Tuesday 10 November 2009

News values in question

Former Sun political editor George Pascoe-Watson told MediaGuardian yesterday he was "born with a Sun hat on ... I don't think you could really do politics for the Sun without instinctively feeling it in your gut".

But, as John Rentoul reports, Pascoe-Watson's gut instinct appears to be that The Sun's attack on the Prime Minister's over his letter of condolence to the family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan is unfair. He agreed with The Independent's editorial, and acknowledged that The Sun's sustained attack on the PM risks misreading the public mood.

That view is shared by many bloggers across the political spectrum: several on the right appear to agree with Letters from a Tory, while LibDem Mark Reckons questions the Sun's decision to report and publish online a recording of the phone call between the Prime Minister and the soldier's mother. (I have not listened to the recording and do not intend to do so).

The initial attack also seemed to overlook Brown's damaged eyesight, as Sue Arnold and many others have noted.

The general view appears to be that turning this story of the letter and the family's reaction to it into a sustained 24/7 media frenzy is distasteful, and also reflects poorly on the broadcast media who have promoted the issue to the top of their bulletins.

Nadine Dorries MP, usually among the most partisan of Tory backbenchers and who herself criticised an earlier Brown letter over the McBride-Draper affair, agrees, tweeting this morning that:

Just politely turned down i v with Jeremy Vine. Time to get over the letter me thinks and after all, I'm the worlds worst speller.

I think we might call that a very broad consensus in favour of an outbreak of common sense.


Bob said...

This is a poor show from the Sun, if they had started it as an attack on his funding then there would be no issue, but its an attack on things that relate to his disability.

He may be incompetent, but he is not doing it through malice towards the grieving parent.

Letters From A Tory said...

Thanks for the mention, although I have no idea why the link on my site name sends people to the Independent's website....

Try this instead.


Sunder Katwala said...

Thanks. Yes, sorry, that was the intended piece, and have now pointed it in the right place in the main article.