Britain’s government has changed. Will its relationship with the press?

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from CJR,

Last week, The Sun, a right-wing British tabloid, splashed the front-page headline “TIME FOR A NEW MANAGER.” The backdrop depicted a soccer stadium, but the paper made clear at the bottom of the page that it wasn’t talking about the coach of the England soccer team, which is currently competing at the European Championships in Germany, but rather the country as a whole. In an editorial, the paper said that while it supported many policies pushed by Rishi Sunak, the incumbent prime minister—including a scheme to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda and a ban on “harmful gender ideology in schools”—his Conservative Party had become a “divided rabble.” Despite numerous reservations, the paper said that it was “time” to back the opposition Labour Party instead. The next day, Britain voted, and Labour won in a landslide.

The Sun’s endorsement is A Moment in any British election campaign, and it has a storied history: in 1992, the paper famously declared that it was “THE SUN WOT WON IT” after warning its readers not to vote for Labour; in 1997, it dramatically switched to Labour after Tony Blair, then the party’s leader, aggressively courted the paper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch. As I’ve written before, it was unclear even at that point whether Murdoch has the power to anoint winners or merely backs the party that looks likely to win anyway. Adding to that long-standing debate is a newer one as to whether newspaper endorsements are still relevant in the digital age.

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