POLITICS

Newspaper Hostility To Jeremy Corbyn Exposed In Audit Of Election Reporting

Editors more likely to attack Labour than support Tories.

19/05/2017 07:12 BST | Updated 19/05/2017 09:15 BST

The hostility Jeremy Corbyn faces from national newspapers has been laid bare by an analysis underlining the negative reaction from the print media to the Labour Party’s election offer.

An audit of the last week’s newspaper and broadcast election coverage by Loughborough University found that national newspapers with the largest circulations have been the most critical of the leader of the Opposition, his polices, and the party.

The graph below, produced by the university’s Centre for Research in Communication and Culture, and seen first by HuffPost UK, shows that of ten national newspapers studied, only two - the Guardian and the Mirror - featured more positive coverage than negative of the Labour Party.

Loughborough University

Loughborough’s analysis shows that while the Conservatives only enjoyed a small difference between levels of positive and negative press coverage, Labour’s negative coverage far exceeded its positive.

The Sun and the Express appeared to have relished attacking Labour more than anyone else. While the Daily Mail displayed similar levels of hostility to Labour, it has been more positive in their reporting of the Conservatives than others.

The Times, pitched as the UK’s newspaper of record, displayed a surplus amount of positive coverage for the Conservative Party compared to its negativity to Labour.

By contrast, positive and negative levels of coverage for the Conservatives have nearly cancelled each other out at the Sun and Daily Express.

While some may argue traditionally right- and left-leaning newspapers are doing what they always have, the anti-Labour stance is striking, particularly among newspapers that have been more sympathetic to ‘New Labour’.

There also appears to be a trend of newspapers being more likely to attack the parties they disapprove of than report positively on the parties they support, the university said.

The two graphs below underline how, based on the number of items reported and circulation, Labour is being outgunned in the media.

Loughborough University
Loughborough University

The report comes in the week of the launch of the party manifestos, but also as the Labour policy pledges were leaked early.

Many have noted how the front pages of the Daily Mail and Daily Express this week praised Theresa May for election pledges that were condemned when proposed by Labour in previous elections.

Manifesto week may reflect why, in the second official week of the election campaign, Jeremy Corbyn tops the list of most frequently reported political figures. Theresa May was out in front the previous week.

Loughborough University

A two-party “squeeze” continues to be evident during the campaign as the Tories and Labour have commanded 71 per cent of the appearances on TV, and 85 per cent of press coverage.

Loughborough notes this far exceeds their position at the same stage of the 2015 General Election, underling how the Liberal Democrats, SNP, UKIP and the Greens have been pushed the the margins. 

Loughborough University

Loughborough University analysed all election news found in the television programmes. For the press, it included election news found on the front page, the first two pages of the domestic news section, the first two pages of any specialist election section and the page containing and facing the papers’ leader editorials.

Television: Channel 4 News (7pm), Channel 5 News (6.30pm), BBC1 News at 10, ITV1 News at 10, Sky News 8-8.30pm.

Press: The Guardian, The I, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Financial Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Sun, The Star.