Three-quarters of newspaper stories about Jeremy Corbyn fail to accurately report his views, LSE study finds

Academics at LSE analysed months of newspaper articles about the Labour leader

Jon Stone
Sunday 17 July 2016 10:14 BST
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Reuters)

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Three-quarters of newspaper stories about Jeremy Corbyn in the first months of his leadership either distorted or failed to represent his actual views on subjects, a study has found.

Academics at the London School of Economics analysed the content of eight national newspapers between 1 September and 1 November 2015, when Mr Corbyn was first elected.

The media researchers found that in 52 per cent of articles about the Labour leader, his own views were not included – while in a further 22 per cent they were “present but taken out of context” or otherwise distorted.

In just 15 per cent of 812 articles analysed, Mr Corbyn’s views were present but challenged, and in only 11 per cent were they present without alteration.

“Our analysis shows that Corbyn was thoroughly delegitimised as a political actor from the moment he became a prominent candidate and even more so after he was elected as party leader,” Dr Bart Cammaerts, the project director concluded.

“These results relating to sources and ‘voice’ are evidently troublesome from a democratic perspective.

“Allowing an important and legitimate political actor, ie the leader of the main opposition party, to develop their own narrative and have a voice in the public space is paramount in a democracy.

“Denying such an important political actor a voice or distorting his views and ideas through the exercise of mediated power is highly problematic.”

Examples given by the researchers of distortions include one incident in which Mr Corbyn was presented as having criticised commemorations of the First World War in a 2013 speech.

The newspaper included in the study were The Sun, The Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, the Independent, the Daily Mirror and the Guardian.

In terms of tone, fewer than 10 per cent of articles were judged by the researchers to be positive, while more than half were antagonistic or critical. Around a third had a neutral tone.

28 per cent of articles analysed were based on anti-Corbyn Labour party sources, while 23 per cent were based on pro-Corbyn sources.

Mr Corbyn’s supporters have been highly critical of media coverage around the Labour leader, judging it to be overwhelmingly hostile.

Jeremy Corbyn proved that he will always refuse to play by the rules at Cameron's last PMQs

The Labour leader has himself also hit out at the media, banning journalists from asking him questions at the front door of his home.

“We have a party under attack from much of the media in this country like it has never been under attack before,” he said in May

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