Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sinking below the horizon

It certainly seems that the Sun has massively misjudged the national mood - even their own online comment thread is critical of their attack line. Mandy bared his teeth on the Today programme this morning
If you look at the e-mails received overwhelmingly by the BBC, Sky News and the Sun itself from the public, they have clearly made up their minds about the Sun's mixture of bad taste and crude politicking. They have seen through it and they don't like it and they have said so.

Simon Weston gives his view to the Mirror and the paper also turned to Mrs Janes' brother, himself a veteran of Northern Ireland and with a son serving in the armed forces for a comment
I totally disagree with what my sister has said, as does most of her family. It is an absolute tragedy Jamie is dead. We cannot bring him back. But I do feel that my family owes the PM an apology after he has been so viciously attacked.

Actually, I disagree. I don't think that Ms Janes owes Gordon an apology - the country owes her son an unrepayable debt for his sacrifice. I think she and the Prime Minister are both owed an apology by the Sun.

It may even be that the Sun realises that this attack has failed - and may even have the opposite effect to that which was intended. This morning's edition described the letter as
well-meaning but badly hand-written

and seems to want to close the story down. Yesterday's press conference may even work for the PM, as it showed his humanity, something that is often concealed by his natural shyness and something that the TV cameras just don't pick up. Ironically, the PM may just come out of this with his reputation enhanced and his sincerity confirmed, although I'm certain that he would rather that the whole affair had never happened.

Peter Mandelson has hit the nail on the head
Let's understand what's going on here. The Sun's owner, News International, has made a decision to support the Conservative Party. They've effectively formed a contract, over the head, incidentally, of the newspaper's editor and their readers, in which they are sort of bound to one another. What the Sun can do for the Conservatives during the election is one part of the contract and, presumably, what the Conservatives can do for News International if they are elected is the other side of the bargain.

Anyone fancy Sky News freed of the rules on fair treatment of political parties? Anyone reckon that the BBC will be sliced and diced by a Tory culture secretary who has already promised a freeze on the licence fee? Will News International benefit from the proposed abolition of OfCom? You betcha.

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