The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Lib Dems Should Ignore The Media Echo Chamber

Posted by The Futility Monster on September 28, 2009 @ 06:34

Libby after eight cans of Stella

Libby after eight cans of Stella

Over on Lib Dem Voice there was a thread a few days ago bemoaning the “disaster” that was the recent Lib Dem Conference.

The only problem with the crux of the article is that, since conference has ended, there have been no fewer than four polls putting us up between two to five points.

I’m not going to criticise the author, though, because I had broadly shared his opinion. I had watched the conference fairly closely this year, but I mostly viewed it through the eyes of the media.

A media which, it seems, are extraordinarily hostile to the Lib Dems. My vehicle of choice was usually The Daily Politics, and one particular morning Andrew Neil was chatting to Steve Richards (Independent) and Matthew Parris (Times) – and both of whom did their level best to tell us that the conference had been a disaster. Andrew Neil joined in the attack. It made me wince. A disaster for my party. I shed a small but not insignificant tear.

The problem was the consistency. Those two journos had both said the same as Quentin Letts (Mail) and Simon Hogg (Guardian) the previous day. It was all adding up to be a confused mess of conflict and miscommunication. I even picked up the theme a little and criticised Clegg for it in his final speech. It all turned Andrew Neil into his miserable best, attacking every Lib Dem representative that came on the programme for presiding over such a shambles.

Meanwhile, the press were having a field day. Any chance to dethrone Vince Cable could not be missed. The headlines were pretty negative, and the above writers wasted no time in repeating their TV opinions in print form.

But, it seems, we were wrong.  Four polls, all pointing in the same direction, don’t lie. The chances of them all being a statistical anomaly are very small.

Why are the media so hostile to us? Is it because we’re a distraction for them? Is it because we’re an inconvenience to the coronation of David Cameron? After all, media narratives work best when they have a binary opposition. We upset that, and it doesn’t fit neatly into yet another Lab-Con story, tacking on a rent-a-quote moment from the Lib Dem spokesperson right at the end of the film/article.

Or are they just lazy? Are they filled with the usual cynics (like me!) who think we’re never getting into power and so what’s the real point in bothering?

Polling and elections have shown time and time again that when we get our fair share of coverage, the public respond. OK, maybe we would have done even better if we’d been truly united and consistent in our message. But – come on – we’re Lib Dems. That was never going to happen!

What we need to start doing is attempting to go over the head of the media. More on that next time…

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