The independent London newspaper

What our biased media chooses not to challenge

07 November, 2019

Boris Johnson

READERS may recall the television advertising campaign preparing viewers for leaving the EU.

It gave no concrete advice, simply repeating the mantra that the UK was leaving on October 31.

That pledge, of course, has died along with other promises made by the Boris Johnson government.

The campaign cost £100million – and it was doomed at the outset. A complete waste of public money.

Yet the media, by and large, didn’t challenge it while it was being broadcast, and allowed its demise to pass unnoticed.

On the scale of the national budget £100m is a small item but imagine how, nonetheless, it could have been spent on hospitals, schools, youth facilities.

Here in Camden, just 0.5 per cent of the total would have brought hope and relief to those brave voluntary bodies struggling to help children in trouble for whom this newspaper has been recently campaigning.

This waste of public money is a repetition of many of the bright ideas Boris Johnson had while Mayor of London. Again, this attracted little scrutiny from the media.

Over the decades the media – dominated by billionaires Rupert Murdoch and the Barclay Brothers – has hardly changed course. But with the advent of Twitter and Facebook, the barely concealed agenda of the tabloids, in particular, has been thrown into relief, particularly as it competes – even if only through its online sites – with 24-hour TV news.

In the past few weeks, the pro-Boris Johnson wing of the media hardly let up on its Labour prey. Though there has been a lull in the past few days this will change from today (Thursday) when the general election finally gets under way.

The bias of the privately owned media will continue to be tipped heavily against Labour – and partly the Lib-Dems – but TV coverage, whose impartiality is, to a large extent, governed by electoral rules, will make up for the failures of the tabloids.

Whether Labour can repeat its success in the 2017 election remains to be seen. This time it will face fiercer competition from the Conservatives in social media. The election also falls in winter weeks when traditionally turnouts are low – and Labour, over the years, has done badly in low polls.

And hanging over the election will be the shadow of Brexit – however, much Labour will want to turn to other issues it will influence the election campaign.

But whatever happens we will be left with a biased, unreconstructed media – until this changes political discourse in the UK will remain shallow and distorted.

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