You’re Chris Grayling’s handler. What do you do?

In Chris Grayling, the conservatives on April 12, 2010 at 21:30

From Wife in the North, on her visit to the Chris Grayling roadshow:

(Actually thinking about it, it was the second thing because the first thing was to ask me to leave the building on the grounds it was a private meeting and he presumably thought I might hear something Chris was saying to members which he wouldn’t say in public. Something like “Gay-boys, don’t you just hate them?”)
After I’d left the building, the minder starts asking how I knew Grayling was in town and how many readers I have (not many I told him, which is true), and how disappointing it must be if nobody reads me (a slightly unnecessary remark but there you go.) I asked for two minutes with Chris before he started glad-handing, but No, I could put a few questions as we walked.

You’re Chris’ handler.  His PR guru.  You’re mindful of the fact that the Tories are trying to look ‘hep’ and ‘with it’.  What do you do?

Well, probably talking down to a blogger isn’t the best way to handle the situation, is it?  But, what do we know?  We’re just PR guys.

“You are supposed to have an accreditation pass to join us, have you got your pass with you.”
I’m a voter, I told him.
“I know but you are supposed to have an accreditation pass to interview him which is what you wanted to do, and I’m wondering if you have your pass with you? Do you have your pass with you? ” (Bear in mind, here I’ve already done the interview and we are way past this conversation.)
I told him I was doing what I did as a member of the public.
“No,” he said. “You are interviewing him.” This presumably means members of the public shouldn’t ask questions.
(At this point, and just for good measure, I got thrown out of a shop the Tory posse had gone into on the grounds “the owner” didn’t want me in there.)
“You are interviewing him,” said Bould. “Members of the public don’t come along with a dictaphone and record him. You’re very much like a journalist to me.”

Yeah.  Really stupid, actually.  There’s being careful about who gets access to your guy and then there’s alienating the electorate – very publicly.

We’ll consider this another example of how it is becoming increasingly difficult to hide behind the MSM, and from the technically minded electorate, who see the Internet as a tool to promote a wide-ranging discussion on the issues that affect us all.

One of the most important things that the media is supposed to do is keep the public informed about the world around them so they can make well-rounded, responsible decisions with regard to government.  The free traditional media traditionally (sorry) was the hallmark of a free and democratic society.

This has increasingly moved into the realm of the ‘new media’, of course.

While some bloggers do indeed style themselves as journalists or members of the Fifth Estate in one manner or another, there are some relevant differences between the two.  Accountability is one, of course.  However, it’s interesting to watch how this is working itself out now, both in the ‘new’ and the ‘traditional’ media.

In any event, good on the Wife of the North.  It takes guts to do something like that, regardless of which party she supports.

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