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Media Quotes of the Year 2022

War in Europe, the death of the Queen, partygate, political turmoil, a financial crisis and three prime ministers. Jon Slattery picks his best media quotes of 2022 from an extraordinary year for news.

By Jon Slattery

Media Quotes of the Year 2022
Top (L-R): Liz Truss, Victoria Newton, Elon Musk, Jeremy Corbyn. Bottom (L-R): Katy Perry, David Davis, Carole Cadwalladr, Liz Gerard.


John Harris in the Guardian: "The war in Ukraine has provided a sobering reminder of the importance of on-the-ground reporting and journalistic expertise. Something comparable applies to this country’s cost-of-living crisis, which demands not hot takes, but sensitive coverage and serious solutions. In that context, who cares about a view of the world that seems to extend no further than a set of studio walls? What matters is the single mother who cannot feed her kids or heat her house, the family taking refuge in a Kyiv basement, and stories that prove one thing beyond doubt: that 'talk' – whether 'uncensored' or not – is not just cheap, but irrelevant."

Liz Truss

Liz Truss to TalkTV's Tom Newton Dunn after a hustings with Conservative members: "I'm sorry I was mean about the media, Tom." Tom Newton Dunn: "It's cheap and you know it."

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times: "During the leadership election it was possible to win applause by suggesting that the Conservatives were hard done by in the media. Do these people not read any newspapers? The existence of a wide range of media outlets sympathetic to Tory views has been one of the most marked features of politics over the past century. That’s what the 'mainstream media' is."

The Economist on Liz Truss in a prescient leader: “Ms Truss entered Downing Street on 6 September. She blew up her own government with a package of unfunded tax cuts and energy-price guarantees on 23 September. Take away the 10 days of mourning after the death of the Queen, and she had seven days in control. That is the shelf-life of a lettuce.”

The Daily Star: "Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned, making her the shortest-serving PM in British history and meaning that the Daily Star's very own 60p lettuce managed to outlast her tenure."

Bye-bye Boris

Press Gazette editor-in-chief Dominic Ponsford following Boris Johnson being ousted as prime minister: "Today is a day when hacks can walk a little taller. We will have a change of leadership in the UK as a direct result of revelations by the news media. From Barnard Castle to Chris Pincher via Partygate and Wallpapergate, various individuals and publications have played their part, including The Mirror, Guardian, ITV News, The Sun, The Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday… Without making any partisan points, and whatever you think about Boris Johnson, we done good."

The Daily Mail in an editorial: "So the sun finally sets on Boris Johnson's premiership. Always a political outsider, he at last succumbed to the massed ranks of his enemies within the Westminster machine. And how they crowed. The airwaves were thick with gloating nonentities denouncing Mr Johnson and signalling their own flawless virtue… This unholy alliance of Leftist loudmouths, hand-wringing liberals and embittered Remainers, cheered on by the BBC, Sky and ITN, which have abandoned all pretence of impartiality. And their pathological anti-Boris mania has been amplified by like-minded newspapers and the deranged keyboard warriors on social-media."

Nick Cohen in The Observer: "The Sun, Mail, Express and Telegraph were more than victims of a dependency culture. With occasional honourable exceptions, they were an active and willing arm of the Johnsonian state. They gave the prime minister a privatised propaganda service complete with cheerleaders, excuse-makers, bullies and spies. Johnson was one of their own."

Partygate apology

The prime minister's official spokesman, asked why journalists had been misled and told in December there were no parties in Downing Street: “I am happy to apologise for that.”

Death of the Queen

Scott Bryan for Variety: "Shortly before 6.40pm on Thursday evening, BBC newsreader Huw Edwards announced The Queen’s death on the flagship channel BBC One. All other main BBC channels then suspended their programming and joined the same broadcast to hear Edwards repeat the message. It included a statement from the Royal Family, followed by a broadcast of the National Anthem. At the same time, all BBC radio stations across the country and around the world joined the same broadcast led by BBC Radio 4 where a similarly worded statement was also read aloud. With all television and radio united in this way, there was no avoiding it. For millions of Britons, they will remember where they were when they heard this news for the rest of their lives."

The Palace

David Dimbleby: “In my experience, the BBC is more scared of the Palace than it is of Downing Street. How many films have there been about the cost of the monarchy, or whether the Queen is doing a good job?”

Social poison

Laura Kuenssberg in The Sunday Times: “There’s no question that social media is laced with poison. I use it a lot less. A journalist at their core shouldn’t be sitting refreshing their screen, they should be on the phone or meeting people or going to find things out.”


Sun editor-in-chief Victoria Newton at a Women in Journalism event asked about the paper's infamous Hillsborough disaster coverage: “Look, it was the biggest mistake in tabloid history. And there’s not much more I can say about that.”

Tabloid tales

Kelvin MacKenzie on Twitter: "With the ongoing debate over the validity of the @TurinShroud I remember Daily Star editor Derek Jamieson telling me that when short of a P1 lead he would ask a reporter to use a dirty iron on a white teacloth and then run the photo under the headline; Is this the face of Jesus?"

The Guardian

New Twitter owner Elon Musk on Twitter: “The Guardian used to have balance (moderately left) and integrity, but now it is a far left wing propaganda machine. I hope they get back to where they were one day.”

Jeremy Corbyn interviewed by Declassified UK: “There are good people who work in the Guardian, there are some brilliant writers in the Guardian, but as a paper, it’s a tool of the British establishment. It’s a mainstream establishment paper.”

Paper Romance

Singer Katy Perry on Twitter: “One of my favourite sounds ever is the sound of a crisp new newspaper being read over breakfast for an hour or so… The popping out of it, the folding, the scribbling on the crossword… I hope it never goes out of fashion in our digital world. It is too romantic.”


David Davis MP on the use of Slapp libel actions to stop journalists investigating rich oligarchs: “This is lawfare – lawfare against British freedom of speech, lawfare against the freedom of the press, and lawfare against justice for our citizens. Lawfare is the misuse of legal systems and principles by extraordinarily rich individuals and organisations to destroy their critics and opponents. In many cases, our reporters face reputational and financial ruin in defending themselves from these malevolent cases; even if they win, the expense and impact are huge. The chilling effect on a free press is extraordinary.”

Carole Cadwalladr in the Observer after Brexit backer Arron Banks lost his libel case against her: "We cannot and must not allow another journalist to go through this. Not for the sake of their sanity but for the health of our democracy. Because this is not democracy. It’s oligarchy. And Banks v Cadwalladr needs to be the last time these obscene laws are used against a journalist in this way."


Press Gazette in a tribute to former Derby Evening Telegraph and Bristol Post editor Mike Lowe: “Mike was a regional newspaperman from the era when editors would wave imitation firearms around and throw typewriters out of windows when they wanted to make a point."

The Times in an obit on its former editor Charles Wilson: "Veteran Times journalists would regale young reporters with stories of their encounters with Wilson. One that did the rounds was his habit of repeatedly hailing one section editor as 'Fingertips'. When the poor man asked Wilson why he called him that, Wilson said: 'That’s what you’re hanging on by, son'.”


Emily Maitlis on Brexit in her MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival: "Large sections of both the BBC and Government supporting newspapers appear to go into an automatic crouch position whenever the Brexit issue looms large. Many broadcasters fear discussing the obvious cause of major economic change in this country in case they get labelled pessimistic, anti-populist or worse still unpatriotic. And yet everyday that we sidestep these issues with glaring omissions feels like a conspiracy against the British people."

Ex-Sun editor David Yelland on Twitter: "Brexit has corrupted a generation of journalists, not all of them of course, but many - they have lost the ability to tell right from wrong, up from down."

Disunited States

Adam Smith in The Sunday Times on the USA: "There are no longer any shared sources of information – no American equivalent of the BBC. The internet has created mutually reinforcing information silos in which partisans trade in alternative facts. Watch the talk shows and listen to people in the streets: both sides genuinely believe that if the other wins, everything they hold dear will be destroyed.”

Good journalism

Liz Gerard on InPublishing on what makes a good journalist: "An inquiring mind is usually at or near the top of the list. I would argue that it should be joined by an open mind; an ability to put preconceptions aside and view events from all angles to give your audience the most rounded picture. This should be the big sell for mainstream media, the proof that they have something better to offer than social media echo chambers where – unless we try very hard – we can’t help but find ourselves in like-minded company, sharing similar thoughts and entrenching our world views. What a shame, then, that our newspapers don’t play to and develop that strength. Instead, they are hooked on self-reinforcement: slanting stories to fit predetermined agendas, seeking out evidence to prove the virtue or villainy of a very narrow cast of characters. And the obverse: stifling inconvenient developments."

Picture credits: Liz Truss (Simon Dawson / No10 Downing Street); Katy Perry (Glenn Francis /; Elon Musk (The Royal Society); David Davis (Richard Townshend); Jeremy Corbyn (Richard Townsend); all these images are via Wikimedia Commons.

This article was first published in InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list to receive the magazine, please register here.