Saturday, 7 January 2012

Is the Standard going back to its old ways?

The Standard, whilst not quite back to the pretty shamefully one-sided coverage that it demonstrated during the run up to the 2008 mayoral elections (under its previous ownership), appears not to be able to kick the habit of acting as an unofficial cheerleader for Boris.

For those who need a reminder why the current owners of the newspaper deployed the 'Sorry' adverts across the underground in 2009 (and it wasn't only because of the embarrassment of having employed Andrew Gilligan for all that time), then this litany of embarrassingly one-sided articles (riddled with insinuations about how much he appears to love jonny foreigner) should provide a clue:

As one regular contributor to the Standard said at the time: "Readers outside the M25 may not be aware of the huge onslaught raining down on the mayor and his agencies from Northcliffe House".

Have things improved? Somewhat, but not hugely. Sure, the relentless stories designed to benefit the Tory Mayor have tailed off a little, and there is a bit more balance in their coverage. However, their selectivity demonstrates their political sympathies. Witness, for example the almost negligable coverage the paper gave to a Comres voting intention poll in March 2011 that showed Ken ahead of Boris, compared to the prominence it gave to polls from the same firm that showed Boris ahead in September 2010 and then later in November 2011.

This may be a very close race, and the Standard will, once again, play a role in its outcome. On the evidence so far of the Standard's election coverage, staff at Boris HQ can be forgiven for feeling rather pleased.

For those of you that still have the patience to follow some of Andrew Gilligan 'journalism' will note he certainly hasn't changed his tune... but in all honesty even regular Telegraph readers (judging from their comments section, hardly the most well-adjusted people themselves) must have tired of his obsessively regular articles on Livingstone.

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