Jeremy Corbyn’s Policies More Popular Than The Tories’

There have been repeated studies suggesting the media is biased against Corbyn, with the London School of Economics finding that 75% of press articles in one month “failed to accurately report his views”.

Media commentator and Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade agreed that Labour’s policies under Corbyn had not been reported in detail, but he told HuffPost UK it was unfair to blame media outlets.

“Overall I would say that Labour’s policies – if they exist, and I’m being cynical already – have not been covered in any depth,” he said.

“That’s because, I think, firstly, [you have] a new leader who was very sketchy himself on policy.

“He came in with a different approach which was ‘We need a change of culture, we need to think more deeply about this and that.’ But there weren’t – and aren’t – firm policy proposals.” 

“In fairness, that would be the situation for any opposition party after an election with a new leader. It takes time to create policies, so in some ways it would be unfair to blame the media in those circumstances.”

Greenslade said the contradictory poll results were “typical” of the different context in which people engage with politics.

“If you go into a street and ask people whether they want to pay more tax, they say no, but if you ask them if they think there should be extra public spending, they say yes. You can’t have both, and these are contradictions are embedded in our culture and society, and don’t reflect wider media coverage, nor indeed do the they reflect an understanding of what the parties stand for most of the time.”

Jonathan Hewett, Director of Interactive and Newspaper Journalism at City, University of London, said research has shown bias towards Corbyn in the media, “which is unsurprising in the case of some newspapers.”

“But other factors probably also underlie the apparent ‘disconnect’ between support for policies and for political parties – it’s not simply down to how journalists report on policy,” he added.

“Support for political parties is linked to how voters perceive party leaders, for example, including their credibility and competence – it’s not just about policies.

“In any case, what proportion of the public is sufficiently familiar with parties’ policies to be able to evaluate them effectively?

“This is probably reflected in the relatively high level of ‘don’t know’ responses in the survey ― between 35% and 39% for the three areas covered ― when people were asked which party had the best policies.

“At its best, journalism plays its part by questioning those who have power or influence, looking beyond headlines and spin – and getting into the nitty-gritty of policy proposals from all of the main parties (and sometimes from others, too). That applies to Conservative policy on Brexit, Labour policy on immigration, Lib Dem policy on security, SNP policy on education, and so on.

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