LETTER: Powerful anti-Ken PR machine in media

I was surprised that the PRCA Leaders' Panel tipped Ken Livingstone to win the mayoral election in spite of its view that Boris Johnson ran a better campaign (News, 2 May).

In some respects, the election was lost by Livingstone taking his eye off the ball. The suburbs didn't like his emissions plans. He antagonised the Jewish community and black-cab drivers, but he was also up against a powerful anti-Ken PR machine in the London media - especially Nick Ferrari of LBC and the Evening Standard (owned by Associated Newspapers).

Over the past six months, Ferrari has told readers of The Sun to 'vote Boris' and the Evening Standard has blitzed the public with articles attacking Livingstone.

The Standard could also advertise on 500 billboards on London streets every day that Johnson was the man to elect and Livingstone was corrupt.

There is also the small matter of back-scratching, and a less public commercial agenda. In two years' time, Associated Newspapers' contract to supply London underground with its free Metro will expire.

Metro is a golden phoenix rising from the ashes of a plummeting Evening Standard circulation. Associated will want to defend that. Interestingly, the contract's renewal is a decision for Transport for London, whose chairman the mayor appoints.

Pauline Christie, CEO & founder, Corporact

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