Tag Archives: media

No, Newsnight, it’s not ok to talk about us when we aren’t there to defend ourselves

We had some absolutely cracking press coverage this Conference.

In her speech yesterday, Sal Brinton read out a newspaper editorial which said lots of nice things about us:

This Sunday, one paper’s editorial headline was ‘Lib Dems’ revival is a blow to sorry Labour’,

and it then went on to say:

‘fair play to the Lib Dems.

under Leader Tim Farron the party has risen from the ashes of electoral oblivion to reposition itself as the only effective opposition…

The Lib Dems have not only capitalised on the fallout from the EU Referendum but also the disintegration of the Labour Party…

They are speaking up for ordinary voters on issues that really matter, such as the NHS and education.’

The Observer on Polly Toynbee’s day off?

The Independent?

No, this, my friends, is the Sunday Express!

I’m delighted that Tim is at last getting the recognition that he deserves, and I suspect that phrase ‘the only effective opposition’ might appear in a few leaflets and tabloids over the next few months.

Tim got loads of coverage, from Buzzfeed to the Guardian to the Standard in the run-up to Conference, and there has been positive coverage of his speech yesterday, too. George Eaton in the New Statesman says:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

How media reports can fuel hate crime

First of all, i would like to say my thoughts go out to the family and friends of Darlene Horton, the woman who lost her life and those who were injured in the horrific knife attack in Russell Square on Wednesday night.

BBC News reports:

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was killed and five injured in a knife attack in Russell Square, central London.

A 19-year-old man was arrested at 22:39 after a Taser was discharged by an officer. The Met said mental health was a “significant factor” in events.

Metropolitan Police Service say Mental Health played a significant part in this incident.  Nowhere do they say that it was terror related, yet the editors  at The Sun never fail to amaze us with the headline – “RUSSELL SQUARE BLOODBATH Woman in her 60s knifed to death and five injured in possible terror attack in central London as man, 19, is tasered”

The story should read – Man murders one and wounds others in Russell Square Knife attack.

I am all for free press when reported correctly, but after the vote for Brexit, the country needs to heal and come together, The Sun continue to spread hate and divisive headlines which injects more panic and fear into our society.

The Liberal Democrats need to tackle this and make a stand against this right wing media coverage, which some  people I know are starting to believe. I see them quoting stuff from the sun as though it is fact and it is deeply worrying.

This creates further hate and only exacerbates hate crime in the long run. When can the Sun be held accountable for these outrageous headlines they keep printing?

Posted in News | 21 Comments

Liberal Democrats are being excluded from referendum debate – don’t put up with this

We Liberal Democrats are used to not getting our fair share of media attention. Since last year’s general election, that has got even worse. However, we still aren’t getting anything like the coverage we should have based on our size.

Research carried out by the University of Loughborough during the EU referendum campaign shows that we are only being included in 1% of both press and broadcast media. Mind you, the official opposition doesn’t fare that much better, although that has definitely changed in the last few days.

Coverage by party during EU Ref


If you were thinking that there was a gross over-representation of right wing men, the study confirms your instincts.

The debate is highly presidential in character, focussing on key individuals. The top six individuals are all right-of-centre and are all men. Despite concern expressed by left-of-centre and female politicians about media coverage it’s still largely a ‘Tory story’ and a male dominated, ‘blue-on-blue’ tale at that.

So who are the main media performers?

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Three ways our democracy is being undermined

The articles that have appeared after the BBC’s referendum debate in Glasgow have given a lot of prominence to that one man who blamed the state of political discourse for his confusion as to how to vote.

This was too interesting not to comment on.

The audience was divided into leavers, remainers, and undecideds.

Leave and Remain both have their own ‘Project Fear’. Leavers tout a cultural crisis in the form of mass migration. Remainers raise the spectre of economic catastrophe.

Fear Projects, whereever they come from, are a concerted attempt to sway the public with threats dangerous enough to repeat frequently in scarce media time.

On the face of it my generation ought to be the most engaged generation there has ever been. Social media has turned every one of us into campaigners and journalists: we auto-report our lives and volunteer our opinions publicly. We are also happy to parrot or share anything we agree with.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Yet another headline writer trivialises violence against women

I’m very conscious of the way the media trivialises men’s violence against women. Often a false narrative is constructed to somehow give the impression that the abuser had some sort of excuse for their behaviour.

A story in today’s Metro, or more specifically its headline is a good example of terrible practice.

Let’s look at what the man in question actually did to his girlfriend:

Anwaar was open to fits of rage. In one incident she fell unconscious when he throttled her after smashing up her iPhone, slapping and kicking her.

He also attacked her in front of her sons and on two or three occasions slapped her around the back of the head.

Prosecutor Nicola Quinney said Anwaar had held a knife to Miss Doherty’s throat, asking her if she wanted him to kill her, and saying he wasn’t scared of a life sentence. During the attack, Miss Doherty’s son Ethan, three, was hiding under the bed.

So that’s a pretty serious series of violent incidents that fully deserved a decent jail term.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Nothing of public interest in lurid headlines about SNP MPs

Pick up any newspaper today, particularly the Scottish ones, and you’ll find a whole load of froth about two SNP MPs who have apparently had relationships, not at the same time, with the same woman. Both MPs have separated from their wives, most recently Deputy Leader Stewart Hosie from Scottish Health Minister Shona Robison at the weekend.

Those events will be particularly traumatic for the people involved and most especially for their children. I can’t however, see why it is any of our business. If either of them had shown hypocrisy and sought to curb others’ personal freedom, then perhaps calling them out for that would be relevant. Where is the public interest in this?

Much of the reporting is sensationalised and, more importantly, misogynistic on all sorts of levels. The woman concerned is cast as the “home wrecker” and extensive scrutiny is made of her blogs she has written which are simply not relevant. Nor is it appropriate to compare with the SNP MPs who have had to resign the whip and sit as independents. They have had to do because of various allegations of financial misconduct which are being investigated, not their personal lives

We really don’t need to know all of this stuff, and I wish editors would think about the effects of their articles on everyone affected. It’s hard enough for kids to come to terms with parents’ separation without their schoolmates hearing all sorts of lurid, unverifiable speculation. Maybe people who buy these papers and enjoy reading these stories should ask themselves how they would feel if it was their child going through it. We need to remember that behind each wild headline are lots of people having a really hard time. Our demand for such coverage makes their lives worse and it’s not necessary.

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Nicola Sturgeon faces similar press trashing to Clegg in 2010 – but with added misogyny

I might have some fairly fundamental disagreements with Nicola Sturgeon on the best future for Scotland, but I have a great deal of time for her as a human being and as a politician. She is a much cleverer tactician than Alex Salmond ever was. I am perfectly happy to argue with people on their political outlook, but I’m not struck on the sort of nasty personal mudslinging that we see at PMQs, or in Labour’s deeply misleading personal attack on Nick Clegg last year and I sure as hell am not going to make up my mind how to vote based on how someone eats a bacon sandwich. Nor, I suspect, are the rest of the population.

It appears that after her very good performance in Thursday’s Leaders’ Debate that Nicola Sturgeon is, highly predictably, being done over by the right wing press in much the same way that Nick Clegg was in 2010. Remember Nick Barlow’s wonderful way of dealing with that – the #nickcleggsfault meme on Twitter where Clegg was blamed from everything to the weather to the cat being sick?

Of course, Nicola is getting much different treatment to a man. Her clothes come in to it. The Daily Fail describes her as a “glamorous power-dressing imperatrix.” Wow. A woman goes out wearing smart clothes. How remarkable. Of course, if she rocked up for FMQs in Parliament in her jeans, they’d have something to say about that, too. On appearance, women really can’t win.

The Telegraph’s splash is a bit different. Last night, when I read their account that she’d told the French ambassador that she’d prefer David Cameron to be Prime Minister, it didn’t seem right to me. Apart from anything else, the Nicola Sturgeon I know has more sense than to be so indiscreet. The paper bases its story on a memo written by a UK Government official who wasn’t even at the meeting in question and who actually doubts its veracity. It’s all very third hand and clearly questionable.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael BG 22nd Oct - 3:51pm
    @ J Dunn Your comparison of the EU with the USA was faulty. In 1860 southern Democrats thought that the USA was a union of...
  • User AvatarRichard Easter 22nd Oct - 2:48pm
    ISDS or any version of it is immoral and treason anyway. No loss if this wretched corporate anti-democratic deal is binned.
  • User AvatarJ Dunn 22nd Oct - 2:32pm
    This is a repost into a more appropriate category for the subject.? -------------- Wallonia, is a master-class, in proving exactly why the Leavers have been...
  • User Avatarsally haynes-preece 22nd Oct - 2:24pm
    While the Witney result is pleasing, it is not an indication of anything major for the party.I am old enough to have seen more by-...
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    Some of the comments dont seem to get what The Libdems are for. We are Reformists, if we see something wrong, we want to change...
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    Let us strike a deal with Canada and the US separately. The EU will not be able to strike a deal even to save themselves...