Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, the party has struggled when it comes to forging a positive relationship with the MSM (mainstream media). Right wing press aside, Corbyn has taken issue with coverage from the BBC, New Statesman, The Guardian, the Mirror and Channel Four. However, are times a-changin'?
Last night journalists were welcomed into the Leader's Office for Corbyn's Christmas drinks. True to form, Corbyn stayed on brand -- using a box Chilcot Reports as a handy door stopper. However, in a sign that he is willing to compromise in order to appeal to the masses, the vegetarian lay on a spread of chicken legs and pork pies for hungry hacks. As guests sipped on mulled wine, Corbyn explained that he would have to make an early exit to go shopping with Nicky Morgan; 'I wouldn't dream of wearing any old rubbish pair of trousers costing a thousand quid'.
'I'm sorry there's very few seats for everyone to sit down, but I asked Virgin Trains to sponsor the event and they very kindly agreed to do that.
I'm not expecting any interruptions in this speech whatsoever, Peter Tatchell has called to say he can't make it tonight.
I think two years ago we'd have been surprised if we'd been in this event at all and I tell you, being leader of the party is fascinating, interesting and 24/7.'
As 'fascinating' as it's been, Corbyn couldn't resist a few digs at the journalists in the room. He thanked hacks for inspiring him to erect a new fence around his house, and for keeping such a close eye on his allotment:
'I really do now appreciate the work that you all do... because the way that my house has been photographed day in day out is so pressing on me, I had to get a new fence constructed around the front of my house.
I also want to thank the gardening correspondent of the Sun. First of all for going to my allotment every Sunday week in week out to find out what time I arrive. Hiding behind a tree for four hours, maybe up the tree, in order to get a photo of me lighting a bonfire. Absolutely brilliant reporting -- this is the stuff that British journalism is made of.'
Corbyn did find time to highlight the 'real journalism' he admires. As well as discussing Hillsborough, he paid tribute to those journalists who had laid down their lives fighting and exposing injustice around the world. It then fell to John McDonnell -- the shadow chancellor -- to say a few words. After claiming over the weekend that inquiries into 'fake news' are an 'assault' on independent media, McDonnell used his speech to discuss Craig Woodhouse's departure earlier this year from the Sun to work for Karen Bradley at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport:
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'Can I just say Craig Woodhouse as a former Murdoch employee moving to DCMS, it's a complete coincidence that Rupert Murdoch has now put the bid in and I won't have anyone say it isn't.'
While McDonnell may be rooting for independent outlets over traditional publications -- for all his praise of sites like The Canary and Novara Media -- Mr S couldn't spy any representatives from the alternative media at the bash.