Bruno Waterfield, Daily Telegraph, reports on the fact that the EU proposes to spend this amount of money on propaganda campaigns - and the employment of over one thousand spin doctors - to sell the EU to a hostile public. Bruno Waterfield has a history of showing knowledge about the subject of the European Union and what he writes can be taken as 'gospel'.
It is beholden on me though to pass a comment or two on that which Waterfield writes, although with no detriment in respect of his reporting:
"Projects that are part commission spending next year include £31million over four years on "information events " targeting journalists.If we, in this country, had 'journalists' worthy of the name then I could understand the expenditure, but sadly we do not. What 'reporting' that is done can best be discovered by visiting the site: http://churnalism.com/ which hosts examples of what passes for journalism today, namely 'cut 'n paste' reporting. Hence I have to question: Journalists get more targeted and precise information and the tools they need to provide citizens with qualified, reliable and timely coverage of the EU". Qualified? Reliable? Timely? - Who, where and when? Unfortunately, with regard to Nigel Farage's question whether both journalists and the public are stupid, then the answer must be yes - because (a) the journalists are stupid which means that (b) because of journalistic stupidity the public are likewise.
"The commission wants to continue to connect with citizens and respond to their concerns and interests," said a tender document for the project.
"Informing journalists in a proper way about the EU and its institutions is an important step since they are the link between these two parties. " Journalists get more targeted and precise information and the tools they need to provide citizens with qualified, reliable and timely coverage of the EU."
Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, attacked a "sinister " attempt to "indoctrinate " journalists. "Do they think journalists, or the public, are stupid? No amount of money or PR can make people like the EU or stop the press reporting the political reality of Brussels."
It is worth noting - as an aside - that Open Europe, who produce many noteworthy briefing papers, are basically not what they seem in that they are quite content for this country to remain within the EU under certain conditions of their choosing. That opinion is borne out by the quoted statement of Mats Persson who maintains that what the EU needs is reform. If the EU believes, as it obviously does, that 'spin' is needed to 'inform' the public about the benefits of membership, then it is hardly surprising, in this age of transparency, that 'open' [sic] europe should do likewise!
Update: GoodnightVienna, Calling England, has also posted on this story - although she does it so much better and with humour!