Liz Truss, a former prime minister, has called some media outlets “froth” and claimed that similarities between her fashion choice and Margaret Thatcher’s amount to “lazy thinking.”
In addition, she referred to as “puerile” the Daily Star’s attempt to test if a lettuce would survive longer than her time in No. 10 by livestreaming it.
When asked at a press conference in Dublin if she tries to dress like Baroness Thatcher, she responded that “there aren’t that many of us” and that female politicians are frequently compared to one another.
“I just think, frankly, it’s lazy thinking on people’s part. It’s not something I have ever consciously sought to do at all,” she said.
Ms. Truss acknowledged that “robust debate” in the British media is “generally a good thing,” but she also voiced her displeasure with certain aspects.
She continued by saying that “shouting things at them is not really journalism” when she followed them around.
She claimed that when she attended international conferences, officials from other nations would show “a lot of sympathy” for her concerns with the coverage of the British media.
“I think that the British media are known throughout the world for being particularly vociferous and I don’t think they are particularly deferential to politicians,” she said.
“It’s frustrating because I came into politics because I wanted to change the country, I want to push particular ideas, and it is frustrating when you get diverted onto a discussion of what hat you’re wearing, or whether you like photographs, all this other stuff, rather than one of the crucial issues that are affecting Britain, Europe, Ireland and the US.
“I do think sometimes politics is sort of treated as a branch of the entertainment industry. Who’s up, who’s down, who says what about who – it’s a bit playground when there are really serious issues going on.”
The director-general of the European Broadcasting Union and a former director-general of RTE, Noel Curran, opened the conference by saying people working in news cannot help but be concerned about the trends showing the business is losing younger listeners.
He said the “downright brilliance” of journalism has never been so evident as it was during the Covid pandemic and during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and criticised the “day-to-day bullying” of newsrooms by governments across Europe in what he said is a rising phenomenon.
He added that, despite fears about the threat to the industry from artificial intelligence (AI), he believes it should be embraced with “a big, warm – but regulated – hug”.