TELL the story, journalists are always told. Don’t be the story.

Yet UK media outlets, especially broadcasters, have been thrust in the political fray like never before in this general election.

And not least by how they cover a bid to stay in power by one of their own, former correspondent and columnist Boris Johnson.

Some opinion-formers have taken aim at the BBC. Others have attacked politicians for trying to underline reporting.

Behind it all, though, there remains a cutting angst about how media handles politicians who do not play by old rules.

The Guardian

Britain’s serious liberal paper has rung its hands more than most on this issue.

Its columnist Jane Martinson warned of Tory bullying of TV news.

The Conservatives, she reminded readers, has threatened Channel 4’s after the broadcaster put an ice sculpture in place of Mr Johnson at a climate change debate. The Prime Minister has refused to be interviewed by rottweiler Andrew Neil.

Yet, Ms Martinson said, he was allowed on to Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show. She added: “Marr tried his best, but even calling Johnson’s refusal to stop talking over him, or answer the questions as “chuntering” rather than “lying” felt wrong. No journalist likes to refuse an interview but there was a good reason for the BBC to refuse to play into Johnson’s hands.”

Ms Martinson warned that “several cock-ups at the BBC have already prompted an alarming number of online conspiracy theories, and staff morale is low among those working on the election.” She described a decision to broadcast an Andrew Neil grilling as “not only blundering but craven too”.

She continued: “It seems like a good time to ask how this country - with a public service broadcaster that has long been the envy of the world - has been brought so low by bullying and gaslighting tactics straight from the Trumpian playbook.”

She added: “BBC insiders call the hardball process being played by the Conservatives ‘worrying’, ‘frustrating” and ‘demoralising’. One talked of bullying emails copied to senior executives as well as programme producers from the Tory campaign team.”

Look out for an election post-mortem at the BBC.

The Observer

Ms Martinson’s views came after Nick Cohen in the Guardian’s sister paper had warned that the “corruption of journalism and the corruption of politics march together”.

Mr Cohen was not just talking about the right. If happening in any other country,”he wrote, “we would have no hesitation in deciding that the local strongman or mafia boss was striving to control the free press.

The columnist, however, stressed that where abroad some journalists were the servants of power while “in Britain, they are the masters”.

He added: “The contempt they hold for their former trade comes from the cosseted, self-regarding world of rightwing and, increasingly, leftwing punditry that has obliterated the line between politics and journalism.”

The Sunday National

Broadcaster and writer Stuart Cosgrove picked up the same theme in The Herald’s pro-independence sister paper.

“I can understand why billionaire newspaper moguls might have a vested interest in supporting tax concealment, but why journalists, broadcasters and ordinary voters assist them in valorising the status quo bewilders me,” he wrote. “The manner in which Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg have become cult characters in modern politics without their concealed private wealth and questionable donors being the subject of intense scrutiny is one of the many failures of modern-day broadcasting.”

Former TV exec Mr Cosgrove understands the threats to Channel 4 more than most. Johnson’s “unpleasant tendency to behave as if he has the sweeping powers of a dictator in a banana republic and an abject failure to understand Channel 4’s unique status or history,” Mr Cosgrove said. “Central to their licence is a requirement to innovate in the form and content of programme-making.”

“It would take an Ofcom investigatory panel less than 10 minutes to determine that the first televised debate on climate change in electoral history was a pioneering concept and that Johnson’s failure to show up harbours another conceit, that debates about our fragile Earth are best left to snowflakes, tree-huggers and those that knit their own yoghurt.”