Is There Bias In The UK Media?

Is There Bias In The UK Media?

Anyone who is a regular consumer of the UK media will be aware that there is considerable bias in certain sections of the print media and some perceiv

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Anyone who is a regular consumer of the UK media will be aware that there is considerable bias in certain sections of the print media and some perceived bias as well in some television news. This is particularly the case when it comes to politics.

You will be aware that the print media, encompassing both national and regional newspapers, have different agendas depending on who owns them. In political terms, there are fewer centre or centre-left publications than there are right-wing ones, and as with everything, it depends on which side of the political spectrum you stand to determine whether you consider one publication to be more biased than another.

However, there are various factors that show that right-wing national papers show considerably more political bias than those towards the centre and centre-left. These papers, the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Sun, and their Sunday versions, are all owned by exceedingly rich men who pay little or no tax in the UK as they are based offshore.

Maintaining the status quo

Although there are protestations that the owners of these papers, such as Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, the Barclay brothers and Richard Desmond, do not get involved in the editorial slant of their papers, the more cynical amongst you would probably say: “Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?”

It appears that the main thrust of right-wing papers is to demonise anyone who is interested in a society that is more just and equal, so they will relentlessly attack the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and others on the wide spectrum of the left whilst generally talking approvingly of the Conservative Party.

The status quo suits these people, and they have the mouthpieces to try to maintain it. Unfettered capitalism is freedom at its best, and there is also a demonization of those who are poor, on benefits, immigrants or are of different religions.

This, in particular, affects the Muslim population as there is a constant drip, drip of anti-Muslim stories and opinion pieces in these mainstream media outlets that lead many people, not just Muslims, to believe that there is a significant bias in what is published.

Looking from the other side

The Guardian and the Independent are centre to left-of-centre broadsheets, though the Independent is now only published online. They tend to be more supportive of the politics of the centre and the left, but also appear to be biased against the current leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who is often portrayed as an extreme-left politician but in reality is far more of a socialist centrist.

The Mirror, a tabloid, also supports Labour and would certainly carry articles heavily criticising the Conservatives. In terms of reach, however, the right-wing agenda reaches far more people than the centre and left, often allowing damaging and divisive (and sometimes untrue) reports to be published.

Brexit

This has divided the country, and the right-wing media are cheerleaders for it. There is rarely any attempt to show the other side of the coin, and those who voted to remain in the EU are dismissed as if their views were unimportant and irrelevant.

This bias and sharp rhetoric has increased the polarisation of society, and, in particular, due to the concentration on immigration as a bad thing, has led to a significant rise in racist hate crime. Pushing right-wing agendas has also encouraged the extreme-right organisations that are avowedly racist and anti-Muslim, so the media bias has had a poisonous effect on the country and, it could be argued, led to the death of the MP Jo Cox at the hands of a white supremacist.

The treatment of Muslims

Muslims are often unfairly represented in the media, with attacks on their religion. Reports of the terrorists who claim that they act in the name of Islam and the behaviour of grooming gangs in certain cities are used to tarnish all Muslims. It’s all grist to the mill for publications that appear to want to stir up hatred and division, a reason why Fiyaz Mughal and his charity Faith Matters make an important contribution to countering anti-Muslim hate.

Bias matters

There is little doubt that there are strong biases in the UK media that can effectively at times appear as if they are right-wing propaganda sheets. It can be dispiriting if you are looking for some balance, but there are many people working to counter this type of bias and return to issue-based politics rather than rabble-rousing.

Sources:

https://inthenews.co.uk/

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/fiyazmughal

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/brexitinc/des-freedman/what-corbyn-s-debate-victory-tells-us-about-bias-in-british-media

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/23/media-muslims-study