After becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson held meetings with 22 right-wing journalists, editors and media owners – including Rupert Murdoch – Scram News can reveal.
According to the latest available transparency data published by the government, the Prime Minister held meetings with dozens of right-wing hacks in the first three months of his tenure.
On 2nd August, just days after being selected as Prime Minister, Johnson held his first pow-wow with a journalist – George Osborne, the former chancellor and editor of the London Evening Standard. The pair both went to Oxford University, and were members of the infamous posh-boy society the Bullingdon Club.
Meanwhile, exactly a month later on 2nd September, Johnson had a “social meeting” with Rupert Murdoch – the right-wing media mogul who owns the Times, the Sun and formerly Fox News in the United States (though he still remains executive chairman).
Murdoch, a highly conservative figure, has often been accused of trying to manipulate UK politics through his media empire. This meeting with Johnson, just a month after he became PM, only serves to confirm that reputation.
The data shows meetings held by the Prime Minister from July to September, when he had just become the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.
Johnson also met with representatives from hospitals, police forces and charities. He did not, however, speak with journalists from left-wing publications or the BBC.
Other media guests at Downing Street included Tony Gallagher, editor of The Sun, Robert Thomson, the chief executive at Murdoch’s parent company News Corp, and Chris Evans, editor of the Telegraph.
In the same month, Johnson he had a “general political discussion” at the Conservative Party conference with four journalists from the Telegraph –including Allison Pearson – five from The Sun, two from the Daily Express, and others from the Times and the Daily Mail.
Johnson also held a meeting at Tory party conference with Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth of the Spectator – the right-wing magazine that he used to edit.
This news comes amid mounting criticism about the changing relationship between Downing Street and the media. Earlier this month, Number 10 prompted a mass walk-out of journalists, after they blocked reporters from left-wing publications like the Mirror from attending a briefing.
Meanwhile, Johnson has reportedly banned cabinet ministers from appearing on BBC Radio 4’s the Today Programme and Piers Morgan has branded Johnson “a coward” for refusing to appear on Good Morning Britain.
Given that all these meetings took place before the election was even called, it doesn’t seem unfeasible that Johnson was preparing a media propaganda machine ready to secure a big-win.
During the Conservative Party conference, Johnson also gave a reception to “political editors”, though it is not stated who these were.
Somehow we can’t imagine Katharine Viner, editor of the Guardian, got the call-up.
WHO WE ARE
We write news that exposes the deception of populism and the hypocrisy of the elites who peddle it. We run campaigns that allow us to work together to fight back.
We hate Brexit. We hate Boris. We hate the far-right. We want climate action, the end of austerity, and a pro-European future.
Press for change.
Non-registered users are limited to three articles a month, so register today!