In addition to their announcement of their proposed new working model and their outline of their funding, Prince Harry and The Duchess of Sussex released a proposed new media strategy which involves removing themselves from the Royal Rota. In my opinion, this is another step on a road Harry and Meghan are walking to dismantle the public’s trust in the press with regard to their press coverage.
Harry and Meghan’s proposed new media strategy involves:
– Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists;
– Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage;
– Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events;
– Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels;
– No longer participate in the Royal Rota system.sussexroyal.com
One of the most significant moves here is the removal of the Royal Rota system, which gives “British media representatives the opportunity to exclusively cover an event, on the understanding that they will share factual material obtained with other members of their sector who request it”. The reason behind removing the Royal Rota system from covering their events has to do with Harry and Meghan claiming the royal reporters are not credible sources of information on the them, saying: “Britain’s Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of The Royal Family as well as of their private lives. This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting.”
The second significant move here is only providing access “to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting”. Harry and Meghan will handpick which media outlets they deem credible, which in effect says any outlet they don’t invite is not credible. If any reporters from those outlets Harry and Meghan pick go rouge and report on something Harry and Meghan dislike, they get to kick them out from their events. This means Harry and Meghan will have a lock on their press and will only invite people who write what Harry and Meghan want them to write.
In addition to saying the royal reporters are not credible sources of information, Harry and Meghan go on to detail how their social media channels are a way to provide factual information about the couple, and the removal of the Royal Rota system means they can provide more information to the public than they have been able to.
Separate from the Media page, Harry and Meghan’s website says in two different sections, the About page and the Funding page, that their website is “the source for factual information and details relating to the works and structure of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex”.
What we have here is Harry and Meghan saying: 1) The royal reporters are not credible sources of factual information; and 2) Our website, social media, and the reporters we deem worthy are the credible sources for factual information. This is incredibly problematic, because it leads to propaganda to cover corruption.
I think this line is one of the more interesting on the entire Media page: “they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate“ [Emphasis mine]. This is the second time Meghan, specifically, has said something akin to this. In their documentary, when asked about press scrutiny, Meghan said: “If I do something wrong I’ll be the first one to go ‘oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I would never do that’.” This line on their Media page, coupled with Meghan’s previous statement, makes me think that Harry and Meghan WON’T accept being held to account. Because does this sound like gaslighting to anyone else, or is that just me? I dealt with a narcissist for years, and he would say “If I’m wrong I’ll be the first to admit it” ALL THE TIME. And guess what happened when I told him he was wrong, he would scream at me and insult me and gaslight me into thinking I was the wrong one. Because when he was wrong, and my comments were valid, he wouldn’t accept that he was wrong, even thought he claimed to. Now I’m not saying Harry and Meghan are narcissists, but coupled with everything else they’re saying to invalidate the press scrutiny on them, I get a bad feeling that this “we’ll accept valid criticism” is, in essence, gaslighting the public into thinking they will admit mistakes like corruption when, in reality, they won’t. And if the press does attempt to hold them to account, they will claim the press is lying.
I do not think the royals are above criticism, and I do not think the royals are above corruption, and, unfortunately, I think that Harry and Meghan are attempting to dismantle trust in the press, and have been for a while – at least as far back as February when Meghan’s friends spoke to People, and Harry’s most recent anti-press statement. I wrote, back in December, a piece on how a social media only media strategy would be a breeding ground for propaganda, and I stand by that even more now. I wrote then that “when someone is a taxpayer-funded public official, they don’t get to exist on propaganda”, and Harry and Meghan not taking the Sovereign Grant is their way of working around that: that if they aren’t funded by the taxpayer they can make money and control their press. But their security is still funded by the taxpayer, and the Duchy of Cornwall funding is considered public money by the majority of Britons. Additionally, Harry and Meghan claim to want to continue to support the Queen by performing royal duties. That makes them public officials. Because of that, what I said previously stands, that they don’t get to control their press to the point of propaganda, which is what they are, in essence, wanting.
What this type of media strategy Harry and Meghan propose will lead to is a lack of oversight on their money-making activities, which may be exactly what they want. If they want to make as much money off of their royal titles as possible, dismantling trust in the outlets that would run those stories holding them to account for their activities (ie. not the ones who Harry and Meghan deem suitable to cover their events) is how they achieve that.