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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The British Press

Europhiles often blame the British Press for attitudes to the European Union in the UK. I am of the opinion that newspapers publish more or less what their readers want to hear, although you cannot deny that they have a great deal of influence. Recently two pro European Union individuals are making this point: At Straight Banana he asks,
The question is why the UK stands out as markedly more eurosceptic than anywhere else. For a eurosceptic, the most obvious candidate explanation is that the UK is just different.
Thats a possibility given our unique island status and political evolution, but I can imagine some people having trouble with that notion.
Eurobarometer results confirms what many EU enthusiasts have been complaining about for years: perhaps it's the media's fault. Fewer UK citizens feel that media coverage of the EU is about right than citizens of any other member country.
Does that mean they want more stories of curved Bananas or less, we are not told.
Self-assessed ignorance correlates with negativity.
The more we know, the less we will dislike. Why do I find that idea unconvincing. Despite my comments, it is a measured and questioning piece whether you agree with the conclusion or not. On the other hand Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform is a lot more blunt. He tells us that in the UK:
Three quarters read papers that are unremittingly hostile to France, Germany and Brussels.
And that:
British journalists get away with such factual inaccuracies because editors and proprietors encourage them, and because they face no sanction.
What we are not told is whether Editors across the water are encouraging positive stories about the EU. Perhaps they are inaccurate with a pro bias. He goes on to say that…
No fair-minded person can claim that the British press will cover the referendum in an even handed way.
No I agree, The Sun will scream about the end of our nation whilst the BBC will talk about a streamlined Europe better suited to 25 members. To claim that either one is unbiased would be unreasonable. The difference between them is that one of them is spouting bias paid for by us all whether we agree or not, whilst those who do not warm to The Voice of Common Sense, can always buy the Guardian. Typically he quotes from the Sun to support his theory. One paper has what he calls factual inaccuracies and he damns all the anti EU papers with that one example. The fact that the EU constitution, like all EU treaties is deliberately open to widely varying interpretations is not mentioned. The fact that many clauses can be reasonably interpreted as either chalk or cheese, is a leading reason for the difference in press coverage. I feel sorry for our continental cousins that they have such a tame press. The lack of ability for journalists to probe funny goings on in France is legend. I am only glad that we are having this vote before that repulsive Blunkett muzzles our press freedom entirely. With the weight of the BBC and the government machinery on the side of the treaty, it is only the bias of The Sun and friends that keeps us from being sold down the river by our cheating, lying and conniving political class.

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