tv The Media Show BBC News July 16, 2022 12:30am-1:01am BST
this is bbc news, the headlines. president biden has said he told saudi arabia's crown prince, mohammed bin salman, that he thought he was personally responsible for the murder of the journalist jamal khashoggi. mr biden said the prince denied ordering the killing in his country's consulate in istanbul four years ago. fires are continuing to burn out of control, as parts of europe endure record breaking temperatures. in france, thousands of people remain evacuated from their homes, almost a week after the first blazes broke out. in portugal the entire country has been put on alert. five contenders in the contest to be the conservative party leader and the next british
prime minister had taken part in theirfirst live prime minister had taken part in their first live televised debate. candidates were asked a range of questions from the studio audience including tax and the nhs. now on bbc news, the media show. a warning this programme contains flashing images. hello and welcome. today we are asking what role the media has in choosing the next conservative leader. how do you cover an election campaign that most of the public doesn't have a say in? and what might all this mean for a channel 4's planned privatisation? next week's media bill, which would have included details of the sale has now been delayed. my guests today, fraser nelson, editor of the spectator, a publication at the heart of the conservative establishment. famously, borisjohnson was an editor of the magazine, kemi badenoch also work there for a bit. fraser, hello, will you be
anointing a leader? we're going to find out a five o'clock. and apparantlyjeremy hunt is struggling to stay in. the big news of course, is that yougov poll puts penny mordaunt ay ahead of all her rivals. the betting markets have moved behind her now so she is the odds on favourite. and will the spectator come out for her, do you think? i'm not a great fan of publications taken sides in these things, we are here to support it. ultimately, leader poll will make a decision. but probably brexit will make it right at the end. we don't really have favourites. like every publication, you know we believe, what we've been arguing for basic principles for the best part of 200 years and we will work out which candidates will be the same as those principles. but right now we're not waiving the pom—poms for her or even for my former colleague, kemi badenoch. fair enough. also with me the on the media show, paul mason, columnist
for the new statesman and the new european. and a very influential voice on the left, rosamond urwin, media editor of the sunday times. hardeep matharu, editor of byline times whos paper, founded in 2018 aims to cover these stories the rest of the press missed. and chris hopkins, director of politics and media research at comres savanta. welcome to you all. thank you for coming on. let's start by unpicking the candidates media strategies. there are eight contenders laugh right now. so as fraser was mentioning with voting happening this afternoon, but into the programme that number will have been whittled down. rosamond, what are they trying to do do you think when it comes to the media? well, they want us to put forward their agenda, they want us to be sympathetic to the issues that they raise and they want us to promote their cause and make them seem like the most credible leader. and what we've seen is actually, quite a lot of conversation around other issues, apart from the cost—of—living crisis.
i thought it was really interesting, penny mordaunt this morning in the times was talking about childcare, which is not something that actually, i thought it was a clever thing because she's reaching the here, is mostly tory party members. that's perhaps not in issue that is particularly high up on their list but it certainly is for the rest of the country, particularly parents of young children like me. i thought that is really interesting that she's reaching beyond that. because their electorate is 2000 people here. i was in a say, my understanding of it was either they're trying to get key parts of the conservative press on side are they trying to speak directly to the members. it sounds like she's actually trying to speak to the wider population as well. is that what it's about at this point? speaking to the conservative press, getting them on side and getting to the members through them? yes, absolutely. that's primary thing here, isn't it? these are the group of people who are going to vote.
the rest of us are sort of spectators to it. but i do think it's interesting she's pitching a bit broader. i thought that was a sort of move away from everyone else is doing, which is why i thought it was interesting. that isn't top of their list, the 200,000 tour tory party members. i thought that was a move that actually looked interesting for them at the moment she's polling very well. it's suggested to me a strategy that looks beyond that and said, i am the credible candidate to be prime minister, not just the person to win the tory leadership. fraser, you i think, ridiculed her campaign video in an article in the last day or two. now they've all had obviously formal in person launches but some of them have chosen to do campaign videos. rishi sunak had that slick video, liz truss chose an article in the telegraph as did some others. your sense of how they are launching. the funny thing is, these are fake campaigns. they are trying to make out as if this is a national campaign pitching to the average person but they're not. that's why the videos are so bad. penny mordaunt video
looks like something of little britain out take. it was a cliche, the l guard assigned to the white cliffs of dover, but of course what she has to do is persuade a small number of tory mps that they are better off with her as prime minister. and she doesn't need a video to do that. but they need to go through the motions. what's happening here is a tiny clique of mps are deciding who the next prime minister is going to be. a decision normally ta ken by voters. so they have to give it this sort of democratic veneer. and that's why notjust penny mordaunt don't videos but all the videos are pretty bad, really. paul mason, i think a previous job used to make campaign videos for the tuc. what's your take on these videos? well, it not for the tuc-
but trade unions and campaigns. my number one rule in political video making is don't - let politicians have . any editorial control. let them say what it. wants to say but it was whole, not l guard. and it's a probably subliminal. playback subliminally inspired, the more don't video by a spoof video on the day today - about 20 years ago. what they are doing right now, i think the game we are in is l can the conservative right keep rishi sunak out _ of the last two? i don't think they can. but that is the game that is being played. in the attempt to do that, the media strategies- are highly contrasted, i sunak has gone straight to the people. with that video. the look of that... notjust the video, the launch. reminded me of a david cameron launch some early i in cameron's career. so he saying, "look, i am the man that i can govern britain. " the others, i think they're not just aiming at mps let's -
remember on the media show, we are actually quite _ important, there's the leader writers of the conservative i press and there's about 300 of us on social media - who matter in terms of the journalists - and general politics, people who comment, people like alastair campbell. - just to say, as you mentioned alastair campbell, i think this might be a good moment to bring in a clip from alastair campbell because that question i posed at the top, how much influence does the british press have in this? his former spin doctor was speaking on the bbc question time recently and he took exception to a fellow analyst telegraph columnists, let's have a listen. it's all a joke to these guys. 0h, here we go. things are to get better. here we go. they are part of the problem, the british media a part of the problem. they delivered him, they sucked up to him, johnson has described the telegraph as his real boss and they are part of the problem. in the next thing that should happen our political culture
at our media culture have to change, otherwise it will happen again. applause. fraser, is he looking at you there? you edit a magazine that's at the centre of conservative political life. there's 200,000 voters here. it feels about hundred thousand. there's only 200,000 people voting, i wonder how many of them are spectator readers? that's the funny thing, when it comes to borisjohnson, 14 million people voted for him. so i think alastair campbell can't quite blame the press for the result of a general election. when it comes to tories... generally speaking i think the process got far less influence then politicians think we do. readers can agree with you or they can disagree with you. if you're lucky as a journalist you might say something that they find interesting or informative. but you don't really change peoples minds. a lot of people think otherwise and that's whyjournalists always get approached during election times, people want fair coverage, of course they do. it's not as if the press sits there and controls the opinions of everybody that picks us up. unless they find us so uninteresting they stop buying us.
and the tory mps have got far more things going on, mainly thejob promises, etc, all the horse trading done during these times. i think, if somebody�*s campaign bombs that will be visible in the press but by and large i'm not quite sure how influential we all are. we might be slightly influential when it comes to tory party members. i imagine the spectator has got a reasonable penetration of that particular cohort. but even then, if there's two candidates and they've got a clear preference, i'm not really quite sure that any publication, not even the spectator would change somebody�*s mind one—way the other. paul? well, the accusation i that alastair campbell makes there is a fair one in the sense that even i when he was a journalist, i remember visiting - boris johnson at the officesj of the spectator in downing street to interview him. at the interview he said to me, "paul, you don't by any chance|
got a 2—page article you'd . like to put in our magazine? because i'm short two pages. " i mean, he was always a rule breaker. - and i think the press indulged him. - what we are looking. at people who are new. mordaunt is a junior minister, suella braverman will make it through, i doubt it. but we are looking at peoplel who can plausibly say they've seen outside of high politics. there is a merit in. re—setting the rules, i would like to see all of us in the interests, in l the national interest, in the interest of good - governance put every single one of these candidates - through the wringer of decent probing fact—based interviews. some of them will never get the chance after- five o'clock tonight. but i would like to see - all of them put through that. 0k. i'd like to bring in hardeep, editor of byline times. your publication was set up to try and counter
what your fans would say is the out side influence of the right wing press. what's your take on all of this? for me the question, when i look at all this leadership contest coverage is, who is this coverage ultimately for? is it genuinely for the public so that they can be informed in a rigorous way about who the next leader of the conservative party might be and what some of the policies might be that they implement? or is it actually the political media class? you know, people like us, other politicians, other journalists and newspapers, in which a lot of public and political discourse is taking place. one of the things i find interesting is, there have been a fair few sound bites already in the leadership race from a range of the candidates. but we've heard about free speech in universities, we've heard about bbc licence fee, we've had headlines about the trans issue. yet polling consistently shows that the british publics priorities are very different to those issues they care
about the nhs, they care about the economy and the cost of living crisis and they care about the war in ukraine. this notion of wokness, is not really a priority of the public. i think something that is interesting to note is the extent to which in this leadership contest already, how many of those strands have come up. the reason that's relevant is because the so—called culture war, which thejohnson government has propagated is largely, the setting for that largely has been the media. news websites, commentators, both on social media and newspapers and we know that that environment does help to shape some of the political discourse that then affects policies, i think we saw that in a number of areas, not least brexit. it's really interesting that
it's notjust the politicians wanted publicity and wanting to get some big newspapers who hold a lot of influence on side. it's also what the politicians can do for the newspapers to satisfy some of the things that they are interested in. rosamond, i'm going interrupt. what is your take on that? one thing we haven't talked about is that people have said the press is very much on side with borisjohnson. the coverage of all the things he's done wrong has been in the media. jennifer arcuri way back when it was a sunday times story. obviously, the mirror and the guardian left—leaning papers were the architects of exposing party gate. but i do think a lot of the coverage he's had has been intensely critical. another example being the coverage at the beginning of the governments handling of lockdown. we had a massive insight investigation to all the mistakes made. so i do think it's a little disingenuous that we have people saying, well, actually, the media has given him an easy
ride as prime minister. i think there's elements where that certainly been true but it's not universally true. actually, i think there's been some outstanding journalism done there by particular newspapers in exposing all the wrongdoing that is gone on. hardeep, i was looking at your website earlier, right at the top you got a section headlined, " crisis in britishjournalism. "and you refer to a punditocarcy see in the uk that doesn't hold power to account for that what is a punditocracy? it's a whole range of people who are commentators, who have an impact on public discourse through discussions about cultural issues that are two other use 200 or 300 people that paul was talking about? yeah. including presumably paul and frazier? well, you know, the kinds of issues that they are talking about are quite far away from the practicalities of peoples lives.
byline times was set up with the aim to investigate the crisis in british journalism. the media does hold a lot of power. it's not to say that it doesn't do lots of good work and i think party—gate was exposed by the media, by itv news and the mirror. the repercussions of that meant the entire media then had to pick up on that story and it became very high profile. absolutely, it does good work. but it picks and chooses when it wants to do that. party—gate arguably, wasn't the first big scandal that should of had the prominence that it did under the boris johnson government. it's not that we don't have greatjournalism it's just that you often it's not on a regular basis holding power to account. i think our analysis on byline times is, it' happening for a while, it has culminated injohnson government but that has been a merger of sorts
between the political and media classes. you have a group of individuals who know each other professionally and socially, mutual interests who hold a lot of power both in the media and both in politics. i just think that needs to be looked into more than it is. fraser nelson, i was at the spectator on the spectator summer party last week. you very kindly said yes when i cheekily message you. and as for an invitation. it was held on the day the borisjohnson resigned and it felt like a who's who of the conservative party and the media, which might sound surprising to people listening. i'm not entirely sure it should be that surprising. our parties are usually sold out tickets, it was minister it was a bit of fun on thursday evening. have you ever felt quite as much like a kingmaker as that night at the heart of the unfolding drama with your garden party full of contenders? i felt like a party host. giving away booze. i'm afraid to say, i've got no power to make any kings over there.
if i did i'm not quite sure the contest would be going the way that it was. it's certainly true at the spectator, we're a magazine that specialises in politics, we're a right—leaning magazine, we like to think we do it better than anybody else. ourjournalists are some of the best connected people. and that's partly why people pick up the spectator to find out what's happening inside the british government. in a way it's ourjob to know these people very well, to tell readers what they are thinking and the difference between what they are saying behind closed doors and what they are saying upfront. and so that has always been part of what the spectator does. paul, perhaps this is isn't a left, right issue. you're a journalist but you recently made it to the long list for a safe labour seat. the media and the politics are intertwined. i think they increasingly are. i don't think that's - necessarily a bad thing. one of the reasons i i did, yes, hands up.
it was only the long list. congratulations, that's a start. come on. i think it's no accident that in a period of crisis, - which opened up in 2008 and hasn't really- stopped, you did see people like michael gove, . johnson himself other people on the other side of politics i move from journalism or other parts of public life - into politics because it's the outcome of the people. we might be in for in energy crisis this winter, _ we are certainly in the middle of the first conventional- european war, which is only going to get worse. - we are a democracy. everybody who thinks they can do it should have a try. - however, i sometimes write for the spectator but i don't| get it invite to the party. you've got to ask him, he is very generous. yeah. it's a journalist job to do exactly that, to mix - with those people and get on the inside but when i l was working at the bbc, that's what i was doing. | it's true but i remember as a young reporter
to tony bevins, amazing, observer, daily express i remember him telling me as a journal issue must not socialise with politicians because it becomes corrupting, in a sense. that's the point. there's a difference between socialising j and using your rat —like coming to get into a party where - you overhear things. you've. .. the person you just clinked i glasses with, you've got to be able to put them on the front page tomorrow morning - for something they don't want. here's the problem, - withjohnson, without going into detail, there are things that people injournalism i knew aboutjohnson that didn't come out in time. | let's be frank. i think he was given a lot of benefit of the doubt. i because he's a clever person, goes out of his way— to make people feel. like they're his friend. as a corbinite, i and the end had to pull. the plug on support forjeremy for what he was doing, -
criticising very heavily, - it didn't make a very popular but you've got to be able to do that. - just for the good of - the country, for the good of having good government and politicians who - are held to account. just going back to the alastair campbell clip, do you accept that the media built up borisjohnson and that the media will also decide who comes next or not? no, that's the opposite to the way it happens. the alastair campbell view of the world is that people are basically stupid and will vote for whoever the papers tell them. first of all, let's look at the circulation newspapers, absolutely tiny now, more people get their news from facebook then get it from any publication nowadays. and the bbc is easily the number one force when it comes to where people get their news from. it's the other way around, i'm afraid to say for the publications tend to write articles people are interested in. and if people are interested in what borisjohnson has to say he's going to get bigger press. it's not really within the gifts ofjournalist in britain or in america or anywhere else and in democracy to force a candidate
down somebody�*s throat whether they want to see or hear about them. i guess there might be a difference between the left in the right foot up the right tend to see the power structure as being the other way around, as being at the bottom and the readers being on top. if you're on the left sometimes you blame everything, for example if they give of immigration, you blame it on the daily mail, that's typical cliche of how it's seen. i've always thought the readers of the masters. anybody who sells a publication should surely know that every day of the week. it seems like the perfect moment to bring in chris hopkins from savant because we want to see if there is any empirical evidence around the inference the press actually has in the country in terms of picking election winners. what do we know, chris? did borisjohnson get the backing of some newspapers, did that affect the 2019 general election result? is there any actual research on that? i don't think it affected the 2019 general election results. i tend to side with frasier on this. i think that people
and the electorate, they create their own echo chambers. they will seek out journalist, publications, friends, families, etc that tend to agree with them rather than the other way around. i think there's very few people who can hand on heart, excuse the political class but there are very few political people can hand on heart and truthfully say that they seek out alternative views to the who immerse themselves in alternative opinions to educate themselves and broaden their horizons, itjust doesn't happen. look back at 1992 and the claim from the sun newspaper, it was the sun that won it. that's been debunked, frankly. as fraser mentioned, people, circulation numbers aren't that high and were considerably higher in 1992 than they are now. so the influences actually on a downward trajectory because viewing figures, audience figures are going down? yes, absolutely.
it's not to say that there isn't influence. i think when people respond to our surveys and questions along the line of, what is the number one issue that can influence your vote in an election? they are very, very unlikely to say, i read this newspaper article. i don't think people really have a grasp of what does influence their view, what does influence the politics. but they are going to vote along those issues with that but what about the broadsheets and conservative members? this is a very select group of people. yeah, absolutely. i think that frazier mentioned that earlier, the spectator, the telegraph, they have in undue influence on the conservative selector it here. they may have a great influence on traditional conservative voters. that's not to say that it frasier or different publication was to come out for a particular candidate hair that that would end up swinging for conservative leadership election for them. i think rosamond made the point earlier where it was interesting to see
and to listen to penny mordaunt make a pitch to the country not just the conservative electorate hem — because ultimately, this new leader will be the prime minister. we just released a poll in the last hour and found only 11% of the country could name penny mordaunt in a picture of her. she's got a long way to go, frankly in terms of name recognition and facial recognition, maybe that's a good thing. maybe it's good to start from scratch and completely remove yourself from the previous regime. as can say, why were all here, rosamond, i want to ask you about the latest on channel 4. clearly, the business of government is supposedly continuing despite leadership election chats. channel 4 privatisation format was already signed off by the prime minister and enthusiastically backed by culture secretary nadine dorries but is it going to continue? yeah. reported in the times on monday that rishi sunak has been telling colleagues that channel 4 privatisation is nothing to do with me, as he put it. how much difference could it new leader may, do you think? an awful lot. nadine dorries is the other architect of this policy along withjohn wooding dale, very keen on it, obviously now
on the back benches. and those our key voices on this. if borisjohnson is not leader and very soon which he clearly won't be, then we can definitely see this again. here's the question, rishi sunak is seen as a sceptic around it, jeremy hunt as spoken on it. obviously, about to get ruled out. but if we ended up with liz truss who's been endorsed by it nadeem doris, i think there's a possibility that privatisation comes back around. frasier nelson, just to end, i don't think anything was talking about channel 4 privatisation at the spectator party, there were other things to talk about. but what is your take on whether it will happen or not? it probably won't because there is a consensus that this was a culture war thing that board borisjohnson did just to annoy the left. but it's the online safety bill that i was worried about. if that passes it could bring in censorship of the media forever, it could be the end of the free press.
kemi badenoch said she would abolish this. even liz truss and said she's worried about the free speech implications. so i firmly hope this election will mean this bill does not go ahead and we do not end up with censorship by proxy, which is the madness which this bill would introduce with up that is definitely a subject to come back to. i'm afraid that's all we've got time for for now. thanks to all my guests, to frasier nelson, editor of the spectator, rosamond urwin, media editor at the sunday times, paul mason, columnist for the new statesman and the new european, hardeep matharu, editor of byline times and chris hopkins, director of politics and media research at savant. the media show will be back at the same time next week but for now thanks for watching. bye— bye. hello. our weather is about to turn exceptionally hot and it looks like we will be enduring
unprecedented temperatures into the start of next week with the met office read in extreme heat warning for a large part of england on monday and tuesday. all of leyden, wales into southern scotland amber warnings with widespread impact from the heat for that were not there yet. breezy, damp start to saturday, northern scotland, scotland old and i'm overcome over, patchy redhead again especially later in the day. a lot of sunshine for england and wales where temperatures will be higher, 30 perhaps in london area for england and wales where temperatures will be higher, 30 perhaps in london area. overnighted it to sunday scotland, northern ireland and northern ireland with a chance of outbreaks of rain for that south of that is clear spells, tonight starting at a sunday it rained initially enrolled and i will come a part of northern england clear spells, tonight start to get a little bit warmer. sunday it rained initially enrolled in allen, parts of northern england clearing away. a parts cross well and elsewhere increasing amounts of sunshine, increasing he put up more places getting to 30 celsius or above and then close to a0 on monday and tuesday.
this is bbc news — i'm gareth barlow with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. president biden tells mohammed bin salman — saudi arabia's crown prince, he holds him personally responsible for the murder of a dissidentjournalist. record temperatures, health alerts and forest fires burning out of control — europe struggles to cope he said he was not personally responsible for it and take action. record temperatures, health alerts and forest fires burning out of control — europe struggles to cope with an unprecedented heatwave. the five candidates hoping to become conservative party leader — and british prime minister — go head to head in the first of a series of televised debates. and — calls for thousands of unmarried women —