idea to go on the Last Leg ? Why did Channel 4 block him from using clips on his own YouTube channel ? He has been often criticised for only giving the EU 7 out of 10 but rarely is this shown in context.

During 2017 it seems well accepted that any TV clip is online, either from fans or the broadcasters directly. There should be more on Corbyn in the referendum so people can make up their own minds.

The main bit of the story that remains to be explained is what happened one late weekend as the polls turned out difficult and Cameron decided to make space for Labour. Who was involved in this discussion? Step forward Gordon Brown and Lord Darling to share a platform with George Osborne. Who would know how such things happen? Not that long ago.

I am not just raving on about the same things that never get a response or answer. The issues are still currant. Reading the FT there is some recent support for a cross party approach to Brexit. This might mean Labour support for something moderate. Corbyn would be involved but he was not so strong during the referendum. Lord Darling appeared to back a "punishment budget" from Osborne. Corbyn was seen as a bit of a spoilsport in pointing out that as Leader he had not agreed to Labour backing for such a situation. "Not exactly helpful" said Norman Smith on BBC News "They are supposed to be on the same side".

Over the next few months Corbyn may make a case for a jobs first Brexit. It remains to be seen what this means when in discussion with others. Those who prefer to get back as closely as possible to remain once seemed to be pushing alternatives to Labour but could now start on reporting what Corbyn has actually had to say.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Newspapers Still Matter - FT Brexit and Express Brexit

There has been a lot of comment about social media since the recent UK election. Aaron Bastani was on telly claiming that most people under 45 either do not read a newspaper or do not trust the info if they do. However the newspapers are mostly carrying on as normal. In the Times Clare Foges proposes to stop treating the young as political sages and sticks to the truth that there is no free lunch. On the Guardian Media page Afua Hirsch covers the perils of tweeting as in Trump. Social media and the election may turn up next week.

Meanwhile I am getting confused with the balanced statements from most politicians still trying to cover a range of options and not to upset anyone. I still tend to think that Labour has been more clear about a priority for jobs than has been reported. But in general the short phase after the elction when the claims were made for what it meant has been followed by ambiguity as far as I can tell from the politicians.

So I think that looking at the newspapers is the best way to understand the issues. Tipped off by the BBC Radio 4 press review I invested in  a weekend copy of the FT. This reported a meeting organised by business secretary Greg Clark. As reported "business leaders are hoping a weakened Teresa May will have to pay greater heed to their concerns........may lead to a softer Brexit". The editorial considers the benefits of a national unity government but doubts that Corbyn would "play ball".

Thing is, the Labour Party contains a wide range of views. There is a continuing conversation. If the voters who supported Brexit are going to modify their position they need other changes in policy. Suggest BBC and others allow some space for quite complex policy to be explained.

Anyway, back to newspapers. The Express is the most reliable for a UKIP style view. The Mail is hedged on a Sunday ( this week with Lord Mandelson split over two pages but quite clear in his view) and the Telegraph is careful to connect with most Conservatives, however they change over time. the Times is occasionally a soft version of the Sun. They are linked in when making a move. ( this is just a blog post, more detail when you buy the forthcoming book) .

Also by the way it matters what Rupert Murdoch thinks and he may see both newspapers together. What is the business model and how long will it last? Not off topic yet. It is undisputed that there was no outdoor poster advertising during the election. If the negotiations continue for two years the media landscape will change during that time.

Still think #FTBrexit and #ExpressBrexit will be useful tags.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Oxford Internet Institute / Telegraph , social media turns out to be voters not bots

More later when there is more info. Over the next few weeks there could be some research on ages of voters, what they read and soforth. Just now a note that the mentions for #Labour on social media seem to have mostly indicated a positive message. The numbers were based on genuine people, not manufactured by bots as suggested in the Telegraph.

I still cannot see how the Telegraph story was based on the Oxford research but I also think more could have been done to clarify the facts and the claims. I realise the research is based on large collections of stats, not on text analysis. But is the same sort of thing also ok for press mentions? Can impact be of any kind, however the research is represented?

Caroline Quinn on Corbyn and EU Referendum, BBC fact check please

This morning round about 5.30 on BBC Radio 4 Caroline Quinn repeated a remark that there could be a different situation if Jeremy Corbyn had campaigned during the 2016 referendum in a similar way to the 2017 election. My problem is that this sort of view just repeats the pattern of BBC misleading information on Corbyn. See previous posts for what I noted at the time. Stats vary as reported but something like 65-70 % of Labour voters voted remain. Compare 45% for Conservatives following presentations from Cameron.

I think it may be useful to compare both time phases and the soft coup or whatever you want to call it. The official / Labour end of remain was set up by Lord Mandelson and Alan Johnson. I am not sure how much influence Corbyn had in how the TV spots were arranged. The Observer reported one late weekend that because of the polls Cameron had decided to make space for Labour in the media schedule. Somehow this meant the return of Gordon Brown and Lord Darling to share a platform with George Osborne. They announced a really scary budget from which Corbyn distanced the official Labour Party as far and fast as he could. "Not exactly helpful" said Norman Smith, BBC political reporter based close to Cameron "They are supposed to be on the same side."

But why would Corbyn just slot in to the negative approach based on fear and catostrophe assertions by celebs from global finance? He was effective in his own style to the extent he was reported. He spoke at length to a younger audience on Sky. He appeared late night on Channel 4 but was unable to use the clip on his own YouTube channel. ( I have a screenshot somewhere but no time to find it just now)

Laura Kuenssberg did a TV doc also blaming Corbyn for the referendum result but not actually reporting who did the media appearances for this phase of the campaign.

As far as I know the BBC has only reported two heckles during 2016, both against Jeremy Corbyn intended to set up the blame story after the referendum. Through Twitter sources I think it very probably that one was from a person associated with Portland Communications and the other from a person associated with the Lib Dems. I myself saw a tweet congratulating them from a LibDem source. But I have never seen any sor tof BBC apology or reference to doubt.

If the BBC is now going to ask members of the PLP what they think about Corbyn now they could also have a good look at their own reporting so far.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Ian Dunt on Al Jazeera - UK journalism and the Brexit Election

I saw Ian Dunt on Al Jazeera this evening, talking about the lack of debate about Brexit during the election. His explanation is that most of the UK press supports Brexit so ask no difficult questions. Most of the broadcasters take their lead from the press.

I hope there will be a clip of this on YouTube or similar. I have found his Twitter feed, he was on BBC as well. Also a text with similar, more detail on economic consequences, mostly quite alarming, and then

None of this has been discussed during the election. It is not an elephant in the room. It is a stampede approaching at speed, to which we have stared, shrugged and continued with our little tea party. If historians do bother to assess what happened in this election they will be left aghast at our complacency. And they will condemn the vacuous proposals put forward by May and Corbyn in the strongest possible terms. We needed political giants. Instead, we got children.

Personally I can understand why Corbyn has been concentrating on other topics. When he did try to explain to Laura Kuenssberg that his priority was for jobs not limiting immigration there was no BBC reporting on the positive aspects of this. Conservatives were able to edit an attack ad without much change from the BBC approach. It was May who called it as a Brexit election, with support from the newspapers. Surely the main responsibility is with them?

Dunt on Al Jazeera said that journalists outside the UK are struck by the nature of UK reporting. Whatever happens in the election result some of this will feed back later.

Guardian reports social media response to tabloid attacks on Corbyn. They seem to me to be much less assured than during the referendum. Later in the year could be soon enough to look at the reputation of UK news sources online, that is both outside UK and inside on a scale to be determined. Social media will be some form of alternative.

No Telegraph report on latest Oxford Internet Institute research

I bought a print copy of the Daily Telegraph today but as expected could find no mention of the update on research into patterns of social media postings during the election. There is no take on whether posts are positive or negative but a trend towards Labour seems to be confirmed. There is a story that MI5 once opened a file about Jeremy Corbyn but I can only find a web link to a previous example of this "news".

Also there is no print report about the Board of Trade proposed by the Conservatives. Yesterday on Twitter there was comment about going back to a colonial committee from the seventeenth century. On the Today prog I thought Boris was so concerned to knock Corbyn that he allowed no time to mention the Board of Trade if that was his intention. The only item that comes close is a political sketch of Johnsons presentation from Patrick Kidd in the Times. Once the UK leaves the EU "we would become a great trading nation again and the East India Club would get a second billiard room".

As far as I know there has been no reporting on Liam Fox or "Empire 2.0" during the election. Maybe he has not said anything. See next post for more about the lack of discussion on Brexit during what was supposed to be a Brexit election.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

New Research from Oxford Internet Institute - #oii-Telegraph

There is an updated report that appears to show continued interest in the Labour Party.

The authors still seem to me to make too blunt a difference between "junk news" and "professional news" though they have more sense in proportion in assessing the role of robots.

A report in the Guardian includes reference to the possibility that increased search for Corbyn on Wikipedia relative to May may indicate future trends in voting.

Sorry this post is short, just off to hustings in Exeter organised by Express and Echo. More tomorrow.

Also I will be buying a copy of the print Daily Telegraph to check how this is reported. Cannot find it on the website at this time. There may be a way to spin it.

Expanded Tweet - Telegraph Oxford Internet Institute #oii_telegraph

This post is to get back on track with the issues. The tweets have got stuck on whether or not "big mouth jimmy" is a robot. I have had several tweets denying it and complaining that I ask the question. Then another one from Ben Nimmo with stats that make a case the account is "botlike".

However my most recent tweet, possibly not seen by Ben Nimmo, was in response to his retweet of a link from Phil Howard, agreeing that "Bots, fake accounts, and active campaigns of distortion and misinformation erode open participation and democratic discourse." ( btw Phil Howard is an Oxford prof, I don't know how his views fit with the Telegraph article but there is some link with Ben Nimmo at least as far as to check tweets )

The impression from the Telegraph story was that the apparent Labour support on social media could be explained by unfair robots, unusually active for Labour supporting views. I personally cannot find the support for this in the evidence published by the Oxford Internet Institute.

Ben Nimmo pinned tweet suggests balance as a test for fake news. Is it possible that young people are using social media and support Corbyn because they are fed up with newspapers and politics as usual. "distortion and misinformation" could be seen as an aspect of the EU referendum that has continued in reporting on Corbyn and during this election. This was not considered in the story as published.

Newspapers will have to coexist with social media. They have to offer some credibility for further communication. just my opinion.

Still on topic for the blog, the Telegraph story final paragraph (page 4 from front page story lists the Labour team for EU negotiations. They are all "staunch Remain supporters".

Monday, 5 June 2017

New Evidence on Jimmy as Robot, will it matter?

First the new development from my Twitter research. Ben Nimmo has posted some stats on posts by Big Mouth Jimmy which appear to be supporting the view that there may be a robot involved. Mostly retweets, over a thousand in one day. There is a link to an article about fake news suggesting that it is fake accounts that spread it.

Ben Nimmo is an expert source for a story in the Daily Telegraph last Friday headlined "Fake web accounts boosting Labour vote" . The story is also based on research by the Oxford Internet Institute.

Jimmy now has a pinned tweet to deny being a robot. Personally I believe this as the selection of tweets is so various. There may be more than one person involved but if it is a robot it is effective enough to convince me as a response to news from a Labour point of view. The main issue is the content, the topics in the election. One was a retweet about a Mail on Sunday poll from @faisalislam . Not "fake news" , just news that suits a certain audience.

Monica Kaminska , co-author of the Oxford research that apparently found 21,661 Labour supporting tweets from automated accounts, is quoted as saying "It is worrying...megaphoning marginal viewpoints...because young people are turning towards social media as their primary news source".  I have shortened this from the print version as I cannot get to the full version online. The research can be found at this page, with a link to a full PDF. I copy out this bit as a summary-

(1) Content about the Labour Party tended to dominate traffic on Twitter.
(2) Automated accounts generated a relatively small amount of content about UK politics

So this could just result in a story that Labour is well supported on social media and that bots are not much of a factor in this situation. Advertising budgets could be more of an influence in the general consequence, including edits of TV interviews.

There has been a tweet around this that mentions "the newspapers own interpretation" but without much explanation. Oxford University may be concerned how research is reported. There may be other comment.

Phil Howard ( @pnhoward ) has tweeted
" 1) @Telegraph #fakenews w/ our #fakenews research
   2) false "exclusive" claim

Meant mistakes exclusively theirs?"
This is a bit obscure. If there are mistakes could this be better explained in public?

My guess is that younger people will continue to get more news from social media. The EU referendum was a time when Brexit supporting newspapers seemed to some to be mostly concerned with opinion. This style has continued. More information will appear after the election on which groups actually voted.

Answering the question in the headline, I don't think it matters at all if Jimmy is a robot as long as the job gets done. Seems ok at the moment and I still think there is a person involved. Please check future posts. As a blogger I tend to repeat the same story though sometimes with an item of news.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Fake News, Daily Telegraph, Oxford Internet Institute, #ge2017

No tweet response to previous questions but I think I have found the source research doc.

Junk News and Bots during the 2017 UK General Election: What Are UK Voters Sharing Over Twitter? COMPROP DATA MEMO 2017.5 / 31 MAY 2017

For me this from the conclusion is the interesting bit-

Content about the Labour Party tended to feature prominently among the election traffic on Twitter. The level of automation was roughly equal across the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and UKIP, however highly automated accounts tweeting about the Labour Party were more productive in spreading content. Overall though, automated accounts generate a relatively small amount, 12.3%, of the total content being shared about the UK election.

So how can this become a front page story in the Daily Telegraph headlined "Fake web accounts boosting Labour vote" ?

No direct link mentioned in the print version of the story. No Twitter connections to the source of the paper.

btw " Blogs and websites dedicated to citizen journalism," included under "other", after Professional News Outlets so I feel less excluded now. Sometimes the way that bloggers appear in newspapers / academic writing can be a cause for concern but anyway back on topic

Now located some Twitter connections

John D. Gallacher Oxford University @john_gallacher1 Monica Kaminska Oxford University @monica_kaminska Bence Kollanyi Oxford University @bencekollanyi Philip N. Howard Oxford University @pnhoward

So my question is, has the news so far reported the research accurately? should there be further comment?

This is the weekend so maybe not much can happen till Monday, but sometime before Thursday would seem appropriate.

Telegraph, Oxford Internet Institute, fact check please

Yesterday I tried a tweet to Oxford University. No reply. Today a bit more time on Google and I find "Political Bots" a project at the Oxford Internet Institute. Top two stories are that a) Labour is dominating the election conversation on Twitter b) one in four links shared is from a bot not "professionally produced news".

I still do not know the report on which the Telegraph front page story was based  ( No 50,397 Friday 2 June) in which it is claimed that Labour is boosted by fake social media accounts. This blog post is an extended tweet to ask for more info. Links please, refs for reports if they exist in print or academic formats.

Is it possible the two stories have become edited together somehow? There are bots and there are Labour supporters but no original source that the Labour support messages are from bots.

What is "professionally produced news" ? Is it just newspapers? are blogs included even if a bit hobbyist?

Any research on advertising? BBC news report on edited clips of Corbyn video promoted as adverts. Any info welcome.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Trade issue reported but not much

Twitter has a clip from Today on Brexit but they have not chosen the bit where Angela Rayner mentions priority for tariff free access to the market. John Humphries queries how this can happen but there is no background on how EU may see free movement of goods and people as connected. EU speaker cut off yesterday because of the weather but surely the Today planners could find time to explain?

On Sky / Channel4  last night Jeremy Corbyn said " the priority is tariff free trade access". I cannot find this today in the print Guardian although they do report him at length. My guess is that the Guardian has been supporting LibDems as a way to contest Brexit but this has had a mixed response. Looking at what Labour would actually negotiate could have more potential. They might say more if they thought they would be fairly reported. So far Andrew Neil and Jeremy Paxman have concentrated on immigration in their questions.

Humphries shares a concern that the electorate is being "infantilised" by the absence of information on what Brexit negotiations are about. My guess is that this will be remembered or discovered if the consequences turn out to be difficult. So far the UK media has missed a lot as far as I can tell. Contrary evidence welcome. there are still a few days.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Looking for links on Conservative policy on Brexit economy

So far I have got the impression that there is not much detail on Conservative policy and almost no questions or comment from media. Over the next ten days I will try to find some. So tweets etc based on the view that May has largely switched away from Brexit to contrast with Corbyn on security. Media still asking about immigration rather than jobs and almost no scrutiny on what Conservatives are actually trying to negotiate or how.

Few examples show something happening but not much. Today prog had interview this morning but cut short by the weather. I have uploaded with my own comments and queries. What deals can be done and how? If EU offer details on formal situation there should be time to consider.

Peston interview with Paul Nuttall got more response than I have heard from a Conservative. About 4min 30sec. Suggests German car makers will want a trade deal even though UK leaves market. No further question from Peston. One more show to go before the election. My guess is that although Brexit seems to less of an issue there will still be a claim that whatever turns up has been agreed. So any clips when the economy is an issue please add links in comments.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Brexit still main topic for blog / "soft on terrorism" tilt for election

Thinking about the newspapers and the morning television I think the news is that the intended focus of the election has changed. Theresa May called it allegedly about Brexit. She needed a stronger hand. But other issues seem to be working against Conservatives in the polls.

Sunday Times reports there will be a relaunch, return to core message - "only Theresa May can be trusted to negotiate Brexit". But looking at the Sun on Sunday it seems something else is happening. Two pages near the editorial in her own words. No mention of Brexit that I can find.  Corbyn is "incapable of tackling the grave threats we face". He is against shoot-to-kill by armed police, opposed to RAF in Syria and Iraq. etc. ( can't find a link to this but presumably similar will appear soon on other online sites)

On Peston this is the full interview, context for the "soft on terrorism" statement

So my guess is that coverage of actual Brexit issues will be even less next week than previously. The BBC keeps asking questions about the IRA in years gone by. A switch to what Sinn Fein is saying in the European Parliament about issues that concern many in 2017 is very unlikely.

Not enough time now to copy in clips from Marr and Sunday Politics. Just a note that the press panel at end of Sunday Politics was agreed that Diane Abbott would continue to be asked about IRA. Compare her interview on Bloomberg ( see previous post ) where the interviewer was polite and the questions informed and current.

Age divisions continued, blogger considers Facebook

Continued from previous post, which was wondering about how age influenced this election and the way media cover it.

Today watching Peston on ITV I had to notice a section on social media continued on Facebook. I have had a look and it is not easy to link it to this blog directly, No embed code for example that I can find. So the time has come to move into Facebook as well as this blog. I have been there a while but how to use it is still a mystery. Following suggestions I have started a page to put all the links that may turn up. Also now i have a heading graphic, a user id and a link.

The username @brexitelection2017 has been created for Brexit Election 2017.
It's now easier for people to find your Page in search. People can also visit your Page at and send messages to your Page at


So looking forward to some more links. I don't think the stats are in yet but there is a significant difference in how different generations are supporting different parties and how they voted on Brexit.  Trust in media? what they watch / read? we will be told later, when election is over.

By the way, the first two tweets selected for comment were from Tom Newton Dunn and Tim Shipman , So difference to BBC starting with a press review of the Sun and the SundayTimes, not a lot really if you ask me. Other tweets are available. This blog will continue with the same balance you might expect. Facebook similar, with relevant links you can check for yourselves.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Age divisions, looking for new info

I have found an article from early on in this  election - YouGov on the "demographics dividing Britain". Makes sense, the anti Corbyn bias mentioned in previous post might work for an older TV audience so Andrew Neil and the others are not getting much feedback.

Not sure how this is working out over time. It may get more polarised. My impression is that on Twitter the Conservatives are tending to use display ad styles. There may be some reaction to this.

Blog is still mostly looking at newspapers but I will spend more time with social media for context. TV and radio is turning up as clips.

Bias against Corbyn could explain a lot, for example #Brexit referendum result

I was actually surprised how antagonistic was Andrew Neil in his interview with Jeremy Corbyn yesterday evening. It seemed completely over the top. BBC still seems more concerned to go through the archive than to report what actually happens in the campaign. Corbyn speech after Manchester continues from Chatham House, not much reported either.

I went back to the iPlayer for BBC This week, previously just found some clips of YouTube. Should be there for a year or so. Most recent one Alan Johnson and Michael Portillo actually agree on downside of sending in the bombers to foreign countries.  Johnson has views on community policing that seem to me to be close to Corbyn and Diane Abbott. But Johnson spoke more in support of May than of Corbyn.  Complete studio agreement on Corbyn record with IRA as it seemed to them.

In the later interview Corbyn mentioned the upcoming EU negotiation and the role of Sinn Fein. Not allowed to develop this point. it seems to me the reporting from BBC and others during this election is mostly about personality. Actual policy about Brexit, aims of negotiation and how to do it, this sort of thing is mostly ignored. ( I have sent in a tweet with the proper tag

is there a difference between Conservative and Labour on priority for jobs in EU negotiation? If so should it be reported ?


Anyway, back on topic. Labour stars such as Johnson and journalists such as Neil may have been in an echo chamber, just a theory, where knocking Corbyn has been assumed for several years now. They may not realise how this comes over to people who can observe Corbyn in his own words directly on TV or online.

Going back to the Brexit referendum it seems probable o me that Lord Mandelson and others arranged the Labour campaign without much influence from Corbyn or communication during the arrangements for TV appearances etc. Exactly who said what when is a bit of a mystery but memory could stretch back a year or so. this info could be available. When the polls moved against Cameron it was decided that Labour should step forward. Gordon Brown and Lord Darling, sharing a platform with Osborne. turned out not that persuasive. More reporting for Corbyn on worker rights and the environment might have worked better. Just how long has this negativity from Johnson been a factor?

Anyway, now in speculation mode I wonder why Bloomberg suggests the pound is falling because the polls are narrowing? My guess is that Brexit will be a disaster, that May is so worried by UKIP and immigration that the economy will have no priority. By contrast Labour would negotiate better access to markets. So Bloomberg audience might well prefer this. Anyway I will keep watching every so often. They sometimes report what is actually happening, more interesting than Corbyn bashing from the BBC archive.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bloomberg clarity, Diane Abbott Brexit priority on trade

About an hour ago I saw an interview with Diane Abbott on Bloomberg. Francine Lacqua was relaxed and polite but asked relevant questions. Freedom of movement may be an issue around trade, there may be a difference with the Brexit expected, but Diane Abbott was allowed the space to make clear that Labour has a priority for jobs and the economy, including financial services, rather than the Conservative priority for immigration control.

I still find that this is not well reported in newspapers or most TV / radio. the election has been called about the negotiation but there is very little discussion on what the negotiation is aiming to do or how to set about it.

Hope this clip turns up on YouTube soon.



about 8 minutes in

( My view is that Bloomberg should make Brexit the headline title. Most other media are not reporting Labour priority on Brexit. It could be news especially if contrasted with Conservatives. Remain comment could allow space for this possibility rather than expecting Lib Dems to totally reverse referendum result. More on this in a future post.


Meanwhile have found the Andrew Neil interview with Teresa May. He concentrates on immigration although she makes several statements about Brexit in general. When will the BBC explore Conservative ideas around jobs in more detail?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Conservatives on YouTube link to BBC, can BBC maintain their own balance?

Quick look on YouTube finds this

careful edit from Laura Kuenssberg interview with Jeremy Corbyn. Previously I have suggested that the main news aspect of this interview is the priority for trade rather than immigration. The way the BBC reported it allowed such ambiguity that the Conservatives can make this edit.

May is quoted here just saying that some in the EU do not want the negotiations to succeed. But it is she who says that no result would be better than a bad result. Michel Barnier in Guardian page 4 23 May is quoted "That is not my choice and I would advise anyone to explain exactly what no deal would entail."

Andrew Neil had several topics to raise. Priority for trade was not one of them. Will the BBC get round to reporting Corbyn priority for trade or asking Conservatives what it is they are negotiating or how?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

What happened to Labour with City connections? Time to speak out?

See previous posts for suggestions that a) Labour is more interested in trade than immigration as a priority for EU negotiation b) newspapers and TV/radio are not reporting this difference well and are not asking the conservatives any searching questions on detail of policy.

I am beginning to wonder if this explains some of the problems during the referendum. Lord Mandelson, Will Straw, Alistair Campbell, they could be asking questions about this sort of thing. I might have missed it. It is possible that knocking Corbyn is such a high priority that they would rather be silent. Not sure, time will tell.

I don't think I am just being rude at this point in time. There are some trading concerns that could become urgent and clear statements could get attention.

Still not much scrutiny of what Conservatives are negotiating

Both Marr and Peston seem to avoid asking what the Conservative negotiation on Brexit is aimed at. The Observer has story on Damien Green suggesting remainers should vote Tory as there are some Tories apparently with a softer take than May appears to be suggesting. But Marr asks nothing about this. Who are these people? What do they think? Is the Conservative Party any more united than Labour on Trident?

Peston allows Boris to make statements about Labour policy on Brexit that I find misleading. "Corbyn does not know if he wants to be in the single market or out of it." Not true as far as I can follow it. Corbyn has a different take on immigration and might negotiate on the single market within the scope the EU is starting from. Boris seems to support an exit from the single market or just walking away from negotiation. this followed by a free trade deal that is far from clear on timescale or whether it would happen. In the Mail on Sunday he writes about a "great Free Trade Agreement". Is this the sort of thing Peston should ask for detail about?

Sunday Times has "Old Knuckleduster" David Davis "in mood for a scrap with EU". Andrew Neil and panel consider this "rhetoric" will vanish after the election and relations with EU will return to calm but this may not happen. I do not find any comment about how sensible it is to drop this sort of thing into negotiations. Reporting is still around the idea of Teresa May as a strong personality. Newspapers will continue along party lines so TV and radio might be more investigative. Not yet as far as I can tell.

I still think the Labour interest in jobs and the economy offers a real difference in how negotiations could turn out. The soft end of Fleet Street is doing nothing to support this however. Lib Dems still getting the attention for a sharper point of view that sounds better but will not have much effect.

Future post to look at the online aspects of this. Newspapers and TV so closed down I guess there is an alternative discussion somewhere.

PS. Checking papers today finds Dan Hodges p18 in Mail on Sunday who praises Teresa May's bravery but claims that at an event in Bristol he has "never seen a prime minister less comfortable in the public arena." ....... "The strategy of hiding her from voters and the press is born of necessity, not opportunity."

Will anyone get to ask a question on what the Brexit aims are? As compared to Labour? Not on personality as reported, just on policy?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

FT sense on Brexit in podcast - no paywall

Strongly suggest this is worth a listen.

Podcast on Brexit has several points that make sense for me but are not much covered in the rest of UK press.

What strikes me

difficulty of getting a UK trade deal    ( EU will not allow a better situation outside EU than in )


unpleasantness, downside of argumentative atmosphere during the election


election will not make much difference to strength of UK position


( timings just in case you have to skip, really worth listening to the whole thing. )

My own guess is that May wants a hard Brexit, the election has not helped a good atmosphere for negotiation.

Things may soon change but I expect the largest part of Fleet street to stick to bashing Brussels with none of these issues being raised as questions for the Conservatives. Possibly the TV interviewers could be concerned. But I think this election will be completed with even worse reporting than during the referendum.

Meanwhile Labour manifesto.

 We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.

Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. We will reject ‘no deal’ as a viable option and if needs be negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a 'cliff-edge’ for the UK economy.

There is clear difference here. Again, not much chance of Fleet Street pointing this out.

But the FT at least talks some sense some of the time.

Bloomberg follows up on Davis, @Guardian scrutiny still obscure

Search on Twitter suggests Bloomberg is the main report on Davis story as it continues.  Includes video from studio discussion. Apparently we should not expect any detail from May during an election. there is a Plan A and Plan B. My impression is that this means there is a threat to walk away. Trade deal outside EU is supposed to negotiated as much the same as if nothing had happened. I may be wrong about this but so far this is about as much info as UK media has discovered. Bloomberg doing much better.

Yesterday Guardian opinion.

Matthew d'Ancona

as the PM approaches her negotiations with Brussels, it must rid her of the outlandish and (in some cases) downright misleading claims of last year’s leave campaigns. There was never the slightest chance that departing the EU would yield a dividend for the NHS of £350m a week. But – until she has her own distinct mandate for Brexit – May will be dogged, not unreasonably, by this and the other promises of the 2016 referendum.

I can't see anything else on what May offers at this time. Will actual Brexit be just as much a shock as the referendum fallout? Fleet street including the Guardian is not doing any scrutiny. It is well known that May rarely answers a question and sometimes selects the questions to answer. But there can be comment that results in discussion somewhere. The Davis interview has not been much reported. 

Then you get a Remoaners article that fails to mention Corbyn priority on immigration / jobs.

There is a choice between the two main parties. The "misleading claims" from the referendum continue with the misreporting of this election.

Bloomberg is well placed to report on the UK,

Sunday, 14 May 2017

And Another Thing, David Davis and the people who "hate Brexit"

Peston with David Davis. Labour Press tweet

Previously Marr suggested to Corbyn that there was no difference between Labour and May on Brexit policy. this interview shows otherwise. I still expect confusion reporting from the Guardian and selective quotes from most of Fleet Street. But the evidence is there for social media and journalists outside the UK.

Just to repeat from previous posts, is it reasonable to expect EU officials to be wildly pro Brexit? just how much unanimity is Davis working towards? This kind of mixing it may win extra seats in an election but will it help negotiation? Do they actually want a negotiated result?

Extra aggro could be just a side effect of the election decision that was not considered. Who would know?

Brexit will dominate the next few years, taking up almost the entire bandwidth of the next Government.
A big majority will ease things, virtually guaranteeing Theresa May will be able to get any outcome through the House of Commons – but the sheer amount of energy she will have to devote to it means the Prime Minister will have to be selective on the domestic policy front.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Craig Oliver in the Mail on Sunday. What I gathered from the press reviews on BBC etc was that this article is about the need for clarity. I thought this might be clarity about whatever it is that is being negotiated. It turns out that "any outcome" will get through the Commons. Is that it then. Expectations of clarity in the manifesto or probing from journalists have not been set very high.

Andrew Marr has gone too far away from news

Just repeating from previous post but yet again the aim of knocking Corbyn has got in the way of any sort of sensible journalism.

Marr finds a tape from 2011 and describes it as "recent". No mention of Chatham House speech this week till Emily Thornberry mentions it. They clog up the time with versions from the past. Best to follow official Corbyn on YouTube.

On the papers, Observer journalist suggests supermarket prices result from pound devaluation, Sun journalist says just supermarkets being naughty. Once upon a time the TV / radio jiournalists were supposed to comment on this sort of thing. Now they seem to either have news that includes opposite facts in the same item or to have found a quote from long ago that suits their plan for the week anyway.

I listened to BBC World Service last night then fell asleep again so not sure of names. But here is a link to a podcast I will check later. Supposed to sum up the news for the week. Reported admits he cannot remember much detail from similar clips for previous election. No mention of Corbyn at Chatham House. Maybe the news would be interesting if based on what actually happens. Yes, Corbyn views evolve, but this may be news.

I am beginning to wonder about the BBC and war. Interesting documentary on BBC4 telly , probably still there, on how the news operation was improved during WW2, then expanded with the invasion of Europe. There may be something about the culture that is built around war reporting or context setting or something. They don't like the negotiating style that Corbyn suggests. When the dinner leaks came out Marr said "they started it" and was right behind the Downing Street bashing Brussels. I still think it significant this came to an apparent extreme just ahead of the local elections.

The World Service was once the Empire Service in the 30s . Maybe the ideas around "Empire 2" make sense to them. There has not been much scrutiny of what Brexit means during this election. My impression, less than in the weeks before. "I am a difficult woman" quotes seem to be enough for the public to get the drift and the journalists are not making any comment.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

UK Media miss out on Brexit election story, help please

This post is on a few things that seem to be missing. Just my take, may seem a bit of a rave but see previous posts for sources. I may just be repeating things.

Jeremy Corbyn is not well reported. I may go back to the referendum and try to work out how often the media / Remain supporters were more worried about knocking Corbyn than checking out the points he made. Recently his speech at Chatham House not reported at all in Guardian as far as I can tell today. I have uploaded a clip from Today ( BBC Radio 4) that seems to have been based on an advance text. Full clip comes from RT so thanks for this. we need comment from somewhere on the range of reporting available.

See also the Prime Minister and her appeal to the patriotic working class.

So far it has to be accepted that the Teresa May approach is working very well and the press are doing a wonderful job. But the details of what it is she wants to negotiate are still vague. Maybe this will change next week.

After the referendum there were questions raised about the UK media. Newspapers are expected to be partisan and TV / radio are supposed to be balanced. Is analysis supposed to appear when something is not making sense?

May decided to call an election in the middle of negotiations. Arguments around "leaks" could get worse. Is this intended? If not was it foreseen? Is it the plan to eat the cake first and then demand a trade deal anyway? What difference is there to Corbyn view on jobs and industry?

RT or someone please ask the question. Chances of UK media getting an answer to a question is quite low as asking the question would have to happen first.