Introducing Minister Media Monitor

Pundits and political producers have complained since the election that Downing Street is refusing to put up ministers on television. Craig Oliver has an iron grip on broadcast appearances, implementing  a “one minister a day” policy where a single, reliable minister reads out the lines to take on whatever issue. Our Minister Media Monitor charts ministerial broadcast appearances throughout the day, everyday.

From the Today programme to Newsnight, we monitor which ministers appeared answering questions in interviews. Note this will not include doorsteps, only scheduled appearances. Our league table ranks ministers by their number of appearances, showing who is the flavour of the month in No.10, and who has been kept away from the cameras. This resource empirically illustrates No.10’s strict broadcast grid, their reticence at sending ministers out to be held to account, and how this is being challenged by the referendum. Here is the spreadsheet with the data from February and here is the league table…

MMM February the ministers

The referendum sees three Leave ministers make the top ten, with Chris Grayling by some way the most vocal. Philip Hammond is No.10’s flavour of the month to give the government’s line, followed by the ever-reliable Matt Hancock. Jeremy Hunt was under the spotlight over junior doctors and government spinners obviously think it is important to get as many women on screen as possible – Greening, Rudd and Soubry are high up the list. It is notable that there were just 53 ministerial broadcast appearances in February, and a considerable number of these by off-the-grid Outers not authorised by Craig Oliver. George Osborne is keeping away from the cameras, the submarine Chancellor appeared just twice in 29 days…




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Quote of the Day

Brendan O’Neill on the coverage of Jo Cox’s murder:

“I don’t have very high expectations of the British media. But even I am shocked at the speed with which sections of it have sought to make political mileage from Jo Cox’s death. Pro-Remain journalists, swathes of the broadsheet set, are already discussing her death as a consequence of Brexit campaigning, as a foul spin-off of foul politics. They’re saying that of course Brexiteers aren’t directly responsible, but… that wretched “but”, which means “but they are responsible”. Remainers are already pointing a collective finger at the “political climate” cultivated by Brexit and suggesting it nurtured this murder. I thought they would wait, a day perhaps, before marshalling this tragedy to their cause. But no.

Politically exploiting a murder, morally blackmailing Brexiteers to tone down their campaign, and inadvertently diminishing the culpability of the killer by suggesting “the climate” bears some responsibility for what he did — I think it’s possible the British media has just reached a new low, the lowest low.”

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