Earlier this week Irwin Stelzer – ‘Rupert Murdoch’s representative on earth’ – gave an interview to The Guardian in which he signalled a growing warmth of The Sun (and News of the World) to David Cameron.
The Murdoch-Brown-Cameron relationships have been taken up by Roy Greenslade today in his ‘Media Analysis’ column for the London Evening Standard. Mr Greenslade quotes a number of evidences for believing that The Sun etc might have stopped spinning for Brown:
- The Sun’s strident campaign on the EU treaty including yesterday’s page lead approvingly quoting Labour MP Gisela Stuart and her startling suggestion that Brown might be behaving dishonestly;
- The Sunday Times’ criticisms of Labour’s moves on Capital Gains Tax;
- The Times’ leaders yesterday attacking Brown on tax and Miliband on the EU Treaty.
I understand that there is also growing resentment within the Murdoch press – and at other media outlets – of Brown’s bullying nature. I’ve sometimes been concerned that the Tory operation hasn’t been on the phone enough to senior political correspondents but Brown and his operatives are seemingly overdoing the contacting.
Editors of national newspapers have had the Prime Minister on the telephone on a number of occasions some days. It makes him look too political (he’s supposed to be running the nation after all) and his operatives are getting a reputation for being bullies. Bullying works better when you are on the up (Mandelson before 1997 in particular) – it doesn’t work so well when you’re tanking… when you’ve given cosy exclusives to rival journalists (Brown to Marr on Chicken Saturday)… and when the press pack has reason to doubt your honesty (Brown: ‘I wouldn’t have gone to the country if opinion polls were predicting a 100 Labour majority!’).