Boris Johnson got a hammering before the Privileges Committee on 22 March. As usual, he did his level best to squirm, twist, and blame everyone else. He may yet be damned for attending Whitehall parties at at the height of the pandemic. Only time will tell, even if large sections of the public seem to have made their minds up.
But Johnson was not alone in his failures. Some are saying a compliant media helped him along the way. It’s hardly surprising that there doesn’t seem to be much public support for Johnson. After all, the care homes scandal, PPE cronyism, and the general mismanagement of the pandemic aren’t far from anyone’s mind.
Bewildering Boris Johnson
Author Paul Illett said he was bewildered at claims Johnson had been stitched up given so much of the media was itself right-wing:
I remain bewildered by journalists/presenters in right wing media outlets in the U.K. claiming Boris Johnson is the victim of some “media stitch up”. The overwhelming majority of the UK media is right wing. The fact #Partygate was reported at all is little short of a miracle.
— Paul Ilett (@Paul_Ilett) March 22, 2023
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Some pointed to the Daily Mail‘s bizarre front page, which suggested that Johnson had run rings around Labour’s Harriet Harman during his grilling:
— James Alexander (@JmsAlxdr) March 22, 2023
A bit too cosy
There have long been suggestions that the Tories and political journalists tend to be a bit too cosy with each other. One angry commenter clearly felt there were no levels to which client-journalists would not stoop to defend Johnson:
Boris could have brought his DJ decks to No.10 and led a Sweet Caroline singalong and client-journalists would run with;
— Jamie (@JamiesWorld86) March 22, 2023
Others felt, perfectly correctly, that using first names with politicians was bad practice for any serious journalist:
If you’re a ‘journalist’ and you introduce a politician by their first name like ‘Sir Keir’ or ‘Boris’ it’s a red flag that you’re a client journalist and working for the establishment #PartyGate #FordeReport
— Lex Davies (@WelshLa86864840) March 22, 2023
But there’s a bigger picture here. For years Johnson’s buffoonish public persona lulled journalists and producers into a false sense of security. For example, his long list of appearances on comedy shows like Have I Got News For You made him appear a bumbling but harmless fool. Likewise, his entire brand was built with the complicity of reporters and editors who failed to look closely at the man himself:
Zero patience with any journalist, MP or commentator who spent decades lionizing Johnson, ignoring his behaviour who is now 'Shocked' and thinks 'The game is up'.
C*nts. All of them. They knew exactly what he was, they called us enemies for pointing it out. #Partygate
— The Dark Seraph (@TheDarkerSeraph) March 22, 2023
Boris Johnson is many things: charlatan, liar, bully, toff chancer. But he didn’t appear in a vacuum. For decades his worst features were laughed off because ruling class hacks found him entertaining. He isn’t, and he never was. He is a man who should never have been allowed near power.
Beyond that, he is a product of the same posh-boy production line that runs through public school and Oxbridge into positions of great power – be they in politics, industry or, for that matter, the press itself.Support us and go ad-free
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