The Guardian's headline today was about Tory Shadow Chancellor George Osborne attacking City bonuses.
This was based on an interview by John Harris. Now, I quite like John Harris - I think he's a good writer and has a good feel politically for a lot of the audience that he's writing for.
But I am certain that he knows less than I do (which is very little) about different models of financial regulation and how the Tory proposals for revamping the regulation of the financial sector would enable them to prevent banks from handing out big bonuses. Harris is also a sucker for any argument about how even the Tories are defying stereotypes and making New Labour look timid and in the pockets of the rich.
The result was a front page headline which was very favourable to the Tories - mission accomplished for the Tory spin machine.
But surely if the Guardian is going to be interviewing the man who would be in charge of economic policy and public spending if the Tories win power, they should have sent someone who knows about these things, rather than a music journalist-turned-generalist political commentator? The Guardian has an excellent economics editor in Larry Elliott, who predicted many of the current problems in the economy years before they happened, and would have actually been able to have a sensible discussion with Osborne about the regulation of bonuses and his regulatory proposals.
George Osborne's PR people would have known before the interview that he could make the announcement about bonuses, that it would be reported, and that Osborne wouldn't have to face any expert questioning or challenge about whether there was any substance to what the Tories would do differently. It's an example of what Nick Davies calls 'churnalism', where politics gets reported at only the most superficial level.