On October 28, more than a year after leaving office as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced that he had signed a new job: he would join the British GB News news channel and become a news host and commentator.
Johnson, a journalist, author and media personality, has always maintained a high degree of enthusiasm for the media field. He was forced to resign as prime minister last summer after being forced to resign over his mishandling of a sex scandal involving close associate Chris Pincher. In June this year, when the results of the investigation into deliberately misleading parliament about the “party gate” during the new coronavirus lockdown were about to be released, he resigned as a member of his constituency with another elegant resignation letter, avoiding the shame of being suspended.
After being completely unemployed, Johnson, who will turn 60 next year, announced in just three days that he had found a job as a columnist at the Daily Mail, the UK’s highest-circulation tabloid. According to disclosures, His annual salary for this column is close to one million pounds, much higher than the salary of the Prime Minister. Now, he has joined GB News, the most right-leaning news channel in the UK, as a news host and commentator.
Unlike many politicians in Europe and the United States who have experience in various fields of society, Johnson has only held two jobs in his life since graduating from Oxford University: media and politician. Whether he was doing journalism or later entering politics, he was an out-and-out media darling.
As a journalist and writer, Johnson’s biting and humorous writing not only brought him a loyal readership and great career success, but also made him popular among a group of Conservative politicians, including the late Margaret Thatcher. He was favored and even brought into the political arena for training. In the end, Johnson, who entered politics not too early, defeated his Labor opponent Livingstone who was seeking re-election in 2008 and became the democratically elected mayor of Greater London. From then on, he embarked on the fast track of his career. In 2016, he soared to the top thanks to his leadership role in the Brexit referendum, becoming the hottest political star in the UK in the past five years, and eventually became the prime minister.
Whether they are Johnson’s die-hard supporters or his opponents who hate him to the core, they will admit that Johnson’s success in politics is inseparable from his grasp of the media. With his full sense of performance when facing the camera, his slightly perverse and even clumsy and cute image, coupled with his background as an elite son of Eton College and Oxford, as well as his superb control and use of English vocabulary and semantics, it is no exaggeration to say that Johnson is As long as he appears in public for a day, he is a natural media focus.
Looking back at the previous owners of No. 10 Downing Street before Johnson: Cameron has been criticized for being too elite and ungrounded; Theresa May has always been very unnatural in front of the media camera, smiling stiffly but saying nothing; she has only done dozens of When Truss, the Prime Minister of Japan, was surrounded by enemies, he first skipped work to avoid the media, and later refused to admit his mistakes at a press conference, and was chased and beaten by reporters. As for the current Prime Minister Sunak, he has little political experience, a tepid personality, and is not liked by the media.
Johnson has long been criticized by his opponents as a “populist politician”. On the one hand, Johnson himself does have a good relationship with the media, and he is also good at using his experience and advantages in the media circle to increase his exposure and gain support; on the other hand, Johnson has a good relationship with the media. On the other hand, traditional media (television, newspapers and magazines) still have a large and stable audience in the UK today. Even in the Internet era, many British people still regard self-media as unpopular street talk. Even on the Internet, it is mostly Rely on traditional media channels to obtain information and participate in discussions.
Johnson’s identity and exposure have given him a considerable public opinion base among the vast number of “old white male” (older white male) voters who rely more on traditional print media for information. It just so happens that his political views and tendencies are consistent with The tendencies of this group of people are highly overlapping. After Johnson resigned as a member of Parliament, whether he wrote a column in the right-wing tabloid “Daily Mail” or defected to GB News TV station this time, on the one hand, he needed to ensure his own exposure, and on the other hand, it was all out of the need to consolidate his views through the output of his views. Consideration of one’s own political fundamentals.
GB News’ ambitions
Among British television media with a long history and fierce competition for ratings, GB News is an out-and-out “junior”. This TV station launched in June 2021, when the UK had not yet emerged from the haze of the epidemic. It was also the first new TV news channel to be launched in the UK after more than 30 years. The channel broadcasts 24 hours a day and can be watched for free through a variety of TV signal methods and online platforms.
Although it is also free to watch, unlike the familiar BBC News Channel and Sky News Channel, GB News is not backed by any comprehensive TV station, has no documentaries, no soap operas, no celebrity entertainment programs, and does not broadcast them. For sports events, focus on making news. Or, to be more precise, invite celebrities to comment on the news.
The establishment of GB News was full of Western-style “ideological struggle” from the beginning. From the rise of the “progressive left” and “political correctness” in the United States and the United Kingdom, to Trump’s failure to seek re-election as president of the United States, and the delay in the Brexit process for several years, to the strong impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on societies in various countries, all of these have caused a change in British society. The right-wing forces very much hope to have a platform of their own that can escape the hostility and censorship of right-leaning speech by the existing British television media. Co-funded by prominent London-based hedge fund manager and billionaire Sir Paul Marshall and UAE-based investment firm Legatum, GB News was launched in 2020 and began broadcasting less than a year later.
From the beginning, GB News has made no secret of its right-leaning political stance. Andrew Neil, the first chairman of the TV station, is the most famous political news anchor of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the past 20 years, and is a well-known “national face” figure in the British. Neal has been controversial because of his right-leaning stance on issues such as the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and climate change. In 2020, Neil joined GB News due to a falling out with the BBC. Although Neil left GB News not long after the TV station was launched, he successfully recruited a group of the most topical celebrities and politicians in the British media and politics to join the new TV station, including the Conservative Eurosceptic leader Ray Smoker, former UK Independence Party leader Farage, “Daily Telegraph” deputy editor Tomine and others.
GB News has also abandoned the traditional practice of general TV news channels sending a large number of foreign correspondents to obtain first-hand news. It focuses on the field of news commentary, focusing on celebrities talking about news, and imitating Fox News, the most famous right-wing media in the United States. network pattern.
Relying on its clear channel positioning, GB News quickly attracted a group of loyal viewers. Just a few months after its launch, GB News already has a stable audience of hundreds of thousands. According to a poll by market research company Savanta, in 2022 GB News has surpassed its rival Sky News Channel to become the third most popular in the country. Popular” news brand. Moreover, it is worth noting that the areas where GB News’s audience is growing the fastest are precisely the so-called “red wall” areas in the northeast, northwest and Yorkshire of England. This is in line with the rise of the right-wing population in England in the past decade and the rise of the right-wing population in England. There is a high degree of overlap in the regions where a large proportion of the parties favor Brexit.
Now, GB News has successfully recruited former Prime Minister Johnson to join as anchor and commentator, which is undoubtedly another shock bomb to the British media circle. Even the BBC, the “state-owned media” that is supposed to be in a transcendent position, has to admit that Johnson’s signing of GB News may have an impact on next year’s British and US elections. Johnson himself confidently posted on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, that he would use this excellent new TV channel to talk about his candid views on the challenges that the UK has to deal with, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In the fierce media competition environment, the favorite politicians of the British media have never been the ones who are truly talented and practical. Politicians who never make shocking statements and have no news value, especially those who have no controversial news value, basically cannot get traffic. In the context of electoral politics, the lack of traffic and exposure basically means that the political life of individuals and parties is shaken. The so-called “black and red are also red” and “black and pink are also pink”. The iron law of traffic has played a huge role in the violent fluctuations in British politics in the past few years.
Although Johnson himself suffered a temporary setback in the political arena, his every move still received huge exposure in the media. Considering that the current polling data of the Conservative Party is very ugly, it is almost certain to lose power in next year’s British general election, and the international situation has fallen into a new round of turmoil, will Johnson, who is temporarily living in newspapers and TV stations, It remains to be seen whether it will play a greater role in the direction of the British Conservative Party and even British politics in the future.