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Newspapers remain hostile to Labour in their election coverage

In its second report analysing media coverage of the General Election Loughborough University has found national newspapers to be overwhelmingly negative in their coverage of Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party

Although Jeremy Corbyn has topped the list of most frequently reported political figures in the second week of formal campaigning – with several other Labour representatives also climbing up the chart – the majority of coverage has been critical of the party and its manifesto.

In comparison, levels of positive and negative press coverage of the Conservative party have all but cancelled each other out.

Report co-author Professor James Stanyer said: “Over the past week the media spotlight shifted on to Jeremy Corbyn, Labour and their policies, but this has not been the good news the party hoped for.

“Coverage has been in the main negative, focused on the leaders persona and the perceived impact of manifesto policy pledges. The attack has been led by the Tory supporting tabloids, with a supporting role from some broadsheet newspapers.”

Overall, Labour and the Conservatives have commanded 71% of the appearances on TV and 85% of press coverage so far, tightening the ‘two party media squeeze’.

This media dominance far exceeds their position at the same stage of the 2015 General Election. The Liberal Democrats, SNP, UKIP and the Greens have received consistently lower levels of coverage in the 2017 media campaign so far.

The full top ten for most prominent political figures in week two is:

Week 2

Week 1

Political figure

Number of appearances/ items of coverage

1

2

Jeremy Corbyn  (Lab)

27.7%

2

1

Theresa  May (Cons)

24.2%

3

4

John McDonnell  (Lab)

6.0%

4

3

Tim Farron  (Lib Dem)

5.6%

5

Did not feature

Michael Fallon (Cons)

3.3%

6

17

Emily Thornberry (Lab)

2.7%

7

8

Nicola Sturgeon (SNP)

2.5%

8

Did not feature

Jonathan Ashworth (Lab)

2.3%

9

19

Vince Cable (Lib Dem)

2.1%

10

7

Paul Nuttall (UKIP)

2.1%

Results in the report are derived from detailed content analysis of weekday news coverage of the General Election, compiled by experts in Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC).This week’s report also revealed:

As a general trend, newspapers have focused more coverage on attacking the parties they disapprove of, than reporting positive issues connected to the parties they support

In the second week of campaigning Brexit has received lower levels of coverage

The issues upon which the Conservative party would prefer to campaign remain at the foreground of media debate

Read the full report here.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 17/72

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