Daily Mail spins BBC leaders’ interviews to toe the Tory line

The paper's coverage of the two interviews throws good journalism to the wind


The Daily Mail may be artless, but it knows what it likes. In reporting the BBC interviews with the leaders of Labour and the Conservatives, the paper throws any pretence at objective journalism out the window.

Here’s the Mail’s story on prime minister David Cameron’s interview last week.

Cameron Evan Davis Mail

It consists of one sentence in a story about a speech the PM was making the day after the broadcast. The piece repeats uncritically Cameron’s claim that Labour and the Scottish National Party are ‘on the same side’ (which will come as a surprise to Scottish Labour).

Here is the one reference to the interview in the story:

“The prime minister last night told BBC Newsnight presenter Evan Davis that he would feel he had ‘not succeeded’ if the Conservatives failed to win a majority.”

Stop the presses. Now, anyone who watches the interview with Davis, who replaced Jeremy Paxman at Newsnight, will see it was a relatively tough interrogation of Cameron’s time in office, with plenty of material for a news story. This is an incredibly bland (not to say generous) way to cover such a grilling.

Perhaps the Mail doesn’t think the leaders’ TV debates are really worth a news story? Not so.

Today the Mail positively crows its coverage of Ed Miliband’s turn last night:

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Ed’s TV grilling on jobs, crime and fees‘.


The story gives a blow-by-blow account of the ‘combative’ interview, emphasising the bits they think show Miliband in a bad light, with special focus on the first few minutes of the exchange.

Thus the campaigning ‘on-your-side’ newspaper is on its feet shaking its fists at the the powerful one day, and on its knees licking their boots the next. That party allegiance is the obvious explanation for such schizophrenia only makes it worse.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter


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