Still Life in the Old Attack Dogs: The Press

  • David Deacon
  • Dominic Wring


During the 2015 campaign, there was considerable negativity and partiality in much press reporting; it was not difficult to find examples of robust political partisanship descending into personal vilification. Some of this was the kind of journalism that had been repeatedly highlighted and criticised only a few years before, following the 2011 hacking scandal and during the ensuing year-long Leveson Inquiry. Some commentators believed that this election might witness digital platforms operating as a counterbalance, assuming a more significant, potentially influential role in framing public participation in, and perceptions of, the contest. At the close of the campaign, Alastair Campbell observed: ‘Why has social media been so important? Politicians aren’t trusted anymore, business isn’t trusted like it was, the media is certainly not trusted like it was … The genius of social media, and the genius of Facebook is the concept of the friend. We trust our friends.’1


Front Page Daily Mail Labour Leader Daily Telegraph Daily Express 
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  1. 3.
    The equivalent figures for 2010 in brackets are courtesy of Dominic Wring and David Deacon, ‘Patterns of Press Partisanship in the 2010 General Election’, British Politics, 5 (2010): 436–54. When considering press partisanship, it is important to account for the choice of party a given newspaper chooses to support, but also the strength of that endorsement. The key piece of information to determine this is the editorial declaration. Traditionally this used to be published on polling day itself, but now increasingly appears in the days and even the week before. Although the statement is, by definition, limited in terms of both time and space, it is nonetheless of significance. The editorial declaration conveys a viewpoint that normally reflects the newspaper’s political outlook as expressed in the preceding campaign. It is also something that the key decision-making editors, proprietors and/or journalists traditionally take very seriously.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© David Deacon and Dominic Wring 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Deacon
  • Dominic Wring

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