Monday, 24 July 2017

Alternative Facts and Alternative Spaces, newspapers and Twitter / YouTube

This post is just about on topic for Brexit. Mostly about student loans as this is the aspect most newspapers and radio / TV are concerned about. Corbyn on Marr showtalked about much else including access to European markets. But anyway, another time. The main relevance is how the papers still think they can make things up. sorry. I am going to be more balanced. The Mail is reporting broken promises, gullible students soforth. Here are two screenshots from tweets.





And here the source material





Do your own search to find how this NME statement and Marr interview were reported.

My guess is that the newspapers are just concentrating on their older readers. There seems to be more of a gap around 45 or 50 , people who get alternative facts from social media and /or newspapers. Not sure about this but will see what else turns up.

Back on topic for this blog, still finding claims that Corbyn did not put energy into Remain case during referendum. Main aim of this blog to record what happened during referendum and 2017 election. How did this Brexit decision happen? Media stories against Corbyn still a large part of the explanation. His case for Remain was not reported, any more than what he said about EU on Sunday.

By the way, have you come across much press comment on David Cameron role in the referendum? not that long ago but seems to have slipped off the agenda.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Today Corbyn clip prompt to check alternative facts with BBC , Channel 4

On Today this morning another example of BBC narrative that Corbyn was to blame for the Remain defeat in referendum. Given as reason for the coup. I have done a quick upload to show the source.



See previous posts for my view that Corbyn contributed well during the referendum. The outstanding questions are around how the media options were allocated. Did Will Self decide to stick mostly to the Cameron approach? When Labour was asked to step forward as the polls wobbled, why was it mostly Gordon Brown? Did Corbyn know about Lord Darling sharing a platform with Osborne?

More specific for broadcasters and which someone knows the answer to so I am looking for support. One good thing about the election is that it is now established that clips from broadcasts can appear online in social media, either directly or through fans. The Conservatives edited a Laura Kuenssberg interview with Corbyn as if it was an attack ad. It could be seen in other ways if a news organisation should choose to show the priority for jobs.

Anyway the questions?

Would BBC support asking Channel 4 to make available the Corbyn appearance on Last Leg? The whole thing to show how he made a case? Not a catastrophist with project fear but building support based on employment rights and the environment.

Would Channel 4 support investigation of the two heckles reported by BBC including Newsnight? Much Twitter comment linking Portland Communications and the Lib Dems.

Apparently all is sweetness and light with the PLP but somehow the previous narrative continues. We can have alternative facts, memory plays strange tricks, but is it time to compare notes?

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Reuters report on UK trust in news since Brexit

Short post as I am almost on holiday. Lots happening around the start of EU negotiations but I am away next week so it may have to wait. the blog is about this all came to happen. The EU referendum and then the Brexit Election. Both stories to come back to.

But there is a definite news item, a report from Reuters Institute for Study of Journalism that includes a shift in trust dated from Brexit-

 Trust in the UK media took a significant
knock (-7 percentage points) in the wake of
a bruising and polarising Brexit campaign.
The role of the BBC came under particular
scrutiny, with the referendum taking place
when the corporation was seeking a new
charter. Remainers accused the BBC of
pursuing ‘unthinking balance’ and failing to
expose the exaggerations and distortions
of the Leave side. The right-wing press and
websites played a key role as cheerleaders
of the Leave campaign as well as attacking
the BBC for a perceived pro-EU bias. None
of this has enhanced the reputation of
mainstream journalism, at the same time
as the growth of social media (+6) exposed
people to alternative perspectives and
a more emotive form of news.

Nic Newman
Research Associate, Reuters Institute
for the Study of Journalism

Leaving aside the question of whether social media is actually more "emotive" than some newspapers we could mention ( another time ) this is a documented event, a shift in trust based on experience of reporting.

Maybe just my own view but I also noticed at the time a media bias on Corbyn. We are still told that he was "lacklustre" etc. so this is not over. Some genuinely believe this but there may also be an explanation why the Canary shows up in the report stats, not the New Statesman.

More posts later, there is a collection of paper building up. Seems that the Customs Union is the defining issue for Labour and the "FT Brexit" approach. Conservative leadership interesting for some but too confusing for the main narrative. I still see it as defined by newspapers with the "Express Brexit" most crucial if a leadership contest went to the membership or UKIP was reactivated.

Part of the confusion around the options in negotiation follows a lack of info during the election. Not much on offer from the candidates but journalists are allowed to ask a question, then comment if there is no answer. Depending how much damage turns up I guess the election journalism could do as much for trust in media as the referendum.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Reflection time to look back to Corbyn in referendum

Over a week since the election I still do not find much to convince me that the print journalists have changed all that much. Includes some broadcast aspects as well. In Guardian today John Harris considers changes in Corbyn reputation as reported and mentions " a vocal minority of online celebrants" who lack the nuances of the experienced print soforth. Thing is, can the online still be considered a minority outside the world of the columnists? Much could ebb and flow but a return to print as the main driver of election  opinion is pretty unlikely and this matters.

In the New Statesman Jason Cowley writes that " The armies of online Corbynites boast about slaying the beasts of the MSM (mainstream media) and abuse anyone who dares to remind them that Labour did not win the election." well , this blog considers that Fleet street is still an issue. In 2017 social media has started a base, that is all that is obvious. Still think print format could be a bit more polite.

Do these operations really intend to transform as online? They seem to have given up a bit, often just knocking Facebook and Google without explaining what they offer on their own sites. Maybe it is just the nature of a columnist to avoid a read/write medium. Guardian announcement on tabloid format had almost nothing about a web policy.

Anyway, back on topic, this may be a good time to ask some questions that may get an answer in the new spirit of open exchange and unity. It has sometimes been reported that "Benn was sacked in the middle of the night". What seems to have happened is that a report appeared in both the Observer and the Sunday Times that Benn intended to resign from the Shadow Cabinet and would encourage others to do so. There was a phone conversation with Corbyn. How could he continue given the printed reports? Later it was reported that Benn was not the source for the reports. So how do such things happen? Is it possible that someone from the Guardian or New Statesman could hazard a guess. Even the Observer or Sunday Times might reveal something in the new climate.

As mentioned in a recent post I am still interested in the two heckles of Corbyn reported on BBC TV news at the end of the referendum. They were intended to show that Corbyn was blamed by his own supporters. On Twitter it was widely stated that one was linked to Portland Communications and one to the Lib Dems. Neither claim has been considered by the BBC as far as I know. How do they decide which heckles to report? I do not know of others given the same amount of attention during 2016 or 2017 so far.



Jason Cowley, as linked above, also wrote about Corbyn that "He was a long-standing Eurosceptic, and so his leadership in the EU referendum campaign was lacklustre." This is just not true. So it is also misleading to write that he was "abused and traduced" as if this was in the distant past. Estimates are that 65 -70% of Labour voters voted for Remain.

The information I would like is about how the TV appearances were decided on. The official campaign with Will Straw seems to have been close to Cameron and HMG. Alan Johnson had some influence on the Labour Party office whatever the Leader was supposed to be doing. ( just my guess, no info to check this on). Corbyn was supposed to be aimed at youth. He was strong on Sky but shown late in the referendum. Was it his idea to go on the Last Leg ? Why did Channel 4 block him from using clips on his own YouTube channel ? He has been often criticised for only giving the EU 7 out of 10 but rarely is this shown in context.



During 2017 it seems well accepted that any TV clip is online, either from fans or the broadcasters directly. There should be more on Corbyn in the referendum so people can make up their own minds.

The main bit of the story that remains to be explained is what happened one late weekend as the polls turned out difficult and Cameron decided to make space for Labour. Who was involved in this discussion? Step forward Gordon Brown and Lord Darling to share a platform with George Osborne. Who would know how such things happen? Not that long ago.

I am not just raving on about the same things that never get a response or answer. The issues are still currant. Reading the FT there is some recent support for a cross party approach to Brexit. This might mean Labour support for something moderate. Corbyn would be involved but he was not so strong during the referendum. Lord Darling appeared to back a "punishment budget" from Osborne. Corbyn was seen as a bit of a spoilsport in pointing out that as Leader he had not agreed to Labour backing for such a situation. "Not exactly helpful" said Norman Smith on BBC News "They are supposed to be on the same side".

Over the next few months Corbyn may make a case for a jobs first Brexit. It remains to be seen what this means when in discussion with others. Those who prefer to get back as closely as possible to remain once seemed to be pushing alternatives to Labour but could now start on reporting what Corbyn has actually had to say.







Monday, 12 June 2017

Newspapers Still Matter - FT Brexit and Express Brexit

There has been a lot of comment about social media since the recent UK election. Aaron Bastani was on telly claiming that most people under 45 either do not read a newspaper or do not trust the info if they do. However the newspapers are mostly carrying on as normal. In the Times Clare Foges proposes to stop treating the young as political sages and sticks to the truth that there is no free lunch. On the Guardian Media page Afua Hirsch covers the perils of tweeting as in Trump. Social media and the election may turn up next week.

Meanwhile I am getting confused with the balanced statements from most politicians still trying to cover a range of options and not to upset anyone. I still tend to think that Labour has been more clear about a priority for jobs than has been reported. But in general the short phase after the elction when the claims were made for what it meant has been followed by ambiguity as far as I can tell from the politicians.

So I think that looking at the newspapers is the best way to understand the issues. Tipped off by the BBC Radio 4 press review I invested in  a weekend copy of the FT. This reported a meeting organised by business secretary Greg Clark. As reported "business leaders are hoping a weakened Teresa May will have to pay greater heed to their concerns........may lead to a softer Brexit". The editorial considers the benefits of a national unity government but doubts that Corbyn would "play ball".

Thing is, the Labour Party contains a wide range of views. There is a continuing conversation. If the voters who supported Brexit are going to modify their position they need other changes in policy. Suggest BBC and others allow some space for quite complex policy to be explained.

Anyway, back to newspapers. The Express is the most reliable for a UKIP style view. The Mail is hedged on a Sunday ( this week with Lord Mandelson split over two pages but quite clear in his view) and the Telegraph is careful to connect with most Conservatives, however they change over time. the Times is occasionally a soft version of the Sun. They are linked in when making a move. ( this is just a blog post, more detail when you buy the forthcoming book) .

Also by the way it matters what Rupert Murdoch thinks and he may see both newspapers together. What is the business model and how long will it last? Not off topic yet. It is undisputed that there was no outdoor poster advertising during the election. If the negotiations continue for two years the media landscape will change during that time.

Still think #FTBrexit and #ExpressBrexit will be useful tags.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Oxford Internet Institute / Telegraph , social media turns out to be voters not bots

More later when there is more info. Over the next few weeks there could be some research on ages of voters, what they read and soforth. Just now a note that the mentions for #Labour on social media seem to have mostly indicated a positive message. The numbers were based on genuine people, not manufactured by bots as suggested in the Telegraph.

I still cannot see how the Telegraph story was based on the Oxford research but I also think more could have been done to clarify the facts and the claims. I realise the research is based on large collections of stats, not on text analysis. But is the same sort of thing also ok for press mentions? Can impact be of any kind, however the research is represented?

Caroline Quinn on Corbyn and EU Referendum, BBC fact check please

This morning round about 5.30 on BBC Radio 4 Caroline Quinn repeated a remark that there could be a different situation if Jeremy Corbyn had campaigned during the 2016 referendum in a similar way to the 2017 election. My problem is that this sort of view just repeats the pattern of BBC misleading information on Corbyn. See previous posts for what I noted at the time. Stats vary as reported but something like 65-70 % of Labour voters voted remain. Compare 45% for Conservatives following presentations from Cameron.

I think it may be useful to compare both time phases and the soft coup or whatever you want to call it. The official / Labour end of remain was set up by Lord Mandelson and Alan Johnson. I am not sure how much influence Corbyn had in how the TV spots were arranged. The Observer reported one late weekend that because of the polls Cameron had decided to make space for Labour in the media schedule. Somehow this meant the return of Gordon Brown and Lord Darling to share a platform with George Osborne. They announced a really scary budget from which Corbyn distanced the official Labour Party as far and fast as he could. "Not exactly helpful" said Norman Smith, BBC political reporter based close to Cameron "They are supposed to be on the same side."

But why would Corbyn just slot in to the negative approach based on fear and catostrophe assertions by celebs from global finance? He was effective in his own style to the extent he was reported. He spoke at length to a younger audience on Sky. He appeared late night on Channel 4 but was unable to use the clip on his own YouTube channel. ( I have a screenshot somewhere but no time to find it just now)

Laura Kuenssberg did a TV doc also blaming Corbyn for the referendum result but not actually reporting who did the media appearances for this phase of the campaign.

As far as I know the BBC has only reported two heckles during 2016, both against Jeremy Corbyn intended to set up the blame story after the referendum. Through Twitter sources I think it very probably that one was from a person associated with Portland Communications and the other from a person associated with the Lib Dems. I myself saw a tweet congratulating them from a LibDem source. But I have never seen any sor tof BBC apology or reference to doubt.

If the BBC is now going to ask members of the PLP what they think about Corbyn now they could also have a good look at their own reporting so far.