Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of TheSprout. We are a platform for young people in Cardiff to share their views, news, and opinions.
If you have any general knowledge about the UK and the politics of newspapers, you would be aware that the majority of print media in Britain swings to the right of the political spectrum. What does this mean? The most read newspapers in the UK – The Sun, The Daily Mail etc. are known tabloids, printing a plethora of gossip, barely intellectual news that is sensationalism taken to a new extreme. They are notorious for this and have been for many years. The question here is: why are these newspapers so right leaning?
80% of print media in UK circulation is owned by the same 5 billionaires:
- Richard Desmond – owner of the Express Newspapers, The Daily Star and founder of company Northern & Shell, the publisher of celebrity magazines such as OK! and New!
- Jonathan Harmsworth – chairman of DMG Media, closely associated with The Daily Mail
- Rupert Murdoch – owner of The Sun, The Times (through News UK Corp.) and former owner of News Of The World
- David Barclay and Fred Barclay – owners of The Telegraph, The Spectator and The Business
The influence of the above individuals is outstanding in size. They control the majority of the public perception on politics, hence the increasing anger from liberals over recent years in realisation that often they spread false facts as well as paint genuine politicians in a bad light. For example, take former Labour leader Ed Miliband. Although popular with the people and trade unions, he was continually slandered by tabloids, presenting him as a “dork” or as an incompetent politician with no hope at winning the 2015 general election. Consequently, Miliband did indeed lose the election to David Cameron, with the Conservative Party coming into power once again.
The reason for all of this? One of the most prevalent policies of the Conservative Party is keeping taxes low – in particular for the rich. The Tories have gained a negative public perception for helping those in the richest 5% bracket of the population, while the rest struggle. Whether or not this is true is a matter of political opinion. Recently, this has presented itself through the issue of tax avoidance. Many companies are registered abroad, therefore are not obligated to pay UK tax. This keeps their income high as the cash rolls in, utilising loop holes in UK legislature in order to up their wealth, despite arguably possessing more than they need. Hence – they back the Tories.
The Labour Party are strong supporters of the taxation of the ultra rich, so these businessmen would no longer be able to slide on by with tax avoidance. A prime example is the Rothermere family, where Jonathan Harmsworth inherited The Daily Mail through a trust registered in Jersey, in addition to another offshore registration in Bermuda. He has used the status of being a non-dom to gain tax concessions on the grounds that his father was born in Paris, a fact that he eventually admitted.
Photo Credit: Jack (Correspondent)
Recently, I came across an article leaking in lies and libel about current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The tabloid papers have not been kind to Corbyn since his ascension as leader of the Labour Party, but nor were they kind to any potential leader of left wing parties. In this article, The Sun claimed that Corbyn refused to condemn the terrorist organisation IRA, despite him doing so during an interview with the Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, where Corbyn was explicitly asked:
“Should the IRA’s acts of murder be condemned unequivocally”?
To which he replied with a clear yes. However, the spread of blatant propaganda does not stop there. The article contained eyebrow raising hypocrisy; it refused to mention the existence of Maria Gatland, a former Council Cabinet member for Education, now Conservative councillor for Croydon, London. Why former, you may ask? In December 2008, she resigned after being exposed as a former member of the Irish Republican Army during the 1970s. This baffles me. How could The Sun print such ill informed slander, yet “forget” to mention how the Conservative Party actually had a former IRA member representing them?
Hereby, this brings me back to the title of my piece. An Epidemic of Propaganda. This is not an isolated incident. They are daily and exhausting, with local corner shops being like the rats spreading the disease of black death of defamation and malicious gossip.
However – it remains important to recognise that media propaganda exists on each end of the political scale. Left-wing bias media has manifested itself in newspapers such as The Guardian and The Observer. The Independent are arguably centrist, yet visibly swing more to the left than right. These newspapers write from the points of view of the readers, as does The Sun and The Daily Mail. Yet, there is a difference between writing to appeal to a target audience and calumny, used much too often by the right-wing media. Again, although both sides practice such cheap tricks in order to defame candidates and parties, it would be a fallacy to not recognise its widespread presence is mostly concentrated in rightist papers.
My message? I urge you all to scrutinise each and every article you read, from both the left-wing and the right-wing. Few current media sources in the UK are truly unbiased, so in order to bypass this issue, look at both sides of the argument. Be wary of lies in tabloids, remain vigilant and peruse at your own risk. Do not fall for political correctness and make your own judgements.
Do not let this epidemic of propaganda consume you, I beg.
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