Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

Nicholas JonesA journalist of fifty years standing offers a personal and independent assessment of the often troubled relationship between public figures and the British news media.

My aim is to try to monitor events and issues affecting the ethics of journalism and the latest developments in the rapidly-changing world of press, television, radio and the Internet.

Expect too an insight into the black arts of media manipulation. So spin-doctors, Beware!

A journalist of fifty years standing offers a personal and independent assessment of the often troubled relationship between public figures and the British news media.

26 Feb 2020
Synchronised messages and campaign coordination destabilised Jeremy Corbyn

Further evidence has emerged about the damage inflicted to Labour’s 2019 general election campaign by the orchestration and manipulation of attack lines generated by Conservative-supporting newspapers that were then backed up on social media.

Unlike the 2017 campaign when Theresa May failed to take advantage of the ammunition being provided by her press cheerleaders, there was deadly synchronisation between Boris Johnson and the Corbyn-tormenting Tory tabloids.

At the start of the 2019 campaign a well-timed intervention by the former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove helped to pivot the Johnson campaign on to territory where the Labour leader was especially vulnerable.

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17 Jan 2020
Corbyn’s vilification: a master class by Tory press

Ever since he emerged as a serious contender for the Labour leadership Jeremy Corbyn was subjected to unprecedented vilification by the UK’s dominant Conservative-supporting, pro-Brexit press.

Some of the country’s highest-paid columnists and commentators succeeded in delivering a master class in the character assassination of a British politician.

Steps can be taken to challenge the agenda-setting [ ... ]

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17 Dec 2019
Vilification of Jeremy Corbyn exceeded that of Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock

Shameful and shameless – two words that best sum up the post-election reaction of political journalists to the relentless campaign that was pursued by most of the British press to demonise Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

Some of my former colleagues were ashamed.

They were aghast at the extent of the vilification printed by newspapers that did all they could before polling day to terrify their [ ... ]

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17 Dec 2019
BBC correspondents should rethink their use of Twitter

Laura Kuenssberg’s apology for her tweet reporting the fake news that a Conservative aide had been punched in the face by a Labour activist was yet another illustration of the erosion in editorial standards that has resulted from cut-throat competition among journalists to be first with the news on Twitter.

By placing her trust in the truthfulness of Boris Johnson’s propaganda machine she had endangered [ ... ]

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06 Dec 2019
How Boris Johnson’s media allies are trashing young voters

A record surge in the registration of young voters has given added potency to scare stories appearing in the Sun and Daily Mail that allege university students across the UK are engaged in “voting scams and frauds” ahead of polling day.

Brexit-supporting newspapers failed to make any mention of widespread appeals to young people to ensure they registered to vote before the deadline of 26 November.

But [ ... ]

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06 Dec 2019
“Burying bad news” – a well-rehearsed routine for Brexit press

Governments in difficulty frequently announce unpopular decisions when the news media is saturated with coverage of a headline-grabbing story.

Space is usually very limited on such occasions and astute information officers hope their troublesome announcements will merit no more than a few sentences tucked away on an inside page.

Across Whitehall this routine has been imbedded within ministerial offices [ ... ]

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03 Dec 2019
Belittling Jo Swinson: no sisterly support from queens of mean

Liberal Democrats have grown accustomed over the years to press coverage that usually ignores their policies or belittles their party leader.

The traditional tabloid path – unless there is an incident that can be whipped up into a scandal – is to treat the Lib Dems as a footnote, meriting no more than a few sentences at the bottom of the page.

Jo Swinson has at least benefited from the recent [ ... ]

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