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The blame game

When things go wrong, it’s too easy for politicians to blame the media.

By James Evelegh

The blame game

In the TalkTV Conservative leadership hustings the other night, both candidates faced questions from former Sun political editor, Tom Newton Dunn.

In her slot, Liz Truss repeatedly tried to deflect difficult questions by attacking the media.

She accused Newton Dunn of framing questions in a “left-wing way”. She added: “I’m afraid the whole media does this all the time … it drives me mad.”

Later in the interview, she responded to a question about her spending plans by saying, “I believe in Britain, unlike some of the media who choose to talk our country down.”

At another point, she was asked whether Boris Johnson’s downfall as prime minister was of his own making or someone else’s. Before she could answer, someone in the audience shouted out that it was the “media”, to which Truss responded: “Sounds like you’re being blamed, Tom, and, you know, who am I to disagree with this excellent audience?”

As Newton Dunn later told her, these were “cheap” shots.

The “whole media” in the UK could hardly be described as left-wing and even if it were, it is the responsibility of politicians who aspire to lead the country to respond to questions seriously.

Journalists asking searching questions is in the country’s best interests. Equating a critical media with unpatriotic behaviour is the start of a slippery slope towards authoritarianism.

And to suggest that the media is behind the downfall of Boris Johnson, when significant parts of it were highly supportive of him, is simplistic and disingenuous.

When things start to go wrong, it’s too easy to blame the ‘media’. Sadly, with apocalyptic warnings of what lies ahead this winter, the blame game looks set to intensify.

Panicky and unscrupulous politicians will go searching for scapegoats. It’s our job to call them out when they unfairly attack us, but also to call them out when they unfairly attack others.

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