David Cameron Learns from Lord Copper

Blogger Roger Mac Ginty, who is also Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Manchester, compares press coverage of the recent UK-EU negotiations to a Waugh novel:

There was something very scripted about David Cameron’s EU negotiations on Thursday and Friday of last week…The whole thing sounded suspiciously scripted… 

This issue of the pre-planned media opportunity masquerading as reality is by no means new. Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop (1938) features Lord Copper, a London newspaper magnate telling the novice war reporter William Boot how an ongoing African war is to be reported in his newspaper, The Beast:

“I never hamper my correspondents in any way. What the British public wants first, last and all the time is News. Remember that the Patriots are in the right and are going to win. The Beast stands with them four-square. But they must win quickly. The British public has no interest in a war which drags on indecisively. A few sharp victories, some conspicuous acts of personal bravery on the Patriot side and a colourful entry into the capital. That is The Beast policy for the war” (Scoop 1954: 42).

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