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Labour Leadership race: Media bias reflected in rally coverage?

OffG Editor


This weekend both Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith have been touring the north of England. Smith has been speaking in Liverpool, whilst Corbyn gave talks in Hull and Leeds.

What no one seems to be talking about is the differing sizes of these rallies. Rather like their respective campaign launches – where Corbyn filled a 2000 seat theatre to capacity whilst Smith spoke to around a tenth of that number – the challenger seems to be struggling to even get people to turn up to hear him speak, let alone vote for him.

At a sunny outdoor event in Liverpool, the promise of free ice-cream scared up only 200-300 people (and some people have reported it was less than half of that). Meanwhile, Corbyn held a rally of over 1000 people in York, spoke to 3000 people in Hull (the largest political gathering in the city for 20 years), and then 2000 more in Leeds a theatre, as well as going outside to speak to the queue of 1000 people who could not get seats.

None of this is news of course, that Corbyn has far more popular support than Smith is widely known, what’s interesting is that none of the MSM are mentioning it. You have to ask yourself, if Corbyn were attracting crowds less than 1/10th the size of Smith’s…would that not make a headline in The Times, The Guardian or The Telegraph? If Smith had filled a theatre to capacity and then got out to speak to the waiting queues…don’t you think the BBC would mention it?

It’s interesting that none of the of mainstream media have reprinted or recorded any Corbyn’s speeches at these rallies, or reported on them at all except for brief mentions well after the fact. Recent studies at both London School of Economics and Birkbeck College, London have found very strong anti-Corbyn bias in the media.


  1. Peter Grimsditch says

    The Guardian people seem to be following Off-Guardian — a report a couple of days ago focused on the number of people in Corbyn’s audience

    • chris owen says

      I am yours now! I cancelled my online subscription following the clear bias that theG has delivered over the past 6 months. I don’t need them to just print what I believe but I do expect them t be balanced!

  2. Michael Scott says

    What it all really means is that the Labour Party still has its heart in the right place.

  3. Was it not David Ike who said that the media were merely ‘Repeaters’ with regards to political commentary. Repeating the lines that the neo-liberal community give them and nothing more than that is news.

  4. John says

    It is being asked, “Why do all the mass media have a common line?”
    The answer is very simple.
    The owners of those commercial mass media have common interests.
    Their interests are power, money and influence.
    Anyone or anything they perceive as threatening their interests will get largely the same treatment from them all.
    This is cabal capitalism operating at its most basic level.
    Threaten their profits and power – and there is nothing they will not do to undermine you.
    This is why it is essential to develop alternative and truly independent media.
    This new media is beginning to emerge – take offGuardian as an example.
    Gradually – perhaps too gradually – people are becoming better informed and more knowledgeable.
    Eventually the grip of the mass media on mass consciousness will become eroded.
    Until this occurs on a mass scale, people like Corbyn and organisations like the Labour Party must devise their own alternative communications and media strategy to directly reach out and influence the mass electorate.

    • Ian says

      You’d think the establishment would take notice of what people are saying on social media …….don’t forget that “The Arab Spring” was begun on Facebook and Twitter!

      • I think the “Arab Spring” was begun in a Washington focus group as a faux grass roots movement designed to sell imperial regime change as popular revolution

        • chris owen says

          …but after wiki leaks spread real info about the dictators – boy did it go badly for the US in Egypt.

  5. Duncan Brown says

    They don’t need orders. They all have went through the same sociology/political/economic courses at Oxbridge in which they learn that neo-liberalism is the only way and that anyone who disagrees is a “trot” who will grow out of it.
    In any case, any journalist who consistently writes articles that their editor spikes will soon be out of a job. Journalists write what their boss wants them to write. They really don’t have an option.
    The multi billionaires who own these rags recruit editors that reflect their views. So you get Desmond, who gave £1 million to UKIP before the GE, also owns the filthy racist rags the Daily Express and Channel 5. although to be accurate the Express attacks immigrants while Channel 5 attacks unemployed workers.

  6. Guest says

    You raise a point I always ask when I go from paper to paper – why are the stories all the same? .
    It is clear they are given the same line to take – anti Corbyn, anti Russia and Putin. Anti Assad, pro – Clinton, but not by who.
    The Guardian, The Times and the Tekegrapg, bbc and Sky – despite different owners all take the same line.

    • chris owen says

      I had a friend who worked in the Times during the 70’s and we asked him if he got ‘told’ what to write and he said “Absolutely not! No editor or head of news or anything would ever tell a journalist what to write. As a young journalist you note how your piece is edited and learn from that what you should be writing. If you don’t learn – and quick – you don’t last long!

      • No of course they are not told what to write. That would violate the principal of the ‘freedom of the press’.
        They merely get sacked for not fitting in.

  7. You fail to mention the 1500 who marched in Newcastle in support of Corbyn and he wasn’t e en there!

    • elaine says

      I was at the newcastle rally. 1,400 people turned out to protest peacefully and as you say corbyn was not even there.

  8. rtj1211 says

    Well, I guess a media that disregards the fact that Vladimir Putin is very popular with the Russian people at large but constantly claims that he is so full of imperialistic ardour that he is about to invade the Baltic States won’t have too many problems reporting in a biased way.

    Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is who is giving the orders to all the Press to report in the same manner? It can’t be a Labour MP, it has to be someone infinitely more powerful. The DT won’t need instructions, they just report lies anyway. The Times will have been instructed by Murdoch.

    The really interesting question is who is ordering Katharine Viner to do so at the Guardian??

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole