Sunday, July 05, 2009

Brown briefs against Johnson - hacks lap it up?

If you want to have a good chuckle at a classic example of 'journalists' regurgitating a briefing against someone and passing it off as news, then have a look at Melissa Kite's and Patrick Hennesey's piece in this morning's Sunday Telegraph. The structure of the piece is sublime.
  1. Start off by talking about Johnson 'going off the reservation' on policy.
  2. Humanise Brown by mentioning his latest strategy of 'come dine with me' lasagne nights with Sarah and colleagues at Downing Street.
  3. Suggest that Johnson is a back stabbing bastard because he ate with Brown and then went "off piste"
  4. Have a Brown loyalist (unnamed, natch!) reinforce Johnson's treachery by saying he;s heard thing from othe unnamed people.
  5. Throw in at the end a bit about Miliband just in case he's up to something too.
  6. Finally have an official spokesman from Downing Street say there is no problem between Brown and Alan Johnson to create plausible denial.
Hey presto! Now all you have to do is find some compliant (if possible lazy) hacks in desperate need of copy. Take the hit on the "rift" angle of the story because you've just (a) portrayed your boss as an ordinary bloke that invites his colleagues round for dinner, and (b) portrayed him as a victim of a backstabbing bastard that eats at his table at aforementioned dinners designed to make him seem "normal".

Politics huh? Don't you just love it!

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