All this, however, demonstrates a problem with a great deal of last week's media coverage: overreach and oversaturation. There's only so much dirt to be dug up about Jeremy, and thanks to the summer-long leadership campaigns most of it has already had an airing. Old speeches, old interviews, old footage has already been trawled through by political opponents and journalists, and it's most unlikely something new's going to turn up. If all the press can do is run them and rerun them, readers could start tuning out and stop buying papers. That's possible - the long-term decline of the press isn't just about the ubiquity of internet news. Poor, regurgitated content is playing its part too.
There are two things Labour's new press operation can do in this situation. The first is a strategy I'd definitely not recommend. It can attack the media for its bias and rely on a couple of wobbly media friends - The Mirror, The Graun - and hope the masses of new members and the growing influence of social media can compensate. In other words, retreat into the bunker and hope to outflank the media. The alternative is to use them. Yes, Richard is right, the media are hostile and no amount of spin or watering down policies are going to change that. The trick is then to try and lead the agenda by moving the fight to the grounds of your own choosing. There are three points here. Jeremy's press should always try and cultivate relationships with journos. And that includes those on the dreaded Murdoch titles. Good relations can be cashed in later to occasionally blunt attacks, and perhaps the odd exclusive. Second, the leader's campaign was principled, non-personal, and all about ideas. The trick then is to pick a few issues a month and keep hammering them in speeches, articles, PMQs, whatever for a limited duration before turning to something else. With the media running out of bilious attacks, this gives them fresh meat but shifts them onto the terrain of policy. Of course, the press has it own preferences. If Simon Danczuk says something silly, or rumours abound of more shadcab divisions, they're par the course. But some of the strategy will work some of the time. Third, rebuttal. Nothing should go unanswered. Every lie, every smear, all have to be responded to, refuted. No more 'no comment'.
As a general rule, the left has a sophisticated theoretical understanding of the media's political economy and the biases growing out of them. High time we had a strategy to match it.