Creepy newspaper coverage charts the travails of our heroic prime minister
Rather than write from the perspective of journalists reporting the news, they present events as part of a great melodrama starring the prime minister, David Cameron.
Thus the Daily Mail tells of ‘Cameron war on strike bullies’, as if to evoke a fairytale or Arthurian legend.
The Telegraph chronicles how ‘Stars attack Cameron over BBC’, a nail-biting development for our besieged hero.
For any doubters of this interpretation, here’s last week’s Daily Mail front page on Cameron’s fellow knight-in-arms, George Osborne:
This was how the Mail chose to report the chancellor’s summer budget.
So what’s wrong with this coverage?
For one thing, it makes the morning papers read like the latest chapter of ‘The Adventures of David Cameron’, rather than the daily news.
This style of coverage suggests the world revolves around the PM and his travails, a position not shared by the other 64 million people in the UK who are expected to read these papers.
For reasons of genre and newspaper convention, this also means coverage is either very sympathetic (as with Cameron and Osborne) or very hostile (as with Ed Miliband) to the protagonist of the story.
There is a sinister side to all this, detectable in the uniform (and rapturous) coverage of the summer budget last week.
It is peculiar that right-wing newspapers, which go on so much about defending freedom against tyranny, now and in the past, should appear to model themselves on the press of a one party state, (where, incidentally, trade union rights are always restricted, if not denied).
Indeed, reading some of the coverage of this government, an outsider would be forgiven for thinking the newspapers were run by the state.
Though of course, if they were, the Tories would be slashing their budgets.
Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter
Sign up for our weekly email by clicking here.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.