Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing a media disaster – for telling the truth. Yet it’s not social media that started the event – but the online world has turned a small event into a much larger one.
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After speaking to a woman who complained about immigration, and wearing a Sky News microphone, he got into a car and left muttering complaints about whoever set up the press event.
On the recording he clearly calls the woman ‘bigoted’.
It’s one thing to ask politicians to tell the truth, but when we hear what they really think of the electorate it can come as a bit of a shock.
But here’s the interesting thing. Within minutes of the event taking place and then being reported by the major news channels, the hashtag #bigot was in wide use on Twitter and the terms ‘bigoted woman’ and ‘eastern europeans’ were trending.
Gordon Brown was appearing on BBC Radio 2 this afternoon and the presenter Jeremy Vine played him the Sky News recording of his supposedly private ‘bigoted woman’ remarks. Brown clearly did not realise that the BBC streams video of most of their radio studios to the web because he sat holding his head in his hands as the recording played.
Things are going from bad to worse on the campaign trail for Gordon Brown today, but a private indiscretion in his car and a private moment of despair in a radio studio might never have been elevated to such importance were it not for the citizens of Britain scanning the radio and web and broadcasting these small observations to the world.
Whoever said social media is not playing a part in this election needs to think again.