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Craig Oliver’s advice to Mandarins: ignore newspapers

Andy McSmith

The problems with David Cameron’s hopeless spin doctor Craig Oliver, his many critics say, is that having worked for the BBC, he thinks the BBC is the only media outlet that matters. As if to prove the point he was recently briefing senior civil servants, and asked: “How many of you know what the Monday to Friday circulation of the Guardian is?” (The answer, currently, is 204,222) His point was that newspapers sell too few copies to matter.

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  • Junius

    While agreeing that Craig Oliver is a hopeless spin doctor, I also find myself in partial agreement with his suggestion that newspapers should be ignored. Their fulminations should certainly be taken with a generous pinch of salt. If governments Labour, Conservative and Coalition were to stick to their guns while taking account of media hissing and booing instead of so easily being blown off-course, they might command more respect by the public at large.

    There was a time when one could take for granted a chinese wall between the quality newspapers’ overtly partisan opinion-piece merchants and reporters, the latter group approaching their job with an element of disinterestedness and objectivity. No more. Certainly not when one can read in the Indy a piece from one if its political reporters that David Cameron was ‘dragged’ to the Commons to make a statement. Which party do you imagine has, at the very least, that reporter’s qualified sympathy?

  • Sean L

    Yes he must be a total fool if he imagines the Guardian’s influence is defined by its circulation figures alone. And if he’s worked for the BBC he ought to know that its effectively their in-house rag. Ditto the professional public sector or mandarin class generally.


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