Nearly the entire mainstream media has covered for Theresa May after her party U-turned on its campaign relaunch on 26 May. Only The Independent covered the major climb down, suggesting Labour’s surge to 38% in the polls was the reason behind it. Although the Conservatives declined to say why they pulled out.
All parties, other than UKIP, had postponed their campaign for three days with respect to the Manchester bombing.
But then Brexit Secretary David Davis suddenly pulled out of the Tory relaunch in central London on 26 May, just as news of Labour’s polling came out. Labour’s surge means the party is now polling higher than the winning majority vote shares of both Tony Blair in 2005 and David Cameron in 2015. Corbyn’s Labour appears to be closing in on the Tory Party, which now leads by only five points.
Naked double standards
The media covered for the Conservatives but does not grant anywhere near the same leniency with Labour. When Corbyn pulled out of a poster launch after the Labour manifesto was leaked, the corporate press attacked him mercilessly:
The double standard is not a one-off, but indicative of the media’s entire general election reporting. An investigation into the media’s current election coverage laid bare how hostile newspaper barons are to Labour. The following graph, looking at data from the second week of the election, shows the extent of negative coverage these billionaires bring to Labour:
As the graphic shows, the press is overwhelmingly anti-Labour. So it’s no wonder the press has covered for the Conservatives after the party backed out of its campaign relaunch.
But as Labour continues to surge, it appears the media agenda is falling flat. Even senior Tories have admitted [paywall] Corbyn has run an “effective” campaign, while a Tory MP branded [paywall] May’s dementia tax U-turn “excruciating”.
Only a groundswell of conversations and campaigning from ordinary people can continue Labour’s momentum until 8 June. Because, as the failure to cover the Conservatives’ campaign U-turn indicates, the media is working to suppress that momentum. But if ordinary people can circumvent such bias, the Tories may rue the day they called the election.
– Get out there and vote on 8 June.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
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