Media no longer the king-makers as Ukip forces mainstream parties to rethink

Ian Burrell — Belfast Telegraph May 26, 2014

Just as the UK Independence Party has forced the mainstream parties to rethink their futures, so it should have left the media troubled by self-doubt over their faltering powers as political king-makers.

Ukip enjoyed its remarkable election success without the backing of a single national newspaper.

A day ahead of the elections, the Daily Mail, surely a paper of choice for many Ukip supporters, warned readers that voting for Nigel Farage‘s party would be “profoundly counter-productive”.

The one media asset Ukip possessed, of course, was Farage himself.

By almost universal agreement a highly-effective communicator, he found himself repeatedly invited on to the BBC’s Question Time and has always been happy to have the cameras follow him into the pub to watch him raise a glass.

Never mind Twitter and Facebook, posing with a pint has been Ukip’s version of social campaigning.

Farage and Ukip gave journalists a compelling story. The party injected new drama into an otherwise dull narrative.

The result of its blanket coverage was that each negative headline contributed to the sense of Ukip as a growing force.

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