Beating the bully briefs


Some commentators have pointed out that as the election nears, the Downing Street attack dogs have been unleashed again. The tactics are those of the off-the-record briefing which contains the smear, what Alistair Darling referred to as "the forces of hell." It is very effective because it serves both the media and the government. A chosen journalist is favoured with an inside story which he or she then runs, earning praise from their editor and the envy of their colleagues. So when the anti-bullying help-line boss reveals that Downing Street employees have called for help, within minutes the story is twisted to one of 'breach of confidentiality,' with various figures trotted out to back the new slant and trash the charity concerned.

This is not something just done to benefit the Guardian and the BBC. The centre-right press has proved just as gullible in reproducing stories they have been given to support the government version of events.

There is something that might be done. As we found with expenses, there is nothing like daylight to send insects scuttling. If this were publicized every time it happened, with names named, it might begin to lose its effectiveness. Step forward Guido Fawkes. Mr Fawkes has long denounced the lobby system and the confidential briefings. Those appalled by what the system is doing should now make it their business to report every case to Mr Fawkes, anonymously of course, naming the journalist and the person who did the briefing. They could even tip off Guido when they have been given such a story themselves, doing it in third person to make it appear that someone else has exposed them.

Once it became routine for these so-called 'briefings' to appear on the Guido Fawkes site, complete with the names of the guilty parties, its dishonesty would become transparent, and people might think twice about doing it. Over to you, Mr Fawkes.