The Guardian view on reporting elections: the truth is out there | Editorial
“Facts are sacred,” wrote the Manchester Guardian’s editor, CP Scott, in a famous essay marking the newspaper’s centenary in 1921. Propaganda, on the other hand, was “hateful”. No democrat today would publicly disagree with the idea that the news media’s role is to tell the truth. But if accounts of current affairs have always been shaped, to greater and lesser degrees, by values and interests (particularly in wartime, when honesty has often been treated as secondary to security), the pressure now being brought to bear on facts in news and politics, in the UK and elsewhere, is new.
In an election campaign, reliable information matters more than ever. At a time when the British public’s faith in politics is widely recognised to have been stretched to its limits by the Brexit impasse, this is even more the case. This makes the cavalier tactics of the Conservative party over the past week all the more alarming. A few days ago the party released a doctored video in which the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, appeared to struggle to reply to a question that in reality (in an interview with Piers Morgan) he had answered straight away. At the weekend, the chancellor, Sajid Javid, and the business minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, both used television interviews to launch attacks on Labour that were based on speculation.Continue reading...