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“Main stream media” in crisis

February 5, 2020 10:50 PM
By Lorna Baker

On Monday 3rd Feb Lee Cain, the Prime Minister's senior communications advisor, asked selected journalists to leave Downing Street before an official government briefing. The journalists denied entry to the briefing were from the Independent, the i, the Mirror, PoliticsHome and the Huffpost plus some others. The Telegraph, Express, Mail, BBC, ITV and friends were asked to stand on the other side of the rug in the hall of 10, Downing St so that they could be ushered into the briefing. However on this occasion the MSM stood together and all the journalists left.

The current president of the USA has made a habit of trying to exclude journalists from some of his press conferences and the new Conservative government is a fast learner. Mr Johnson's communications team has banned ministers from appearing on BBC 4's Today programme or from having lunch with political journalists. Mr Johnson has been hiring 'Spads' [Special Political Advisors] with expertise in film production and photography, which prompts speculation that the Brexit day "Address to the Nation" being filmed and issued on social media by insiders in Downing St may not be a one-off.

Communication with power unfiltered by 'media persons' may be the modern way, witness the stream of tweets from Donamld Trump, but the communication is only one way. Without disinterested journalists to ask questions real information may never come our way.

Cumberland & Westmorland Herald Offices (Google)Meanwhile on the same day in Penrith staff members at the Herald were told that the company had gone into voluntary receivership and there would only be two more editions!

We have our own brand of non-partisan honest journalism right here and the community needs it. Let us hope that funding to resurrect this institution can be found. Maybe all of us should support journalism by buying newspapers, subscribing to papers on line and paying our BBC licence fee rather than simply picking up news from the nearest social media page.

Without our independent press our democracy will be far easier to attack and our people far easier to fool.