Monday, 26 May 2008

Fleet Street buy Boris Johnson's spin on fare hikes

Boris Johnson's attempts to bury the doubling of fares for London's poorest people, as a story about Venezuela has worked, with all newspapers concentrating on the end of the Caracas deal.

Boris sneaked out the story on Sunday afternoon when most papers would have been winding down today's editions. His framing of it as ending a deal which 'many Londoners were uncomfortable with' has been faithfully repeated by staff reporters. The doubling of fares for London's poorest has mostly been consigned to the closing paragraphs.

When Boris moved into City Hall he brought with him a 'transition team' consisting of members of top Public relations company inHouse PR and the remaining members of his election campaign. The employment of ex-BBC man Guto Harri has also contributed to what is now a slick operation capable of burying bad news.

Even Johnson's opponents during the campaign have been brought onside with this startling apology from the Guardian for the cheek of having criticised Boris in the days running up to the election. The Guardian's Readers editor apologised after the paper apparently received letters and emails from 'readers' saying that they had given their vote to Boris because of the Guardian's stance.

After having received similar treatment from supposed 'readers' who then turned out to be part of Boris' campaign team, I am a little sceptical about the authenticity of such complaints. The inclusion of one of these astroturfers in Boris Johnson's 'transition team' at City Hall does not add much to my confidence either.

Scrutiny of Boris Johnson from the press was at best low during the campaign and is now in danger of becoming non-existent. There are some notable exceptions of course, but when it comes to watching the country's most powerful Tory politician, the so-called Fleet Street professionals have let themselves get left behind.
-UPDATE- The Golden Spade prize for the best burying of the story goes to The Times who smothered the price hike under an old story about Ken's Beijing bus trip. That's some seriously good work from Guto and Team Boris! 


Anonymous said...

You're assuming that they actually give a shit about Londoners. Most journalists are too busy chinking champagne flutes with their new masters to actually look at what they're doing to the capital.

Mr. Stop Boris said...

Can I in all seriousness suggest you (and/or your readers) write letters - well, e-mails - to the offending newspapers? They don't need to be long, just a couple of sentences drawing readers' attention to the poor-penalising, perhaps connecting it to some of the ludicrous hyperbole about Cameron's party now being the party of the poor/working class in the light of the Crewe and Nantwich byelection etc.

I'd write letters myself but I don't think they'd accept "Mr. Stop Boris" as my real name when signing off...

The Tory Troll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Tory Troll said...

Good idea Mr SB. All concerned citizens please address a letter to the readers editor of the relevant newspapers (The Times was the worst).