Monday, 8 June 2009

Spin in overdrive

With Gordon Brown's future still said to be on the line, the spinners on both sides have gone into overdrive. The Telegraph reported on Saturday that Brown would throw Labour MPs the bone of an Iraq Inquiry - on his terms of course.

But today's Telegraph article on Labour MPs' last chance to tell Brown to go is so full of spin it's hard to know where to start. Peter Mandelson says directly that replacing Brown "would mean irresistible pressure to hold a general election". Whether he will say the same if Brown does go is another matter.

The Telegraph falls into the classic trap of reporting what someone "believes" when it is clearly spin:
Some of Mr Brown's allies believe he has survived the worst of the current crisis and that the rebels are now retreating.
But Brown's opponents are just as guilty of manipulating the media:

A group of MPs had been planning to circulate a letter to backbenchers asking them to support an email-based call on Mr Brown to resign.

In the event, the letter has not been widely distributed. One person involved in the plot said it had still "served its purpose" after being extensively reported in the media.

Instead, the rebels have done most of their canvassing via the telephone.

So the "hotmail plot" was created for media purposes.

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