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From bad to worse? The media and the 2019 election campaign

journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2020, 08:02 by Dominic WringDominic Wring, Stephen Ward
From Twitter to the BBC, media platforms were perceived as having had ‘a bad election’. The story of the 2019 media campaign focussed primarily on the negative. There were continual claims of misinformation and deliberate disinformation spread via social media and amplified by the so-called mainstream news. Accusations of bias were widespread and not just aimed at the highly partisan newspaper sector. Public service broadcasters were repeatedly accused of inaccurate and biased coverage by both main parties. In the case of social media platforms, they were criticised for polluting debate, heightening polarisation and generally responsible for sustaining high levels of incivility (and even abuse) in politics. The parties themselves were also accused of exploiting the supposedly toxic atmosphere by avoiding scrutiny, refusing to engage with difficult events, or by flooding the campaign with a barrage of dubious claims. Ultimately, the media stood accused of failing in the fundamental task of holding parties to account through properly scrutinising politicians' claims. Although none of this is new, 2019 might have set a new low and potentially accelerated the further erosion of trust in political information or discussion. Yet, how far any of this cut through to the average voter remains open to question. After months of endless Brexit coverage, the sense of wanting it to all to end was perhaps the overriding concern in the 2019 election. This piece reconsiders these issues. First, it analyses the way the media attempted to frame the campaign and particularly the newspaper hostility towards Corbyn’s Labour. Secondly, it examines how rival parties, with an increased capacity to bypass established media, attempted to manufacture attention or distract voters, and what impact this had on the style and tone of the campaign.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Parliamentary Affairs

Volume

73

Issue

Supplement 1

Pages

272–287

Publisher

Oxford University Press on behalf of the Hansard Society

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The authors

Publisher statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Parliamentary Affairs following peer review. The version of record Dominic Wring, Stephen Ward, From Bad to Worse? The Media and the 2019 Election Campaign, Parliamentary Affairs, Volume 73, Issue Supplement_1, September 2020, Pages 272–287, is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/pa/article/73/Supplement_1/272/5910280#207673068 and https://doi.org/10.1093/pa/gsaa033.

Acceptance date

28/05/2020

Publication date

2020-09-23

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0031-2290

eISSN

1460-2482

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Dominic Wring. Deposit date: 29 May 2020

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