Politicians attacking the media: it’s not a pretty sight

I was very taken with this tweet yesterday.
It’s a bit rude, so brace yourselves.

 But in among the devilish political satire is a serious and well-rehearsed point.
Politicians need a thick skin.
Most of the ones I’ve ever come across – and that runs into the hundreds over the years – would agree with that.
In theory. In principle.
But you’d need a heart of a stone and a hide a mile thick not to be upset by some of the abuse that comes politicians’ way.
Another serious and well-rehearsed – by me, at least – point: most of those hundreds of politicians took up their roles for good and public-spirited reasons. They were – many still are – decent people trying to do what can be an unenviable job.
So generalised accusations that they’re all on the take, or don’t put in a full day’s work, or are in it for the so-called glory (have you endured a seven-hour budget meeting?) are wide of the mark.
I vaguely remember my much-missed father-in-law – a borough councillor in London – dealing with a constituent’s drain problems on the day he was preparing to lead his daughter up the aisle for our wedding.
So I absolutely get how painful criticism is for politicians.
But there are few less edifying sights – or sounds – than politicians having a moan.
Particularly when it’s about the media.
One such complaint came from Donald Trump this week.
Being lambasted by Trump is a massive badge of courage.
So I don’t think we need to let this little row detain us for too long.
More disturbing was Jeremy Corbyn’s attack on the BBC in this week’s documentary by Vice.
And sadder still was the resultant renewed abuse suffered by the Beeb’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, who was booed and hissed as she questioned the Labour leader at a press conference.
This after a wildly misguided petition was launched, calling for her sacking.
Guardian writer Ellie Mae O’Hagan does a sterling job of trying to steer Corbyn and his team away from their moans today.
And some have pointed to the example of Justin Trudeau in how to effectively deal with the media.
The Corbyn camp’s bunker mentality has outlived its usefulness.
Even Ed Miliband dealt with the media more surefootedly – managing to condemn the Mail’s coverage of his father with dignity, and to land serious punches on Rupert Murdoch as the hacking scandal unfolded.
Ultimately, more people will trust the impartiality of the BBC’s news output than will ever put their faith in the words of politicians.
Launching attacks on journalists is a waste of time and breath at a moment when every waking hour of Mr Corbyn’s should be dedicated to ensuring we get the right result on June 23.
He needs to Remain calm and focused – and Leave the media abuse to the lunatic fringe.

 

 

 

 

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