Crick: political journalists failed on MPs' expenses

Newsnight's political editor Michael Crick has admitted that political journalists failed the British public by not being more aware of MPs' expenses before the scandal broke. Giving a masterclass to Centre for Journalism staff and students, Crick said he was concerned that the case might be symptomatic of failings in other areas of journalism too. "In the pursuit of personality-driven journalism perhaps we are overlooking some of the bigger stories," he said. "I think it is a failing of journalists that the collapse of the economy came as such a surprise to us. In the same way I think it's a failing of political journalists that all this expenses stuff has come as such a surprise to so many people, including us."

Crick also said he thought that, becuase of where we are in the political cycle, scandals involving Tory politicians were given a lot less play than those involving Labour counterparts. He cited the recent examples of Watford Tory candidate Ian Oakley, given a suspended sentence for harrassing his opponents, and Slough candidate Rajah Khan, who was jailed earlier this month for his part in an election fraud. "If those had been Labour people, I can't believe they would have got as little coverage as they did do," Crick said.

 

Click the image above for an edited interactive version of Crick's masterclass.