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Biased or balanced? Assessing BBC news and current affairs performance in covering the badger cull in England

journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2020, 10:04 by James StanyerJames Stanyer
This article represents the first systematic examination of BBC coverage of one of the most controversial rural issues in a generation, namely the culling of badgers (a protected species) to stop the spread of bovine TB in England. While the BBC has certain regulatory responsibilities set out in its guidelines to provide duly impartial coverage it has been regularly criticised for being biased. Little is known about the BBC’s performance other than what is suggested by critics, previous research having focused on press coverage. Based on an original content analysis of news, current affairs and factual output this article assesses the BBC’s coverage. It shows that while competing voices and perspectives were balanced its coverage was not that distinct from its commercial rivals, with both framing the issue as a conflict over badgers rather than about the spread of a disease affecting livestock and livelihoods, and both focusing on a narrow set of voices involved in the conflict.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Journal of Rural Studies

Volume

81

Pages

59-67

Publisher

Elsevier

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Elsevier

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Rural Studies and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.11.011

Acceptance date

18/11/2020

Publication date

2020-12-23

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0743-0167

Language

en

Depositor

Prof James Stanyer Deposit date: 14 December 2020