Friday debate: Is there a UK media bias?

EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
edited October 2014 in Commuting chat
I've been chatting with a friend who lives in Brighton, which has a Green Party MP, and we started talking about UKIP (which has no MPs) and the amount of press and TV coverage which UKIP get.

According to the latest polls the Greens and the LibDems are at about the same level but compared to UKIP and the LibDems, the Greens get virtually no media coverage.

So, is there a deliberate media bias in the UK to talk UKIP up, are the Greens just rubbish at publicising themselves?
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  • A bit of everything, I suspect.

    Greens have been around ages, their ideas aren't particularly novel or eye catching (no one really wants to hear about how the ice caps aren't actually growing as fast as they would be were it not for all that dreadful global warming that is causing the planet not to be destroyed at a slower rate than it otherwise be blah blah polar bears blah blah live in mud huts blah blah return to horses and carts and an agrarian economy blah blah), and so they aren't "news".

    UKIP are relatively new, they have some topical, eye-catching stuff (immigration, EU bashing), are threatening to take votes from both major parties (in small numbers, but the Greens can't really claim that). So they are "news".

    Oh, and Farage, loathsome 20p for the swearbox-on-a-stick that he is, knows what to say to get himself into the news. Do the Greens? Do they 20p for the swearbox. Who's the leader of the Greens? Anyone know? Still that MP from Brighton?

    In short: the Greens. Nobody knows and nobody cares. UKIP. They make themselves known and they appeal to base instincts, and they worry people.


    All that said, I would say that the BBC has left-leaning tendencies, if anything.
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  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,323
    The greens in Brighton have had plenty of coverage recently, mainly relating to them making anyone with a bike shed in front of their terraced house with no rear access remove it or face a fine.

    Or there is the £40k they spent on a bike counter on Preston Road that as never worked and never had a practical application as far as anyone can make out.

    The Greens of Brighton are a shambles and the last thing they need is the UK media turning it's spotlight on them.
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  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 1,948
    If Green candidates started making racist comments then i'm sure they'd start to get headlines.

    In the interest of openness, I voted Green in the last local elections.
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    So the Greens need to be more 'out there' in order to grab headlines and thus garner support? Seems pretty sad if that is the case.
    Where are all of the satirical comedies like the ones I grew up with? Where is the modern version of Spitting Image, or even Yes Minister. All I see on TV now is Britain (Hasn't) Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing. Mainstream TV seems very dumbed down at the moment and there are definite time slots for political programming, which I guess the general public turn off from as they (we) are fed up of seeing clones with different coloured ties spouting tweaked versions of the same policies.

    My Brightonian friend says the Greens do do some strange things but he believes their heart is in the right place and would vote for them again. "Its the first time they've been in power in Britain so there are bound to be teething problems" is his opinion.
    Perhaps a coalition between the Green Party and one of the big two is an idea, but after seeing how the LibDems lubed themselves up and bent over for the Tories, maybe its not a good one.
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  • EKE_38BPM wrote:
    My Brightonian friend says the Greens do do some strange things but he believes their heart is in the right place and would vote for them again. "Its the first time they've been in power in Britain so there are bound to be teething problems" is his opinion.
    Perhaps a coalition between the Green Party and one of the big two is an idea, but after seeing how the LibDems lubed themselves up and bent over for the Tories, maybe its not a good one.

    HAHAHA! Your mate is very forgiving! My somewhat jaundiced view is that if a party gets elected it ought to be expected not to 20p for the swearbox things up on the first attempt. Public office isn't a training academy, where you get to waste real people's real money with impunity and no consequences.

    I've just had a look at the Greens' mini manifesto. A succession of very expensive idealogical promises with not a hint as to how they would be paid for. I suspect the answer is huge taxation increases, esp on high earners and big businesses. So that's an attractive model for a capitalist western society. Oh, wait...
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  • A russian friend of mine refers to the BBC as "a government propaganda machine". I always disagreed with this until I saw some of the things they said in the run-up to the referendum.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 21,957 Lives Here
    Oh, and Farage, loathsome 20p for the swearbox-on-a-stick that he is, knows what to say to get himself into the news.
    This. UKIP 'policies' are pretty much lifted off the front pages of the Daily Fail which guarantees coverage. Populist issues aimed at the great unwashed without any thought process about the practicalities of making them workable.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 1,948
    A russian friend of mine refers to the BBC as "a government propaganda machine". I always disagreed with this until I saw some of the things they said in the run-up to the referendum.
    Except that the Tory's always claim the BBC is too left wing and the lefties always says that it's too right wing.

    I think sometimes it's just perception, as during the referendum coverage I thought they always gave more and more positive exposure to the Yes campaign.

    It's kind of funny though for a Russian to say that our media is a government propaganda machine....pot, kettle yada yada yoda.
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  • arran77arran77 Posts: 9,260
    veronese68 wrote:
    Oh, and Farage, loathsome 20p for the swearbox-on-a-stick that he is, knows what to say to get himself into the news.
    This. UKIP 'policies' are pretty much lifted off the front pages of the Daily Fail which guarantees coverage. Populist issues aimed at the great unwashed without any thought process about the practicalities of making them workable.

    Absolutely. Mr Farage knows what to say to get attention if nothing else. Just look at today's announcement that the 40 pence tax rate would be lowered to 35 pence for 'middle earners' whatever they are, it sounds very inviting and will get peoples attention but is it really thought through? I doubt it :wink:

    And Parliament being recalled for MP's to vote on going to war with IS, Mr Farage said that was done simply to take attention away from his conference speech at 3 o'clock this afternoon, clearly not true but again it got him in the media spotlight :lol:
    "Arran, you are like the Tony Benn of smut. You have never diluted your depravity and always stand by your beliefs. You have my respect sir and your wife my pity" :lol:

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  • elbowloh wrote:
    It's kind of funny though for a Russian to say that our media is a government propaganda machine....pot, kettle yada yada yoda.

    That's what I thought, but you should see some of the amazed expressions he pulls when you mention some of the things we had reported about the communist state. It's not all one-way traffic.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 1,948
    elbowloh wrote:
    It's kind of funny though for a Russian to say that our media is a government propaganda machine....pot, kettle yada yada yoda.

    That's what I thought, but you should see some of the amazed expressions he pulls when you mention some of the things we had reported about the communist state. It's not all one-way traffic.
    I think things were different during the cold war, but I'm pretty sure that right now our press is a damn site more independent than what exists in Russia.
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  • In short, yes there is a media bias, yes the bbc has totally lost it's way journalism wise (has been dumbed down like everything else) and yes the UKIP muppets should get the same amount of coverage as the Greens...or less even as they have zero MP's...and it would stay that way if it wasn't for the massive amount of coverage that the bbc among others gives them.
  • A case in point. I was listening to Radio 5 Live in the car, they were talking about possible action in Iraq against IS. John Pinar (I think) dropped the following into the conversation: "It's not like the last time, when 66% of the population of the UK were against military action in Iraq, and only 33% for, now there's been a complete turn-around and now it's 66% for and only 33% against."

    Really? Because perhaps it's because we've been distracted up here about the whole issue, but I'm pretty sure if I went and polled people, they'd pretty much all be roughly against us getting into another war. It really does sound a bit made up, and a little bit 1984.

    Now if you'll excuse me, there's a black helicopter just landing outside my office and I want to see what they're after.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 21,957 Lives Here
    A case in point. I was listening to Radio 5 Live in the car, they were talking about possible action in Iraq against IS. John Pinar (I think) dropped the following into the conversation: "It's not like the last time, when 66% of the population of the UK were against military action in Iraq, and only 33% for, now there's been a complete turn-around and now it's 66% for and only 33% against."

    Really? Because perhaps it's because we've been distracted up here about the whole issue, but I'm pretty sure if I went and polled people, they'd pretty much all be roughly against us getting into another war. It really does sound a bit made up, and a little bit 1984.

    Now if you'll excuse me, there's a black helicopter just landing outside my office and I want to see what they're after.
    Has UE just been carted off for questioning the legitimacy of a war in Iraq? FWIW I agree with him, right up to the point the helicopter arrives to take me away.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 15,136
    I'm not too bothered about bias, real or perceived. I manage to read a left wing newspaper without slavishly thinking everything it prints must be gospel. I do find BBC1 news painfully simplistic at times, though. I made the mistake of watching a bit of Question Time last night. IS and what to do about them inevitably came up (as it should given that the UK has supplied a number of their members). Some of the naive drivel being spouted by both panel and audience was downright disturbing. Along with the chorus "it's over there; why should we get involved", one speaker wheeled out the old "we're only getting involved because of the oil" - well it may be rather self-interested, but in case she hadn't noticed our whole way of life relies on supplies of oil. Seems to me that paying particular attention to conflicts that could disrupt that supply is one of the things a government should be doing.
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  • jamescojamesco Posts: 687
    I've just had a look at the Greens' mini manifesto. A succession of very expensive idealogical promises with not a hint as to how they would be paid for. I suspect the answer is huge taxation increases, esp on high earners and big businesses. So that's an attractive model for a capitalist western society. Oh, wait...
    Does this look like it would require "huge taxation increases"?
    • We will make walking and cycling safer - better for our health and the environment
    • Work to reduce petrol and diesel use.
    • Introduce a standard 20mph speed limit on residential roads to keep children and other vulnerable pedestrians safe.
    As a cyclist, or simply as someone who cares about the thousands who die on roads every year - let alone the thousands more killed by air pollution - what's there to disagree with?

    As a capitalist, you know all about the externalities of fossil fuels - are you happier to have your family members fall ill so that a minority can drive their Chelsea tractors?
    Greens have been around ages, their ideas aren't particularly novel or eye catching (no one really wants to hear about how the ice caps aren't actually growing as fast as they would be were it not for all that dreadful global warming that is causing the planet not to be destroyed at a slower rate than it otherwise be blah blah polar bears blah blah live in mud huts blah blah return to horses and carts and an agrarian economy blah blah), and so they aren't "news".
    :roll:
    Anthropogenic global warning is a fact and the consequences are dire. Preventing the worst of them will cost very little and save the economy from a huge amount of damage, not to mention the environment.

    "return to horses and carts"? Only if you want to. Solar arrays, wind-power, geothermal energy, energy-efficiency, nuclear fusion (not loved by the Greens, but many are coming around) and (maybe, eventually) fission are all going to play a role, and all of these are far cooler than digging a hole in the ground to let dead dinosaur ooze out.
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    So, is there a deliberate media bias in the UK to talk UKIP up, are the Greens just rubbish at publicising themselves?
    Media bias - bad behaviour makes for better headlines than earnestness - and the dreadful FPP electoral system in this country, which means parliamentary representation is only loosely correlated with votes, so smaller parties can be ignored.
  • leeefmleeefm Posts: 260
    jamesco wrote:
    ...nuclear fission (not loved by the Greens, but many are coming around) and (maybe, eventually) fusion are all going to play a role...

    Ah... cold fusion. The holy grail of the energy crisis!
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  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 9,732
    leeefm wrote:
    Ah... cold fusion. The holy grail of the energy crisis!
    "There is currently no accepted theoretical model which would allow cold fusion to occur."
    I am glad that is sorted then.
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  • jamescojamesco Posts: 687
    leeefm wrote:
    Ah... cold fusion. The holy grail of the energy crisis!
    LOL. Fair enough, I mixed them up, but you know what I meant. Anyhow, we're already generating energy from fusion and Greens love it :)
  • jamesco wrote:
    I've just had a look at the Greens' mini manifesto. A succession of very expensive idealogical promises with not a hint as to how they would be paid for. I suspect the answer is huge taxation increases, esp on high earners and big businesses. So that's an attractive model for a capitalist western society. Oh, wait...
    Does this look like it would require "huge taxation increases"?
    • We will make walking and cycling safer - better for our health and the environment
    • Work to reduce petrol and diesel use.
    • Introduce a standard 20mph speed limit on residential roads to keep children and other vulnerable pedestrians safe.
    As a cyclist, or simply as someone who cares about the thousands who die on roads every year - let alone the thousands more killed by air pollution - what's there to disagree with?

    As a capitalist, you know all about the externalities of fossil fuels - are you happier to have your family members fall ill so that a minority can drive their Chelsea tractors?
    Greens have been around ages, their ideas aren't particularly novel or eye catching (no one really wants to hear about how the ice caps aren't actually growing as fast as they would be were it not for all that dreadful global warming that is causing the planet not to be destroyed at a slower rate than it otherwise be blah blah polar bears blah blah live in mud huts blah blah return to horses and carts and an agrarian economy blah blah), and so they aren't "news".
    :roll:
    Anthropogenic global warning is a fact and the consequences are dire. Preventing the worst of them will cost very little and save the economy from a huge amount of damage, not to mention the environment.

    "return to horses and carts"? Only if you want to. Solar arrays, wind-power, geothermal energy, energy-efficiency, nuclear fusion (not loved by the Greens, but many are coming around) and (maybe, eventually) fission are all going to play a role, and all of these are far cooler than digging a hole in the ground to let dead dinosaur ooze out.
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    So, is there a deliberate media bias in the UK to talk UKIP up, are the Greens just rubbish at publicising themselves?
    Media bias - bad behaviour makes for better headlines than earnestness - and the dreadful FPP electoral system in this country, which means parliamentary representation is only loosely correlated with votes, so smaller parties can be ignored.

    Yeah, well apart from the bit in bold, that's all a load of old bollocks, isn't it?

    I'm off out for an unsafe walk. TTFN.
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  • The real trouble is that the Greens would base policies on scientific evidence rather than populism.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • The real trouble is that the Greens would base policies on scientific evidence rather than populism.

    Ah yes. Like banning GM foods.

    Those Greens should campaign in lab coats, they're that scientific.
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  • We seem to have gone astray from the original Q here, but on Radio 4 Farage said "no" to bombing far away places, and the Green MP also voted "no".

    Coincidence? I think not.
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 43,634 Lives Here
    There's a lot of BBC chat on this thread.

    Think a line needs to be drawn between BBC and the wider media.

    BBC has an inherent problem in that it's a state run broadcaster in a democracy. Media, by its very nature, is biased in some way or other. It can't be genuinely comprehensive within the confines on the format. So I think criticism of the BBC in that regard is a bit false.

    You can look at why it's biased toward a particular way, sure, but it's ultimately it's going to be biased. FWIW, I find it populist and over simplistic, so to my ears it sounds a bit right wing.

    More broadly I'd guess if you aggregated all of the media coverage of the UK you'd see it sit somewhere in the mildly right spectrum. I think that's the nation's default position. Even more so if you take into account reader/viewer/listenership.
  • FWIW, I don't think the BBC does a bad job. It's made up of real people, some of them pretty intelligent, who must themselves have opinions and views. I think the corporation doesn't do a bad job. Yes, I find myself thinking they're biased sometimes but, if I didn't, then I'd be sure they were.

    If I had a criticism (and this just betrays my own bias) I wish that they weren't required to take religion seriously.
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  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    I would say the BBC are state-funded, but they're not state run, are they? They don't report to the PM, they don't have to toe a party line, AFAIK anyway.
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  • IMO the biggest issue with BBC journalism is their somewhat simplistic approach to "balance".

    Say there is a story about the earth being essentially shperical. You'd have a scientist on, who'd explain that the world was spherical, and you'd have a member of the flat earth society explaining that there isn't a shred of evidence for this, plus you'd have a motoring journalist on who would say that they haven't really got a clue but they had been asked to be glib to keep things interesting, and the story would conclude with something like, "and the debate goes on".

    When you transfer this approach to politics, you end up being accused of some sort of bias because someone always gets more of a say than the general strength or popularity of their argument would otherwise merit.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 15,136
    IMO the biggest issue with BBC journalism is their somewhat simplistic approach to "balance".

    Say there is a story about the earth being essentially shperical. You'd have a scientist on, who'd explain that the world was spherical, and you'd have a member of the flat earth society explaining that there isn't a shred of evidence for this, plus you'd have a motoring journalist on who would say that they haven't really got a clue but they had been asked to be glib to keep things interesting, and the story would conclude with something like, "and the debate goes on".

    When you transfer this approach to politics, you end up being accused of some sort of bias because someone always gets more of a say than the general strength or popularity of their argument would otherwise merit.

    Nail on the head there. "Balance" ≠ just find someone (anyone) with a contrary view.
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  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 1,948
    You could argue that the BBC is one of the least biased news sources in the UK.

    Look at the papers and they are all pretty much all clearly affiliated with one party or another. No one would argue that the Guardian or the Mirror or left wing or that the Times, Telegraph, Mail, Express etc are right or centre right. Most of the papers "come out" in support of one party or t'other come general election time. The Independent is supposed to be neutral.

    Sky TV is often seen as to the right due to it's Murdoch connections and C4 is often seen as more liberal.

    However, the Beeb (as I posted earlier) is accused of being both leftie and right wing at various times. It obviously has some liberal views editorially, but is also fairly conservative (small c) in its output.

    Its strange that in the UK, the TV media tends to be quite neutral and the paper media is clearly party polarised, whereas in the US, its probably the other way round, with the likes of Fox and PBS.
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