Journalistic Framing: Revealing Alarmism and Centrist Coralling
Lets have a brief chat about journalistic framing and how it can reveal the many shades of bias within a news organisation.
Lets focus in particular on a single story from today: the Jeremy Corbyn proposal to consult with interested groups about potentially reintroducing womens-only train carriages for late night journeys.
This has been the source of much shoulder shrugging for all but those who seem determined to use it for political gain, namely Mr Corbyns rivals for the Labour leadership. Having failed to make the 'friend of terror' line stick they’ve moved on quickly to another lame duck: Jeremy Corbyn is pro-segregation.
All of this comes from a surprisingly co-ordinated selection of headlines, left and right, that have falsely suggested that this was a Mr Corbyn policy.
The evidence of this is at beyond speculative. The fact is that Mr Corbyn was discussing how this is part of a larger issue to be considered openly by all interested parties.
Heres the quotes:
"Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women only carriages.
"My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome."
In this analysis we have more material from which to quote, specifically from two 'leftist' news organs; one by declaration the other by accusation.
Lets start with the former, the Independent of course, and its coverage of this story so far;
Its front page headline: 'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment.
Now from the actual quotes from Mr Corbyn we already know this to be misleading, but trust me they were only getting warmed up.
Heres another headline from todays Independent: Jeremy Corbyn's women-only carriages idea is 'apartheid' says Labour MP Geraint Davies.
Open criticism from a fellow Labour MP? Gasp, surely there is some real controversy here ohwaitno Mr Davies has helpfully given us some 'clues' to the motivation behind his tweet IN his tweet:
"Apartheid for women on our trains no thanks @YvetteForLabour http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyn-could-introduce-women..."
Did you spot it? I think you did so we'll move on our focus back to the Independent (What, you thought I was going to talk about the Mirror?)
So what is the Independents angle? Andy Burnham of course! Centrist but reliable, not likely to rock the boat and happy to maintain the status quo.
In other words ideal as a toothless, easy to 'inform/bully' into doing what hes told career politician. Try to find anything positive to say about JC on the Independent, go on, I'll wait. Nothing? Really?
What you will notice amongst the deluge of alarmist quotes from former senior Labour mps and ministers is pro-Andy articles by the same lobby.
The Hilary Benn penned article is downright painful. Lamely regurgitating Burnhams campaign points with all the passion youd expect from a Blairite with no oil wars to start.
All this reveals that although the Independent are a Labour paper, they certainly arent genuinely a leftist one. That’s presumably due to that being something of a turn-off for companies that wish to advertise their products within the print publication itself.
Thats one bias down, whos next?
Ah, the BBC.
As an institution the BBC is frequently accused of betraying its supposed obligation to be politically impartial.
This is undeniable but contrary to the belief of those shouting from either side it does indeed 'cut both ways'.
The ‘beeb’ knows that its power will only wane under a government that wants to see more competition in its traditional domain and which continues to cut its funding. The inverse is also true. A satisfied Labour party will always look after its 'impartial comrade'. These two external positions leave it with an obvious temptation towards a Labour-bias, but only a centrist Labour.
As an example of how they treat leftist Labour lets take a look at the headline they ran for this non-story:
Jeremy Corbyn sparks women-only train carriage row.
A more subtle inference than the Independent but it still betrays the BBCs reluctance to cover any left wing political positions outside of the centrist spot lit circus of post-Blair Labour.
Ask yourself a few questions: why over the last three elections has the BBC has repeatedly failed to cover any of the smaller left parties and movements whilst at the same time as devoting seemingly endless time to covering right and far right-wing parties?
Is this because those parties are easier to demonise? They're easy targets? Or is it because the BBC continues to use its position to slyly drag the left back towards the centre to avoid a genuine challenge to the establishment?
Think about bias, left or right, and how colossal omnipresent media entities could be using it to undermine democracy.
Then show me how the BBC has used its journalistic prestige to dispel the homogeneity of the last 20 years of the left.
You cant, because they havent.
Maybe in two weeks they'll have to; thats when the real fun starts.
Heres the articles that Ive referenced/pilferred from: