In this post I will accuse the sections of the media of being biased. But before I do that I would like to state that my view is biased, the difference between the television media and this blog is that blogs usually share something that tells the reader about the writer, and most bloggers do not give the impression that they are impartial. Anyone who reads this blog can see that I am supportive of the Labour Party. I lay my cards on the table. If you read the tag line at the top of the page it reads “Socialised, Unionised, Labourised” If you are on this page then you are in no doubt about my political position. It is assumed by many that TV is totally unbiased, people are more aware that the papers support one party or another.
The Labour Party have accused the BBC of bias this criticism can be justified both in terms of how and what is reported. A recent example of a lack of reporting of the Spartacus report1 (
#spartacusreport) which has taken Twitter by storm just days after Ed Miliband spelled the name of a 90s game show incorrectly and Dianne Abbot made a sweeping generalisation about white people. The report which was written by disabled people is highly critical of governments welfare reform bill, and exposes that the governments ’consultation’ of disability living allowance claimants was deeply flawed, the media have been slow on the uptake but the BBC appear to have listened and invited the disability campaigner Sue Marsh onto Newsnight to debate the issue with the Department of Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling. The presenter Emily Maitlis was feeding Grayling lines and easy questions and cutting Sue off. She even started quoting the Prime Minister and the Telegraph making it easy for the Tory minister to simply agree with her! Where is Paxo? and more importantly where is the balance?
We do not see a balanced critique of Tory (or Labour) policy on the news. The Coalition government are failing to deliver the growth they were promised, failing to deliver the jobs that they promised the private sector would provide and failing to keep their promise to eliminate the deficit in the life of one parliament, which was a damaging promise which they should never have made. Public services are in decline, the fate of the NHS hangs in the balance, and there are over 1 million young people out of work. University applications are in decline the aspirations of young people from normal backgrounds have been dented. If stories such as these are reported they are not the prominent headlines.
Despite this the Prime minster enjoys quite favourable media coverage. Cameron was interviewed this week on BBC Radio Fours Today Programme, the interview finished, not with a grilling but with a friendly chat about what actor would play Cameron in his equivalent of the Iron Lady. The media like Cameron: Where we see 'slimy' they report 'slick'. Where we see 'arrogant' they report 'confident' and worst of all where we see 'the pure evil in ideologically targeting the most vulnerable for cuts' the media reports, 'doing what is necessary for the good of the country in these times of austerity' .
What are the reasons for this preferential treatment? Is it because Labour did what was right in backing the phone hacking enquiry. Is it because there are some in the Labour party are vocal in their criticism of Ed Miliband. Were many current editors in the Bullingdon Club? Are there other more mysterious forces at work?
Most people get into politics for ideological reasons, to make a difference. Although we may not be totally comfortable with it, opinion-makers are just as important in politics today as change-makers. Governments clearly have more influence in the Media than opposition parties. Ed Miliband has been described as ‘Harry Potterish’2, Maybe Labour need someone skilled in the Dark Arts of media manipulation to even up the game, is Professor Snape available?
1. The Spartacus Report