A recent survey by the New Statesman into coverage of the EU referendum campaign showed that 71.2% of sources were from the Conservative Party.

Right across the media, the way the story was covered was as a struggle between rival factions of the government.

The actual issues were deemed secondary to this.

Now you know why the whole tone of the reporting was so misleading.

It involved the loudest voices in the Tory Party shouting noisy slogans at each other, using the mainstream media as their mouthpiece.

Both sides were lying. The leave side told us that the £350 million a week which we currently pay into the EU would be used to fund the NHS.

So clear were they of this fact that they even wrote it on the side of a bus.

No sooner had they won the vote, however, than they retracted the statement, saying it was “an aspiration”, not a promise.

But the remain side lied too.

Then prime minister David Cameron, for instance, assured us that he wouldn’t resign if remain lost the vote, and then immediately did.

The New Statesman analysis included coverage by all mainstream news outlets, including the BBC.

The foundational document of the BBC is the Royal Charter, which states: “The BBC will aim to produce high-quality and distinctive journalism that meets the highest standards of accuracy, fairness and impartiality.”

Obviously “fairness and impartiality” was interpreted to mean allowing both sides to lie with impunity, while cutting out the majority of voices whose views were more complex and considered than theirs.

When the media becomes the mouthpiece of politicians, the news becomes propaganda.

By choosing to focus upon the more dramatic aspects of the campaign – by turning the referendum into a soap opera, rather than covering the issues – the BBC failed to live up to its commitment to accuracy in its reporting.

What this shows is how badly served we are by our media. When most of the voices are missing from a debate, how can we be expected to make a reasonable judgement about where our best interests lie?


From The Whitstable Gazette, 20/10/2016

The editor welcomes letters on any topical subject, but reserves the right to edit them. Letters must include your name and address even when emailed and a daytime telephone number.
Send letters to:
The Editor, 5-8 Boorman Way, Estuary View Business Park, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3SE,
fax 01227 762415