Are the media biased against Labour?

Since the results of last week’s elections were announced, I’ve seen numerous examples of Labour MPs and supporters complaining about the coverage they’ve received. The claim seems to be that despite performing well in the elections, Labour’s results have been painted as bad news, while UKIP have got favourable coverage of their results. Do they have a point though? I don’t see how.

UKIP have come from nowhere over the last 18 months to win hundreds of councillors and actually winning the popular vote in the EU elections. While Nigel Farage has rarely been off our screens lately, the coverage I’ve seen of UKIP has been overwhelmingly negative. The print media in particular have been out to get UKIP, with almost daily revelations about some idiot candidate or another. Despite this, they managed a great result (relatively speaking), doing so by campaigning on two – linked – issues, immigration and Europe. They made some inroads into solid Labour areas, most notably in Rotherham, but also here in Bradford, where, while they only won one seat (off Labour), they came second in a number of others, often coming within a couple of hundred votes of victory.

So that’s UKIP then. But what about Labour? They won the local elections, picking up over 300 seats on a projected national share of 31%, and their vote was up 10% over 2009 in the EU poll. Pretty good? Despite this, the media have been asking why Labour aren’t doing better. Biased against Labour then?

Not really. They’re up against a wretched Coalition government who deserve to lose for numerous reasons (cutting public spending in a slump, disgraceful treatment of the unemployed and disabled, restricting access to justice, speeding up private sector involvement in the NHS and on and on), and yet they can only beat them by about 2 percentage points a year out from the general election. Of course people are going to ask what’s going on.

Labour party people need to stop whining about media bias and start thinking about why they’re not doing better, and why UKIP, who are supposed to be ex-Tory voters, are gaining so many votes in Labour areas.

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8 thoughts on “Are the media biased against Labour?

  1. When I was training to be a sales executive our tutors drummed into us this mantra.”never knock your competition or you could lose the sale” instead demonstrate the benefits if your product with honesty and enthusiasm by doing so your chance of a sale will be more favourable.This advice proved effective.This lesson is true in business and in politics. UKIP was knocked repeatedly month after month. So hence their success in the recent elections.Surely a lesson to be learnt here? People don’t liked to be called nutters,fruitcakes,racist and homophobics just because their choice of party doesn’t match yours.

  2. There has been some slightly strange reporting, though. For example, the Newcastle Journal wrote –

    “Asked for his response to Ukip’s success in Sunderland and the Yorkshire town of Rotherham, where the party won ten seats, Mr Balls said: …”

    Rotherham you know about, but the UKIP success in Sunderland may have passed you by…

    Of the 25 seats up for grabs, Labour took a total of 21, with the Conservatives winning three and one Independent. UKIP took, er, 0.

    Total UKIP seats on Sunderland City Council – 0.

    That’s success comparable to 10 seats in Rotherham. ?

  3. I agree that UKIP have had negative organised publicity. Though I can only say their television coverage has been bordering on ‘ hero worship’ especially from the BBC. The appearance of Farage on Question Time has been almost on a par with Dimbleby! I have seen a number of tv journalists treatinghim with kid gloves when many members of his party are racist bigots with views which have no place in reputable politics. They rely on fear and intolerance and use lies and misinformation.
    Farage talks about being not part of the political establishment and yet rakes in large sums of cash and participates in voting and representing people in Europe! Is this morally different to the snout in the Westminster trough. His politics trade on xenophobic hysteria and a sense of superiority for being British.
    As for Labour, since New Labour infiltrated they pandered to business and wealth, leaving traditional voters voiceless and frustrated. Despite this, I would never seek answers in intolerance and hate! Labour don’t know what or who they stand for. This is the heart of their dilemma.

  4. Labour should complain about their media coverage. So should the greens (nope I hardly saw anything about them either), so should TUSC (yep 2 daily politics and a few inches in a few local rags). At least labour could get some of its message across in the press however biased. But it is so much harder when you’re seen as the underdog by the press who blithely ignore you. UKIP managed to turn the negative press into ‘they’re being nasty to us an making it all up’ and I’m certain some voted for them out of sympathy (knowing how politics usually works and assuming that it was usual dirty tricks).

  5. Whilst the coverage of UKIP has been almost entirely negative, I think this is a perfect example of ‘any publicity is good publicity’. I personally don’t think UKIP would have done half as well if they weren’t on our TV screens and in papers every single day, even if they are shown saying racist things, as I think it is clear the constant coverage has encouraged voters to go out and vote for them, when they may not have otherwise done. I also think the Greens have received not nearly enough coverage, the media focuses on the fact that the Lib Dems have almost been wiped out, without discussing the fact that they were over taken by the Greens, a party that has tripled its support.

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