Well, there's a bit of a to-do going on over at Chez Iain today!
It seems that Mr Dale has been told that the Sunday Lobby were given a story on Brown regarding terrorism but they were not allowed to tell the opposition about it to get comments.
Brown's spinners told these papers* that they would only get the story if they agreed not to carry any quotes from David Davis, Nick Clegg or any other opposition spokesman. Not only that, they weren't even allowed to tell the Tories or LibDems about the very existence of the story. Now, have a look a those links in the above para again. It's not difficult to spot that not a single one of the stories contains a quote from David Davis or Nick Clegg? Coincidence? No.
Well, I am going to disagree with that and go along with Mr Hennessy and Mr Watt (who is rather lovely) when they say that Mr Dale, and whoever tipped him off, are talking rot.
One of the reasons some bloggers are saying that the newspapers are becoming a dash obsolete is that they don't have the potential to react to stories the way we can, or the broadcast media can. It's even more difficult for the Sundays, which is why they usually carry big exclusives and the day to day things which have been carried on the broadcast media the day before are much smaller stories.
I will hazard a guess, then, that what actually happened is that Brown's press people sent around the e-mail with the story to the Sunday papers and everyone knew it was in their best interests to keen schtum so it wasn't covered anywhere else before Sunday. If they call up the Tories or Lib Dems for a comment then PA will know about the story, then the broadcasters will know about the story, run it much sooner than when the papers go to the newsstands and bye bye exclusive.
As it happened, PA got it much later, at 19h30, so that didn't happen, and the Sunday Papers got their story. Shock! they sell papers! Because that's what newspapers are in the business for.
I can imagine that the broadcasters were rather annoyed at this turn of events, but they have the upper hand on so many levels so I think it was rather sensible of the Sundays to do what they did. It's how it used to work in the Sunday meetings, where only people who published on Sunday were invited to so that stories didn't leak out beforehand.
I know that Iain says he 'knows for a fact', but from what I've seen that doesn't add up....
So, that's my take on it all. Well, it's a bit more than my take, but there we go...