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The media and politics: the Hutton Inquiry, Public Relations State and crisis at the BBC

journal contribution
posted on 2006-12-18, 16:30 authored by Dominic WringDominic Wring
2004 began with the culmination of an inquiry by Lord Hutton into the circumstances leading up to the death of the Ministry of Defence scientist David Kelly. Hutton formally cleared the government of blame and criticised the BBC for its role in the affair but the subsequent debate ensured Tony Blair’s involvement in the controversy and the wider issue of Iraq remained firmly on the agenda. Blair’s apparent vindication by Hutton was dismissed as one-sided by a formidable coalition of agenda-setting newspapers whose vigorous defence of the BBC together with further criticisms raised by the Corporation’s former Director General Greg Dyke maintained the pressure on government. The crisis highlighted the limitations of the so-called Public Relations State, subsequent reforms of which have done little to counter the perception that there is a growing crisis of public trust in the Prime Minister and his government.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


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WRING, D., 2005. The media and politics: the Hutton Inquiry, Public Relations State and crisis at the BBC. Parliamentary Affairs, 58 (2), pp. 380-393.


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