Ian Monk: A fascinating web of media spin

It is hard not to feel sorry for Andy Coulson. As a PRO, he has become the story and, whatever the truth and however oft-repeated his employer's pledges of loyalty, that must inevitably loosen his hold on the Number 10 job.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

Yet Coulson's job tenure is only a single strand of the affair that links some of the most concerted corporate, media and political PR agendas of the day.

Politically, many see Coulson as embodying the blessing that Rupert Murdoch's media empire has bestowed on the Conservatives. Murdoch's jilted Labour favourites attack Coulson relentlessly with claims that he was aware of widespread tapping of telephones while editor of the News of the World. With these attacks come allegations of a cover-up involving parliamentary select committees, police, CPS and DPP.

The motive, it is implied, is a complex trade of political and commercial interests through media influence. The Tories secured the cherished backing of The Sun. What, it is asked, have they conceded in return? How untrammelled will legislation and regulation allow the expansion of Sky to be? What price might the BBC pay for Sky's further expansion?

All these agendas lead neatly back to Coulson. If he falls, some fear and The Guardian hopes that a Pandora's Box could open. Thus it is sound that the Tory PR strategy aimed at keeping Coulson in his post dovetails with that of Murdoch's News Corp. Each insists a line was drawn when Coulson resigned from the NoW.

Sound too that the police PR operation maintains steadfastly that there is nothing new to investigate. If there is, they will do so. Meanwhile, there is nothing untoward in various senior Scotland Yard officers now working for Murdoch. PR strategists paint The Guardian's long-running investigation as obsessive and isolated from most media thinking. They brief that a recent Dispatches programme and claims published by a commercial rival of Murdoch's in the US depended on anonymous and discredited sources.

Was a web of spin, politics and media ever more fascinatingly woven?

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

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