It’s been a fascinating few weeks of politics in the UK, and obviously a great few weeks for political journalism. Well, lots of people pretending to know what’s going on, but doing it with panache.
But there was so much going on, I only recently read about the David Cameron interview with ITV’s Trevor McDonald.
I have to admit I haven’t watched the interview. But the interesting thing is the remarkable precedent that was set: ITV let Andy Coulson, Conservative communications director, watch the interview before it went to air.
ITV reportedly said that no ‘significant’ changes were made to the film. Well damn right. But there’s no good reason for Coulson, former editor of the News of the World, to be watching the film. Other broadcasters – rivals, of course – said as much.
There’s a brilliant scene from The Thick of it, where spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, unwelcome in the edit suite of a broadcast journalist, fails to convince the journo and editor to alter the shots used, and thus the tone of the story featuring his party employers.
But with moves like ITV’s, we should probably be careful that trust in broadcasters – especially mainstream broadcasters interviewing potential PMs – don’t get to a place where they abuse the trust put in them, no matter how big the ratings.
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- ITV gave Andy Coulson preview of David Cameron interview (guardian.co.uk)
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- Andy Coulson to head No 10’s communications team (newstatesman.com)
- Andy Coulson under fire over fresh phone-hacking allegations (libdemvoice.org)
- The word On David Cameron from ITV’s News at Ten (guardian.co.uk)
- Sir Trevor “grilling” Cameron?? He couldn’t grill a frozen burger… (newstatesman.com)