As the Labour party tears itself apart trying to come to terms with its general election performance, it should understand this reality: the right-wing press was overwhelmingly responsible for its defeat.
I agree with my colleague, Jane Martinson, that the fact that the bulk of UK newspapers backed the eventual winner is noteworthy.
It should not be overlooked because I haven’t a shadow of doubt that Ed Miliband lost because of newspaper coverage.
This is bollocks. Newspapers chase the views of their readers, not form them.
On balance, that is. And the newspapers backed those they thought would win….because that’s who they think their readers will be going for. Everyone wants to be able to say to their readership “We got it right” but more than that they want to be able to say “We think as you do”.
They chase more than form. And yes, the John Bates Clark medal was indeed awarded to the guy who proved this.
But why did Ukip do so well? Because in the five years leading up to the election, the rightwing press lent it, and its policies, credence.
No, other way around and yes, I have been a press officer for Ukip. The support out there in the electorate has always been much higher than the support in the newspapers. We were still being derided as fruitcakes just as we stormed to second place in the 2008 euros. The newspapers only came onside as they saw that there was that groundswell of support. Ukip is actually a useful case study of the following, not the molding.