Blair: 'Daily Mail attacked me, my family, my children'

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has described the “unhealthy” power of some media groups and described the affect of being under “sustained attack” by the Daily Mail.

“If you fall out with the controlling element of the Daily Mail you are then going to be subject to a sustained attack. They attacked me, my family, my children, people associated with me…

‘They do it well and very effectively and it’s very powerful.”

Blair said that his staff had analysed the sentiment of the first 50 Daily Mail stories written about him after his 2005 general election victory and of 50 stories published by the title just prior to him leaving office in 2007.

They found that all 100 stories were negative. Blair said: ‘Maybe I did nothing right during that time.”

He added that when an individual falls out with one of the big media groups, this sort of negative coverage is ‘relentless and unremitting’ and leads to a situation in whichh newspapers wield an amount of power which is ‘unhealthy’and which he said he felt uncomfortable with through his time in office.

He added: ‘I took a strategic decision to manage this and not confront it.”

Blair said: ‘The Sun and the Mail are the two most powerful of the newspapers. The Sun particularly because it is prepared to shift its view, which makes it more important.”

Blair said later that some journalists had waged a “personal vendetta” against his wife Cherie and that she had considered taking out legal actions more than 30 times in five years.

He said: “I think some of the papers, particularly the Mail group, took it too far and it turned into a personal vendetta…

“I thought and do think that the attacks on her and my children were unnecessary and wrong.

“I just don’t think it is part of the political debate.”

He added: “What I think is wrong is where sections of the media – and again I emphasise it is sections – where powerful people say, ‘right we are going to go for that person’.

“And then what happens is they go for you. And, as I say, it’s full-on, full frontal. That’s not journalism. In my view it’s an abuse of power. It’s not necessary to do it. I feel that some of the stuff crossed the line.”

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