Advertisement

Government Publicity: Managing the News

Chapter

Abstract

Nowhere in British politics during the 1980s was the use of marketing techniques more extensive or more contentious than in the field of government publicity. Government’s relations with the media, particularly with television and the Westminster correspondents’ lobby, and the allegedly improper use of the Number 10 Downing Street press office, became political issues during Mrs Thatcher’s second administration. In her third term, the scale and nature of government advertising became matters of public debate and investigation by both the Public Accounts Committee and the Treasury and Civil Service Committee. In the period 1987–9 government advertising attracted more criticism, comment, controversy, parliamentary questions and debate, than at any time since the Second World War. More than 100 parliamentary questions were asked on the subject in the session 1987/88 alone.

Keywords

Prime Minister Information Officer Government Information Chief Information Officer Cabinet Minister 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    For accounts of these issues, and government secrecy generally, see Clive Ponting, Right to Know (1985) and Whitehall: Tragedy and Farce (1986);Google Scholar
  2. Michael Cockerell et al., Sources Close to the Prime Minister (1984);Google Scholar
  3. Peter Hennessy, Whitehall (1990);Google Scholar
  4. and Peter Golding et al. (eds), Communicating Politics (1986).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    See Valerie Adams, The Media and the Falklands Campaign (1986);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Glasgow University Media Group, War and Peace News (1985);Google Scholar
  7. D. Morrison and H. Tumber, Journalists at War (1988);Google Scholar
  8. Carla Garapedian, ‘Media Coverage and Government Policy Presentation’ (1987);Google Scholar
  9. and J.E. Wentz., ‘A Comparative Study of Mass Media Operations’ (1988).Google Scholar
  10. 3.
    See, for example, Michael Leapman, The Last Days of the Beeb (1987);Google Scholar
  11. Michael Cockerell, Live from Number 10 (1988);Google Scholar
  12. and Roger Bolton, Death on the Rock (1990).Google Scholar
  13. 4.
    Sir Fife Clark, Central Office of Information (1970) p. 157.Google Scholar
  14. 5.
    See William Crofts, Coercion or Persuasion? (1989) p. 218.Google Scholar
  15. 8.
    Harold Wilson, The Governance of Britain (1976) p. 119.Google Scholar
  16. 9.
    John Ramsden, The Making of Conservative Party Policy (1980) pp. 5–6.Google Scholar
  17. 11.
    Bernard Ingham, Kill The Messenger (1991) pp. 348–9.Google Scholar
  18. 14.
    Roger Bolton, ‘The Problems of Making Political Television’, in P. Golding et al. (eds), Communicating Politics (1986).Google Scholar
  19. 15.
    Roger Bolton, Death on the Rock (1990).Google Scholar
  20. 19.
    For a discussion of the guiding philosophy of the Civil Service and the effect of the Thatcher Factor, see Peter Hennessy, Whitehall (1990).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Interview with Bevins shown on ‘Good and Faithful Servant’, Dispatches, Channel 4, November 1990.Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    For accounts of Ingham’s background in the Yorkshire provincial press, the Guardian and in the GIS, see Robert Harris, Good and Faithful Servant (1990), and Ingham, op. cit.Google Scholar
  23. 34.
    For a comparison between Ingham and previous press secretaries, see Colin Seymour-Ure, ‘The Prime Minister’s Press Secretary’, Contemporary Record, Autumn 1989, 3(1).Google Scholar
  24. 35.
    See Marcia Williams, Inside Number 10 (1972) pp. 219–29.Google Scholar
  25. 38.
    Lord Donoughue, Prime Minister (1987) p. 165.Google Scholar
  26. P. Dunleavy et al., ‘Prime Ministers and the Commons: Patterns of Behaviour, 1868–1987’, Public Administration (1990).Google Scholar
  27. 41.
    See D. Butler, British General Elections Since 1945 (1989) Table 10.1, pp. 93–4.Google Scholar
  28. 42.
    Murdoch’s Sky channels were not regarded as domestic television because they were transmitted from a foreign-owned satellite. For an inside account of the tussle to take over The Times and Sunday Times, see Harold Evans, Good Times Bad Times (1983);Google Scholar
  29. see also William Shawcross, Murdoch (1992).Google Scholar
  30. 43.
    James Prior, A Balance of Power (1986) p. 134.Google Scholar
  31. 46.
    For example, Haines is credited by Donoughue with persuading Wilson to accept a voluntary rather than statutory pay policy. Haines also tried to persuade Wilson to adopt a policy of selling council houses to tenants. See Donoughue, Prime Minister (1987) pp. 68–9, 106–7;Google Scholar
  32. also Joe Haines, The Politics of Power (1977).Google Scholar
  33. 76.
    Neville Taylor, ‘Behind the Whitehall Curtain’, British Journalism Review (1989) 1(1).Google Scholar
  34. 81.
    Marcia Williams, Inside Number 10 (1972) p. 222.Google Scholar
  35. 84.
    Francis Williams, Parliament, Press and the Public (1946) pp. 136–7. Williams was press secretary to Clement Attlee.Google Scholar
  36. 85.
    Peter Hennessy, Whitehall (1990) p. 365.Google Scholar
  37. 86.
    See Jeremy Tunstall, The Westminster Lobby Correspondents (1970).Google Scholar
  38. 95.
    Colin Seymour-Ure, The Press, Politics and the Public (1968) p. 210.Google Scholar
  39. 99.
    Anthony Bevins, ‘The Crippling of the Scribes’, British Journalism Review, Winter 1990, 1(2).Google Scholar
  40. 100.
    David Broder, Behind the Front Page (1987) p. 238.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Margaret Scammell 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and Communication StudiesUniversity of LiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations