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Media power: a myth

Pollster Peter Kellner says the Sun and other newspapers have less influence than we think

By Peter Kellner   August 2011

It is surely good that politicians have lost their fear of the Murdoch empire. But they shouldn’t have been afraid in the first place.

The impact of our more raucous newspapers on British politicians is like that of scary movies on their audiences. Think of Rupert Murdoch as Alfred Hitchcock. Celluloid images and sound effects cannot inflict harm in themselves. Their potency lies in the terror they induce in our minds. If we wanted to, we could shrug off our fear. So can politicians when they are attacked by newspapers.

This is true even of the 1992 general election. The…

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