Professor Steve Barnett, Professor of Communications, wrote an article for The Conversation about journalists allowing themselves to be used as channels for the unfiltered messages of political leaders.
In the article, Professor Barnett examined the current journalistic climate and questioned whether some high profile political journalists exercise “proper scrutiny of a ruthless Downing Street propaganda machine” and whether they are victims of it.
He said: “As anxieties grow about ‘fake news’ being spread by unmoderated and unaccountable social media sites, and as the national press becomes even more vocal in its partisan reporting – our broadcasters have become the last bastion of detached information and critical analysis.
“Research shows that broadcast journalism is still regarded as the most trustworthy media, and those entrusted with the task of reporting on our political leaders on TV and radio bear a particularly heavy burden in febrile political times.”
Professor Barnett examined a range of different examples, including those from broadcaster’s tweets quoting ‘a Downing Street source’, and discussed how legitimate this information might be.
He added: “In an environment where the issues are complex and the politics are brutal, it is surely incumbent on those political journalists who are being relied upon by voters to guide them through their leaders’ machinations to spend more time on insights and explanations.”