Left-Wing Groups Massively Over-Represented in Media Landscape: Study

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Analysis by a media monitoring body has found that leftist groups which advocate for higher public spending appear more often in the media that right-wing groups that support less spending of taxpayers’ money.

The research conducted for one week in August and commissioned by Westminster-focussed news website Guido Fawkes found that statist organisations — such as think tanks, campaign groups, and charities — are mentioned six times more frequently in the British media that their free-market counterparts.

“In absolute terms, groups which advocate lower government spending receive less media attention than those which advocate greater government spending,” the report, published on Tuesday, said.

The study found that groups backing less public spending comprised of fewer than one-in-ten (three) of all groups receiving media attention, while organisations backing greater public spending were around half (18) of the total (44). Statist groups had reportedly received around 40 times more funding than free-market groups.

Some of the leftist groups whose views were given airtime include Extinction Rebellion, the socialist Fabian Society, Greenpeace, and the race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust, the later whose first director was Marxist scholar Dipak Nandy, the father of Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy.

While this report examines the media landscape entire, other studies have pointed to bias in the BBC specifically. In 2018, think tank Civitas found that the BBC had suppressed Eurosceptic voices on its flagship current affairs radio programme, Today, in the decade to 2015. The report had revealed that of the 4,275 guests discussing EU matters only 132 —  3.2 per cent — backed leaving the bloc.

Analysis in 2017 by news monitoring group News-Watch found that in the crucial week in which the UK triggered Article 50 — the legal mechanism for leaving the EU — the Today programme was “strongly biased against Brexit”.

The liberal-progressive broadcaster has been otherwise accused of bias, with a poll published in December showed that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of Britons thought that the BBC was biased. Leading up to the general election, most Britons (48 per cent) responded in a poll that they did not trust BBC journalists to tell the truth, with one-in-five saying they did not trust the broadcaster “at all”.

Questions of impartiality are weighing upon the debate of the BBC’s future, with the government considering de-criminalising non-payment of the licence fee. Factions within Number 10, led by the prime minister’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings, want to see the licence fee scrapped. Former minister Robert Halfon has said that the fate of the broadcaster should be handed back to the people in a referendum.

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