How to handle the media…
Let’s be honest. UKIP and the media are never going to be best friends. They have their view of us and, especially if it’s the BBC, we don’t particularly like them in any case. We need to learn to live with this basic fact of political life, embrace it, cherish and maybe invite it out for a casual coffee before we can begin to develop something approaching a media strategy. And, heaven forbid, let’s not pick the leader on the basis of who we think will be most photogenic and media friendly because that almost won’t work.
Luckily for us, we live in an era when the print media is in decline. Something similar is happening in America but it is more with regards to broadcast media, CNN seems, in particular, to be taking a long walk off a short peer, and it is directly, as over here with regard to print, linked to a decline in trust caused over here by the Brexit vote and over there by the election of Donald Trump. The media bet the house in a all out fist fight with the people and it lost because it forgot the people it was trying to browbeat and dragoon into going its way also happened to be its main source of revenue.
So, its all ok right, we can make our own waves and the internet means we can get our message out there uncorrupted by the dark arts of spin? Sadly no. The first thing to remember is that the internet is becoming the home of giant conglomerates of vested corporate interests just as much as the print media ever was and still is; Facebook is a good example of a social media monopoly and if we cast an eye over to Twitter we see how a dominant/monopoly position can become a censorious one.
Monopoly and censorship should be in the crosshairs of a direct democracy media policy. We have the perfect medium in the internet and the perfect approach in direct democracy to bring the theory into practical life. No real need exists for corporate interests to dominate and nor should they, it is the vested interests of the print media that has killed trust in it stone dead. Obviously, this isnt going to win us many friends but that just returns me to the point I made at the beginning.
Perception still dominates politics and it is still 9/10s of the political law and we can lament that all we like, it is a fact of political life. People move mostly on how they perceive things and issues, not necessarily as they actually are, and this is part choice, its the level people want to engage with and consume their politics at. The dark arts of spin will therefore probably be a core part of political life until the end of time.
We have to be better at presenting our message knowing it will be filtered through a hostile lens and therefore more self reliant. Sharing stories on social media is our best way of getting them out there and it should be something we encourage our members to do so and we have to cut out sloppy mistakes, the likes of which dogged Paul Nuttall’s campaign in Stoke. If we are to go forward as a Party then this is something our new leader must address as a matter of urgency.