The front pages of the today’s national newspapers show strong support for their preferred party in the General Election.
The Daily Mirror carried the headline “Lies, damned lies, and Theresa May” in support of the Labour Party while The Sun threw its hand in with the Tories with the headline “Don’t Chuck Britain in the Cor-bin”. No surprise in either case there.
Bending right wing, the Daily Mail ran a full front page saying “Let’s reignite British spirit” with a feature inside that enlightened readers about the Tories and Brexit. On Wednesday the newspaper ran 13 pages criticising Labour, and printed the headline “Apologists for terror”.
The Daily Express did not shy away from supporting the Conservatives either. Its front page read “Vote for May Today”. The Daily Telegraph carried a story by the Prime Minister that asked Labour supporters to vote for Tories and the headline “Your Country Needs You”.
The Daily Mirror and The Guardian supported Labour while the Daily Telegraph, Time and the Financial Times endorsed the Conservatives. The Economist supported the Liberal Democrats.
The Daily Mirror ran a column written by Corbyn with the heading “Corbyn: We will do something very special. We will win tomorrow… for the many not the few”. The Guardian favoured Labour by mentioning May’s decision to dismantle human rights laws in the wake of terror attacks on its front page.
City Global News went through three reports published by Loughborough University analysing media coverage of the election and found out that the newspapers have highlighted the negative issues of the parties they disapprove of rather than reporting about positive issues connected to the parties they support.
“The Sun and the Daily Express have particularly emphasised attacking Labour. Their positive coverage of the Conservatives is lower than for other traditionally Conservative supporting newspapers. The Daily Mail has been similarly hostile to Labour but has been more positive in its reporting of the Conservatives. The surplus of positive coverage in The Times for the Conservative party exceeds the amount of negativity to Labour. The Financial Times, which has supported Labour in previous elections, shows higher levels of negative reporting of the party than other quality newspapers.”
In the first week of the election campaign, print media leaned to right in its coverage. The Conservative Party got 17 per cent more headlines than Labour in the first week of the election while other small parties remained absent according to the first report by the university. In the second week the Labour party dominated the press media.
The Scottish National Party and UK Independence Party lost the maximum coverage as compared to their media exposure in 2015. Phillip May, the Prime Minister’s husband, was the fifth most reported person after his appearance on BBC’s One Show. The Labour Party’s traditional issues of health and education were marginalised by Brexit talks according to the report.
Eminent journalists feel this has been more like an anti-Corbyn election.
Prof Roy Greenslade argued in The Guardian that the editors have changed their tack. He said: “In place of their editors’ initial pro-May editorialising there has been a surfeit of anti-Corbyn material, clearly aimed at persuading readers to avert their gaze from a beleaguered prime minister and imbibe the negative stuff about Labour’s lacklustre leader instead.”
Des Freedman and Justin Schlosberg wrote in The New Statesman: “It is true that coverage of the current general election is superficially ‘impartial’ in the sense that, at least on TV, equal time is being devoted to both of the main parties. But this says nothing about the tone of the coverage, the questions posed, the issues ignored and the ‘Corbyn is not a viable candidate’ meme endlessly repeated.