The Sun Won’t Win it

30 09 2009

File:It's The Sun Wot Won It.jpgThe Murdoch owned tabloid came out last night in favour of the Cameron led Conservative party.  It did so whilst trumpeting the claim that it always picks the winner in the UK general election.

There was more than a nod to the headline “It’s The Sun Wot Won It” printed after the 1992 vote when they backed John Major. In the confident proclamations of George Pascoe-Watson, the paper’s political editor, do we detect the hint of a suggestion that Britain’s biggest daily dose of dead wood and ink actually decides the outcome of the poll?

There is no question that Gordon Brown’s popularity is at the lowest of ebbs but there is plenty of evidence around the social networks that the Sun’s decision has actually brought people out in support of Gordon.  National papers simply do not carry the same political influence when the ordinary voter can cry ‘foul’ and then publish their own views.  With the opinion polls so solidly predicting a Conservative coup, Murdoch and his red top flagship might even be accused of bandwagon jumping.

We also now live in an era where the people talk back and are far less likely than ever before to be told by the media how to vote.  Labour’s chances don’t look good but The Sun may have given the divided activists something to rally around.  Former prime minister Harold Wilson said “a week is a long time in politics” and there are still quite a few weeks to go.



3 responses

30 09 2009

I wrote my MA dissertation on how the media affects major political events. Fair enough, I was talking about the media of 1659/1660, but it’s a period with some interesting parallels to the here and now, and I think the conclusion I came to holds good for today’s media, too….

..they don’t influence events, at least not over the medium to long term. Media can make the running and set the agenda short term, but over months and years people make up their own minds.

You’re absolutely right that The Sun can be accused of bandwagon-jumping, because jump on a bandwagon is exactly what it’s done. In fact, it’s what it’s done in every election since 1979.

Papers give their readers what their readers want; ergo, they follow trends rather than taking risks by trying to set them.

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[…] a la Obama, could prove crucial in the UK too.  For example, the recent announcement by The Sun that it would be supporting the Conservative Party was greeted with generalindifference – the […]

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