Sunday, 19 January 2014

Why Does The Daily Telegraph Seem To Hate UKIP?

It is a question 'Kippers often ask themselves - why does a conservative-leaning paper like the Telegraph constantly publish articles seemed aimed only at baiting 'Kippers, despite that the fact that that it's readership seems, judging from the comments sections, to be heavily pro-UKIP? True, the Telegraph has given house room to our very own Michael Heaver, and his fellow columnist James Delingpole is unfailingly supportive, but the majority of columnists such as Dan Hodges, Toby Young, Iain Martin, Tom Chivers and, of course, Dr. Tim "chill out" Stanley are at the least condescending and sometimes overtly hostile.

Over the months and years, the resulting exasperation has been replaced with widespread belief in UKIP-leaning circles that the mainstream media are "out to get" UKIP. These suggestions can be found not least on the Telegraph blog pages themselves, where angry 'Kippers daily stake out previously True Blue Tory turf, utterly dominating the comments section on virtually every political article.

No doubt the near-total domination of the what was previously known as the 'Torygraph' - and much else of Tory real estate in cyberspace besides - is profoundly demoralising to the remaining Conservative Party activists and their supporters, but it carries with it the danger of self-validation: many 'Kippers really do believe that their opinions are majority ones, and that the fact that comparatively few columnists and writers are solidly pro-UKIP is evidence of an evil LibLabConspiracy at work.

In fact, despite the slavishly pro-political class writing of Benedict Brogan and Matthew D'Ancona (spelt with a 'W' by many of our unkinder brethren), it is much more likely that  Telegraph editorial policy is driven by crass commercial considerations: although most people are well aware that newspapers rely heavily on advertising revenue to survive, few appreciate just how powerful advertisers are in driving the direction of the newspaper and even the editorial content on a daily basis. (This latter phenomenon can be most clearly seen in the Daily Mail, where many articles are brazenly written around selling items of women's clothing.)

The ideal demographic for advertisers is the affluent and the young. The affluent for obvious reasons, and the young because they are seen to be more impressionable, which is vital consideration in building and retaining loyalty to a given brand. In this respect, us Kippers are seen as pretty poor criteria, coming as we do disproportionately from older, less wealthy demographics. The fact that we seemingly dominate the comments section is not at all helpful to the Telegraph's relations with it's advertisers who will instead be putting remorseless pressure on the paper to attract a younger, hipper - and, perish the thought -  Cameroon-supporting, MetroLib, readership.

Hence, I would suggest,  the recent influx of younger, more MetroLib writers on the Telegraph comments pages. The result is somewhat embarrassing and confused, of course - like a middle-aged Dad trying to look hip at his teenage daughter's party - but there is method to the paper's madness. Meanwhile, the Telegraph seems to have hit on an ingenious twist to it's somewhat cynical editorial policy - publish endless clickbait articles rubbishing UKIP, which simultaneously generates many more advertising impressions as furious 'Kippers descend on the comments section, and at the same time drawing the approval of both Conservative Central Office and the younger readers the paper wants to attract and retain.

My suggestion to my fellow 'Kippers is not to take this too personally: it is, at the end of the day, almost certainly more about business than a grand conspiracy. In the meantime, enjoy the Telegraph's bizarre daily Danse Macabre, as virtually every day UKIP-hostile articles are published, to be followed inevitably by a tsunami of invective from our more diehard but easily riled supporters.

It is, after all, great fun.

Well, mostly.