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The Media’s Attack on Corbyn: Research Shows Barrage of Negative Coverage – Media Reform Coalition

corbyn_coverage-360x222New research by the Media Reform Coalition shows how large sections of the press appeared to set out systematically to undermine Jeremy Corbyn in his first week as Labour Leader with a barrage of overwhelmingly negative coverage.

The research looked at all 8 national daily newspapers and their Sunday publications1 and found that out of a total of 494 news, comment and editorial pieces, 60% (296 articles) were negative, with only 13% of stories framed in a positive manner (65 articles) and 27% taking a neutral stance (133 articles).

One might expect news items which make up the bulk of the coverage, as opposed to comment and editorial pieces, to take a more balanced approach. In fact the opposite is true. A mere 6% of stories classed as news (19 out of 292 articles) were positive. Any notion of simply ‘reporting the facts’ in straight coverage of the day’s events appears to have had a restraining effect on positive stories only, suggesting that the default ‘common sense’ position is based on negative assumptions.

Among comment pieces, there was slightly more positive coverage (22%, or 34 out of 155 articles), but negative stories far outweighed these (57%, equal to 88 articles). The picture was similar for editorial pieces where 60% (27 out of 47) were hostile to Corbyn.

When we turn to individual newspapers, the results are even more striking. In the Sun/Sun on Sunday, 32 out of 36 news stories were negative while in the Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday, 50 out of 52 news stories were negative. With the largest and second largest share of circulation in the UK respectively, these papers’ agenda-setting influence should not be underestimated.

100% of the editorials in the Sun, Mail and Express titles (including their respective Sunday publications) were negative towards Corbyn in his first week as Labour leader.

The research follows Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s recent statement that the Labour Party should ‘commit’ to media reform and consider how to ‘break up’ existing concentrations of media ownership.

Dr Justin Schlosberg, chair of the Media Reform Coalition, welcomed this commitment as timely and necessary. ‘In a democracy newspapers have every right to take a partisan line, but what concerns us are the skewed ownership structures underlying this kind of political intervention. The risk of undue influence on elected politicians is high, and it is hard to see how democracy can flourish when the mass channels of debate are monopolised in this way. Let’s not forget that Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of this country’s main opposition party by 250,000 people, which is 100,000 more than the number of people who elected David Cameron as leader of the Conservatives. It is surely a problem for all of us when newspaper owners are actively seeking to undermine a democratic mandate of that scale.’

A recent report by the Media Reform Coalition revealed that just three companies – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, The Daily Mail & General Trust, and Trinity Mirror – control over 70% of the national newspaper market, a market that may be shrinking but is still crucial in setting the agenda for the rest of the media. Among the remedies being proposed by the Media Reform Coalition are clear ownership thresholds, safeguards to ensure journalistic and editorial autonomy, and arms-length funding for community news and independent start-ups.

The Media Reform Coalition has produced a draft bill on media ownership that is due to be discussed at a meeting in Parliament on Monday 7 December. You can find more details here.

This post originally appeared on the Media Reform Coalition website and is reproduced with permission and thanks


  1. davidhencke

    Reblogged this on David Hencke and commented:
    This factual analysis shows what everybody suspected – there has been an unrelenting media attack on Jeremy Corbyn in the media since he was elected by a press dominated by unelected multi millionaire owners. This is chilling for democratic debate. The scale of the bias is staggering, particularly in the news coverage.

  2. artmanjosephgrech

    I did not vote for Mr Corbyn as I feared this would happen although I agreed with his approach and policies.. The reason for the personal venom and unrelenting attacks is that they haveand are been fuelled by members of the Shadow cabinet and others in PLP and those defending the premiership of Tony Blair.

    Jeremy poses the kind of threat to the institutional power structure which covered up the industrial scale exploitation of children in public care and which the Justice Goddard inquiry will unmask over the next five to seven years..

    David Cameron is using moral blackmail to avoid a second loss of face over the majority public view against the current bombing of civilians by any government or group anywhere let alone out involvement in Syria. He realises that the mood in the UK is such that there will be a vote against remaining part of the ECC in the referendum what ever he says he has negotiated so this is also an attempt to establish the kind of authority which Margaret Thatcher was able to establish.

    He is now working had to do to the Labour Party what he did to the LIberal; Democrats. There are only a few credible national politicians in the UK
    and only one with a proven record of putting principles before personal power and wealth.. ie Mr Corbyn. What members of m the PLP need to grasp is that without Jeremy there would have been no effective opposition and if he goes for whatever reason the Party is finished. The PLP are not independent politicians who have put up their own money to become MPs and have their own army of supporters knocking on doors and stuffing leaflets into letter boxes in all weathers. If they are so keen on killing people they should join up and fight or offer to sit in the planes and drop the bombs

    • liz727

      Excellent comment artmanjosephgrech spot on in every respect.

  3. The Porcelain Doll

    Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.

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