As the election ritual stutters on to its consummation in the bonfire of ballots in a week’s time, let’s check that the corporate press is doing its duty. How many headlines has each party got per candidate over the last month? (The source is the Nexis news database)
The SNP are so far out in front as to be almost out of sight. Of course, most of the headlines outside Scotland are not exactly complimentary. More like scaremongering, hysterical or just plain daft. The headlines for Labour, given the way the media has pounced on Ed Milibland’s meeting with Russell Brand, the spawn of Satan, are no doubt similarly negative. But, on the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, Labour are holding up well in the corporate media.
Ukip are doing slightly better than the Lib Dems, who these days are not of much interest to corporate journalists or anyone else (which may explain increasingly desperate Lib Dem leaks). Plaid do better than both of these parties, given their candidate numbers. Even MK’s ten ‘headlines’ give them a better rating. But here we must note a small problem with using this measure. All the 10 MK ‘headlines’ were in fact topping opinion pieces invited from the candidates by the local press. Not one was a story about the party as opposed to a political policy position from the party. These ‘candidate pieces’ make up only a very small proportion of other parties’ headlines.
Why no Greens in the chart? Because the search facility in the Nexis database doesn’t allow an easy distinguishing between the political party and village greens, golf greens or even green tea.
When it comes to alternative socialist voices, TUSC, who have arguably produced one of the liveliest party political broadcasts, has only managed to generate eight headlines, despite having 133 candidates. That’s 0.06 per candidate, compared with around 4 for the Westminster austerity cheerleaders. So good to know our corporate press can still do its job and report these rituals fully and fairly, isn’t it.