Johnson mimics Trump’s press briefing

24th Jul 2020
Johnson mimics Trump’s press briefing

(Credit: Pixabay)

At a time of polarization and political chaos, the UK and the US are led by two remarkably similar and larger-than-life figures.

Both Donald Trump and Boris Johnson rely heavily on rhetoric, presenting themselves as unorthodox and even anti-establishment figures in an era of post-truth politics.

“We do think that people want direct engagement and want stuff from us, and so we’re going to have a go at that,” Johnson said when revealing he intended to replace the age-old system of political reporting by lobby journalists with White House-style media briefing session.

Just after he was elected, he caused consternation by switching the traditional briefings from Parliament to Downing Street as if underlining plans to centralise power directly from his office.

The move to broadcast, what are historically unattributed briefings on television are part of a wider pattern to bypass the press and speak directly to voters.

It is aimed at muting what Trump calls ‘fake news’ and subsequently presenting unchallenged information as “alternative facts.” It comes after running daily press conference in Downing Street during the current Covid-19 crisis.

The two leaders in effect are seeking to deliver their agendas by attempting to censor alternative views, interpretations and context that could be critical. Similar to the pattern each use of endlessly repeating emotive phrases, the aim is to influence people to think only in their desired way.

It can already be seen in the way that statistics are presented in the way most favourable to the Government. Alarm bells ought to have rung when Johnson scaled back ministerial press interviews and when reports circulated that Downing Street is planning to dramatically reduce and centralised control its communications operation.

The PM has even created what he has called ‘People’s PMQs’ sessions, stage-managing softball questions chosen selectively from members of the public.If the American version of press briefings is anything to go by, the new spokesperson Johnson is reportedly seeking to hold them will be on daily TV bulletins with the troubling prospect of becoming better known than elected politicians.

The frontman no doubt will be known for what he or she is unable to answer as much as a regular diet of presenting selected information. It comprises a very dangerous development when politicians are seeking for people to know only what they want you to know. Like in the 19th century battle for a free press; knowledge is seen as power.

 

Downing Street imitates White House style lobby briefings

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