Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Press power in EU referendum, history of Mail might


Great article that provides some historical context for the current, overwhelming right-wing bias of the UK press, which seemingly proved decisive in the 2016 Brexit vote. Here's a short sample - spot the Curran and Seaton book title in there ...:

There’s another consistent and important thread in the Mail’s long political story too. The Mail is a newspaper that wants power. The Mail is a player not an observer, today as in the past. It was the campaign against Stanley Baldwin’s leadership of the Tory party by Lord Rothermere’s Mail and Lord Beaverbrook’s Express in 1931 that triggered Baldwin’s famous onslaught about the proprietors aiming at power – “and power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”. These are words that could echo through the Mail’s coverage of the EU debate without a single change, as do Baldwin’s less often quoted comments that the press were “engines of propaganda” whose methods were “falsehood, misrepresentation, half-truths [and] … suppression”. 
I looked up Baldwin’s great speech this week when the Mail, unlike almost every other newspaper, put nothing whatever about the Orlando gay club massacre on its front page on Monday. By any standards this brutal attack was the main story of the day. Every other newspaper led with it. Meanwhile what was the Mail’s front-page headline? It was “Fury over plot to let 1.5m Turks in Britain”. The Orlando story wasn’t on pages two or three either. These were political priorities, not journalistic ones.
Just as with film, we need to be careful in assuming influence from a biased press - media effects is a tricky area! This is, to be fair, less contentious: when the bulk of the UK public have been exposed to decades of hyperbole and frequently made-up anti-EU stories, Euroscepticism is hardly surprising. Its that long-term impact of bias that is crucial, just as its the months and years of anti-Labour/left-wing coverage that makes it hard for the likes of Jeremy Corbyn to prosper - NOT the final editorials.

The EU referendum is a battle of the press versus democracy.

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