Posted by: maryportagainstracism | March 24, 2008

Media bias?

The far right are always complaining that the media are biased against them, so we’ve decided to look at how the local paper, the Times and Star, actually does report minority parties to see if this is just racists whining about how everything is unfair or if they have a point.

 At the moment in Cumbria, and in the rest of Britain, the BNP exist as a minor political party as does the Green Party, though the Green Party is significantly larger and more popular. Let’s compare how the two are covered in the local press.

As a member of Maryport Against Racism and the Green Party it is evident that the Times and Star is biased when it comes to coverage of minority political parties.

The Borough Council elections last year brought it all to a head. Some of the coverage in the run-up to the election ignored election rules and failed to mention one of the candidate in Ellen Ward. This candidate just happened to be my Green Party colleague.

There’s a dilemma there – do you complain, or do you just grin and bear it because complaining just alienates the newspaper editor further? Is the lack of coverage a price we have to pay so the BNP gets no coverage either? In that case it might be a price worth paying.

Who got coverage?

But no, the BNP got good pre-election coverage in the wards where it stood, the election reporting itself showed pictures of the BNP candidates and supporters, and a quote from their spokesperson.

In contrast, there was no mention of the Green Party except in the table of election results, and that despite the fact that I got over 30% of the votes in the ward where I stood (against the man who became Leader of the Council) and we had one other candidate. The reporters present at the count thought both our standing and my result was newsworthy and promised to phone me for a comment but somehow coverage of the Green Party was edited out.

In the event we complained about biased coverage, and requesting fair and equal coverage in the future and received a letter from the editor, claiming it was accidental and would be avoided in the future.

What happened next

When Nigel Williamson BNP was co-opted onto Broughton Moor Parish Council (in line with BNP strategy to get on to Parish Councils where there were seats that had not be filled) he made headline news on the front page with a picture and was called a “patriot”.

 When I was co-opted onto Gilcrux Parish Council I got two lines in the Parish Council report.

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Responses

  1. It really is a nonsense. The BNP are simply a very vocal minority. Had the situation been reversed and it was their candidate that had been ‘snubbed’ they would have followed their usual strategy of crying foul and decrying the media as being in the hands of fascists.

    But then they are such a tiny minority party that they really don’t deserve the abnormally high level of media coverage they do recieve.

  2. […] news day We’ve mentioned before about media bias and the BNP. On reflection perhaps a better term would have been ‘media […]


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