As the UK election results were announced, I marvelled at the waning power of the press. Voters defied the press’ predictions and exposed their failures. As Monbiot writes:
The rightwing press threw everything it had at Jeremy Corbyn, and failed to knock him over. In doing so, it broke its own power. Its wild claims succeeded in destroying not Corbyn’s credibility but its own.
This is particularly significant because, as Monbiot notes, the rightwing press tends to set the news agenda for the broadcasters. I have written about this before, drawing on my own experience at the BBC.
I was interested to see George Osborne acknowledging the power of press, as he recently told Nick Robinson:
I do think newspapers in Britain in particular set the tone, if I may say so, partly because we have the BBC as a big, very impartial in its charter, state broadcaster and as a result I think quite often the BBC follows a newspaper agenda a bit because it doesn’t necessarily want to go out on a limb itself… So I do think newspapers create a climate in which the election takes place.
The BBC must consider how it can better represent the public and shake off the shackles of a skewed media field.