Is there any value in newspaper endorsements? Many people don't think that they matter much. Leading articles aren't read widely, they contend. What are read widely, however, are the newspages and since the Daily Mail endorsed David Cameron on Saturday it has been giving generous news coverage to the Tory frontrunner. Yesterday's page two had a big story on Cameron acting against video nasties (covered one day earlier on this blog). Today's page two has a 'Cameron to keep local bobbies' headline... all enough to quicken the pulse of every red-blooded Conservative.
Today's Ephraim Hardcastle diary in The Mail goes a little too far in serving its Editor's support of DC, however. This is its lead entry:
"The 'David Davis for Leader' team tells supporters attending the regional hustings with party members, which are closed to the press: "'If you're asked on the way in by a reporter who you support, say "undecided". On the way out, find the same reporter and say "I was undecided, but now it's definitely Davis." And make your way round as many other reporters as possible with the same message. If you feel confident, try the DC/DD conversion variant- "It was Cameron, but now it's definitely Davis."" Mr Davis says his leadership marks a departure from Labour spin. Doesn't sound like it."
Readers are left with the clear impression that this is an official DD campaign operation. It isn't. It's the work of Wat Tyler, the independent and indefatigable blogger for Mr Davis, who calls his blog 'David Davis for Leader'. It was a foolish post but deeply misleading of The Daily Mail to present it in the way it has. Lord Tebbit has another source of bias to worry about.