Tuesday 10 January 2023

How the media (still) works: princes and pressure groups

A report out today ...

How far back do we date the phenomenon of vested interests putting out spurious press releases masquerading as news?  It definitely pre-dates the 1980s because I can remember instances of it back then quite clearly.  Commercially, the 'launches' of books, films, new products etc have been doing it forever, to amplify their advertising efforts.  Pressure groups muscled in on the act, and made it their own: the ghastly phrase "a report out today ..." is always the giveaway.

Why are they indulged?  That's easy: the media are bone idle.  In the case of, for example, local newspapers, they are and always have been grotesquely understaffed, and rely to 95% on stuff being handed to them on a plate: sometimes you can tell they've barely read what they've been sent.  But ... shouldn't MSM which have the slightest pretensions to, errr, standards of reporting, be above that crap?

Here's a wonderful example from the Grauniad.  (Did I say pretensions ..?) 

Labour MPs to lobby Keir Starmer to put green policies at heart of manifesto

This lengthy piece is completely devoid of news and, for afficionados, is a gem of its kind.  The press release / briefing that the Graun has swallowed whole, is from a new groupuscule that hasn't even launched yet!  So everything is about what "they" (assuming anyone joins the group) might do in future.  Classic stuff.

Which brings us to poor Prince Harry.  As an old mate of mine (a Tory MP) used to say, you can always get on the front page if you're willing to take your trousers down in public.  Was there ever a neater illustration of this maxim?  Put it away, son, everyone's laughing at you.



Anonymous said...



And of course anything by the unpleasant, but very easy-to-read and frank, Edward Bernays. Start with The Engineering of Consent, available online.

Diogenes said...

Reminds me of "Shameless" - a dysfunctional family in receipt of taxpayer handouts.

Great advert for republicans - which may be the long game.

Anonymous said...

The words 'Guardian' and 'standards of reporting' don't belong in the same sentence.

dustybloke said...

I must admit to being fascinated by the whole Ginge and Whinge saga.

She’s fairly transparent, but you have to conclude that decades of innuendo along the lines of “Harry Hewitt” have had a deep and lasting effect. The poor fool is obviously completely bonkers and the end won’t be pretty. As a father of three sons all of whom I trust are mine, I cannot conceive of what Charles is feeling. I’ve heard of regicide in history but not of a King terminating the existence of an heir, in modern times. Given that the the UK appears to be going to hell in a handcart, perhaps it would be symbolic if Charles were to indulge in a spot of defenestration…

Anonymous said...

Don't go giving Charles ideas, Dusty.

"His (Peter the Great) eldest child and heir, Alexei, was suspected of being involved in a plot to overthrow the Emperor. Alexei was tried and confessed under torture during questioning conducted by a secular court. He was convicted and sentenced to be executed. The sentence could be carried out only with Peter's signed authorization, and Alexei died in prison, as Peter hesitated before making the decision. Alexei's death most likely resulted from injuries suffered during his torture"


Ooh-er, missus.

dearieme said...

"The poor fool is obviously completely bonkers". My wife reads me excerpts from the papers. I agree, the fellow is delusional.

He reminds me of the hapless "economist" mocked every day on Tim Worstall's blog. Name of Murphy.

dustybloke said...

@Anon 2:54

But Peter the Great was mad, whereas Charles III is

Oh, I see what you mean…

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to avoid the whole sorry saga - the Paper Of Record (Mail Online) is almost unreadable atm.

t’s never nice to see someone committing suicide in public. But I always recall how awful his childhood must have been, with your folks splitting then your mum going out so spectacularly when you’re only 6 or so.

But all of this "spare" stuff - he's a Prince, good-looking, war record, AND he doesn't have the lifelong burden of duty William has. Should be a happy man, but he's made some truly awful decisions and surrounded himself with bad people. Must be heritable, that's all I can think.

He should recall another guy who fell for a dodgy Septic who'd been round the clock a few times - the former Edward VIII.

Anonymous said...

If you really want skulduggery over the succession, try the Ottomans - full many a prince done away with depending on which concubine (and mother) was in favour.

E-K said...

It's not unprecedented (Harry.) An entitled prince (stoked by his ambitious new wife) sees it as his right to take the throne but is blocked by an elder brother... so he goes off to raise an army in order to challenge him.

This is just a modern take with a foreign media instead of an army and the aim is not to take the throne but to see that his brother can't have it either... whilst raising a fortune for his alternative RF in California.

It's doomed to failure, of course. Meghan will leave Harry for a billionaire sportsman and he will kill himself or end up in the nut house or (worse) be assassinated by the Taliban and our RF and media will get the blame.

They may be laughing at Harry but this is a gift to republicans. To think, before Meghan the RF looked on the up and unstoppable (barring that other twat.)

Anonymous said...

He could have had the pick of the world's showrooms, and he chose a second-hand model with several previous owners and an odometer on its second lap.

But then his putative father did much the same...

Anonymous said...

OT - Russian ships/subs leave Black Sea base.


"This morning Russian Navy ships and submarines left their base at Novorossiysk, in the Black Sea, en-masse. This is highly unusual and may indicate ongoing operations. Sources seen by Naval News confirm the exodus. The group included the Project 11711 Ivan Gren class landing ship, Pyotr Morgunov, the largest amphibious ship in the Black Sea. It also contained all three Project 636.3 Improved-Kilo class submarines which were present at the base. Analysis suggests that other warships were also sailing, leaving only a few warships and support vessels in the port. It is likely the most empty that Novorossiysk has been in many months."

Ukrainian marine drone attack precaution? Ambitious strike at Odessa?

lilith said...

Harry is showing us who he is. A personality disordered freak. A bully. A raging, insensitive, narcissistic creep. And he's doing it to himself. I think he has invalidated a lot of non disclosure agreements. Megan won't leave him although she will threaten to. She wants to be the merry widow. IMHO.

lilith said...

Doesn't Matt Hancock's calumny against Andrew Bridgen in Parliament just show that Parliament is broken, doesn't represent us any longer, is a sinister vehicle of control, self interest and sabotage? The media the same?

Have you noticed they call themselves "leaders" rather than representatives? As they enact their eugenicist policies because "it is the right thing to do?"

Nick Drew said...


Naval landings? 0% chance of any surprise attacks: the Black Sea is intensively monitored

Caeser Hēméra said...

I feel sorry for Prince Harry, it's hardly surprising he's screwed up after his parents infighting, his mothers death and The Firm expecting Stiff Upper Lips from broken little boys, and all this in the full glare of public attention.

William at least had a destiny of sorts, Harry needed to have been given one. Instead a Royal version of a chav's life - broken family, dead mum, drugs, shagging behind the boozer, running off to the military... Could be the life of any chancer from any of the more shithole parts of any town in the UK.

I'd hoped Meghan might have been a boon, freshened up the Royals, instead she's just welded her own sense to entitlement to his.

At some point Harry's going to realise that the gilded cage he was born into gave him a lot of options to define himself, and he picked to define what he wasn't instead. So, a sad empty vessel, married to ex-actress whose relationship to the truth is Johnsonian and with none of the charm, and the two of them with nought but money for a compass.

I'm not sure Harry will see many more years, and by that point I can't see anyone having any further interest in Poundland Yoko.

E-K said...

So much easier being a leftie... with a Conservative government in power than a small 'c' conservative voter.


They've delivered just about every wish to the loonie left.