Theresa May, David Cameron, BBC discussed on The Media Show

The Media Show


Picking over every single word and trying to make something out of it trying to say that there is skullduggery or wrongdoing when actually the one slip of a word and all of a sudden you're in a whole new territory. I think that there are cozy relationships between special advisers and journalists and that's how on the feeding the stories goes. But it does come back to how your principle wants to act. Theresa May didn't want that cozy relationship. She didn't want that feeding structure. And so it changed quite differently from my relationship with journalists, and the ones that David Cameron's team had before. And remember going to the U.S. and Trump, we chose hope from the BBC and journalists from the sun to ask questions of Trump from the UK side. And afterwards, he said to me, you call them your Friends, and I said, no, they're not our Friends. We live in a democracy, and they hold us to account. They didn't like that very much. No, imagine he didn't. And it's interesting you talk about the agendas, both of politicians and their advisers, but also of journalists and Michael when you're considering source information coming in your direction, presumably you're acutely aware that whoever's giving it to you may well have an agenda. Indeed, every time some source tells you something, you have to say, well, why are these eliminated? Why do they come to me? They're trying to get across. Can I believe them? And depending on whether they've got an interest in this coming out or whether it's just something that happened to know, that is all becomes part of the assessment and part of the calculation that you have to make as to how many and what strength of other sources you need. But this whole thing about friendships is a difficult one. I mean, Allegra Stratton used to be my producer on news night. I was on friendly terms with her. I can't say she's a close friend. These days, Robbie Gibb was the same. He was a colleague of mine. He used to work for Theresa May and Downing Street. He was to that he worked with me in the BBC. So these relationships are very, very difficult. My own style is to sort of try and keep a certain distance as much as I can. But there have been relationships in the past. I remember in the Blair years, both Alastair Campbell and Peter mandelson were very close to certain journalists, and it always seemed to be those journalists that came out with the stories that were favorable to the Blair government. And I was very uncomfortable about that. And I think a lot of our colleagues are uncomfortable about that that certain journalists can be used as mouthpieces for certain politicians..

Coming up next