A Sky News reporter lectures a tenant facing eviction about the plight of landlords

Sky News reporter Jayne Secker interviewing campaigner Kirsty Archer.
Joshua Funnell

The government’s plan to revoke Section 21 and stop the easy eviction of tenants by landlords has received a cautious welcome.

But based on her recent performance, one person who’s less keen is Sky News presenter, and landlord, Jayne Secker. And Secker’s lecturing of a campaigner for secure tenancies again reveals the ingrained class bias of the British media.

Think of the poor landlords

Under the existing Section 21 Notice, landlords can give as little as eight weeks notice before eviction. This leaves tenants scant time to relocate, and raises the risk of homelessness.

But Secker had little sympathy for tenant campaigner, Kirsty Archer, in an interview for Sky News. Instead, she seemed more concerned about the suffering of landlords like her:

In the interview, Secker suggests the difficulties faced by evicted tenants are the same as those faced by landlords when tenants choose to move out. She then goes on to tell her own tales of life as a landlord.

Disbelief on social media

Many observers felt the interview exemplified a mainstream media totally out of touch with reality. As Owen Jones put it:

And journalist Ian Fraser noted Secker’s lack of compassion for tenants:

Others felt Secker showed a smug attitude throughout the interview:

A non-apology

Secker clearly felt the intense heat on social media after her performance. And she felt compelled to acknowledge the incident:

But she only admitted getting the “tone” wrong. She ignored her own major conflict of interest as a landlord.

Some felt Secker’s words were a classic example of a non-apology. BBC writer Sally Abbott was unsatisfied:

The campaigner shouts back

Archer had this to say about her experience:

And her call to “get more working class people presenting news shows next” hit the nail on the head.

This is about class, privilege, and their domination of the media

As Archer alluded to, the privileged classes dominate the British media. Faiza Shaheen of the thinktank Class commented:

Media bias towards the interests of property and wealth is a predictable consequence of privilege dominating media. Journalist Richard Hall described this previously in the Independent:

A 2016 government report on social mobility in the UK found that just 11 per cent of journalists come from working-class backgrounds, compared with 60 per cent of the population. The Sutton Trust found the same year that 51 per cent of the country’s leading journalists attended fee-charging schools, while only 7 per cent of the population did.

Until the media reflects all society and not just the comfortably off, don’t expect sympathy for tenants anytime soon.

Featured image via Twitter – Jon Stone

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