Not the EU Referendum - media watch

media coverage of the EU Referendum to date is....

  • Inept,partisan and misleading

    Votes: 61 76.3%
  • Clear,informative and objective

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • Aunty could not find her Arrse with both hands

    Votes: 21 26.3%
  • Already bored sh1tless - roll on the Six Nations / Euro 2016

    Votes: 10 12.5%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Book Reviewer
NOTE;originally posted in current affairs where it was submerged in the combined thread

Dear Mods,

Quite understand the desire to combine threads - but the thread entitled ' EU Referendum - media watch 'had a poll attached, which has disappeared.
As a courtesy to those folk who took the trouble to vote, could you please post the final iteration?

I am not donning my tinfoil hat just yet - but given that Arrse is widely trawled by Govt Comms
and journos alike, is there about a poll result that states in regard to British media coverage of the Eu referendum25% of respondents think
"Aunty BEEB couldn't find her Arrse with both hands?"

The purpose of this thread is to review media coverage - as distinct from opinion on the decision itself;
Laboriously reconstituted at Sixty's suggestion


originally posted 03Feb16-apologies to all who voted in the original poll-plse try again!

As a stub or sub text to Seaweed's excellent Cameron's EU Referendum thread, I hope mods won't object to a thread looking specifically at Media coverage*.

In line with Seaweed's Prediction No 5:

5. Both the Govt and the EU and the BBC will spend huge amounts of YOUR money on pro-Europe propaganda, the Beeb thus building a defence against an assault on its parasitical position.
I will be watching with interest to see how UK TV,radio and Press cover the issue.

First off, the BBC corporate stance.This week I caught a female Pro EU campaigner chuntering away on,I think,R4 World at One.

"....and of course,Europe is the world's largest trading bloc"

I stared blankly at the radio.

Say WHAT ?



China and USA ?

I have no idea how true this statement is - but it slipped by without a challenge.Anyone got facts and figures to confirm or refute this?

Goebbels, Stalin and other Slick Willy types more recently knew perfectly well the old adage

" A good lie can march around the world before the truth has got its boots on"

I suspect that the Pro Yurp camp will have a host of snappy soundbites like this which, if said often enough and loudly enough,will be taken at face value by Joe Public and his Aunty.

Especially once No 10 has sorted out its firm Lines To Take prior to the promised Referendum.

We are set for a tsunami of hogwash over this issue.Please post similar examples as they come up!

Pass the Taylor's Chip Dry....

*apparentely they did\do
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Book Reviewer

The BBC really is shocking on this subject.
Classic group think.
"Only the clinically insane don't believe that [insert proposition here] "

Ahem Thank you for voting "Aunty couldn't find her Arrse with both hands"

Your participation means a lot to us and you can rest assured that we will pester you until notified of legal demise with cheery emails inviting you to vote again soon.

Where would you place the various media under the following headings:

1. Pro-EU

2. Balanced

3. EU-Sceptic

4. Sensationalist tripe, therefore irrelevant.

I don't read the papers so don't really know.

BBC and ITN TV news seems quite balanced.

Interesting question.

You don't have to buy a paper -all the trad Fleet Street titles have a web presence.

I would unhesitatingly drop both The Star and The Sunday Sport in your last category.

The Mirror and The Sun are routinely sneered at by the chatterati ...but interestingly not the pollies .

My instant off-the-cuff notion would be

Dingerr category1. Pro-EU

category 2. Balanced

category 3. EU-Sceptic

category 4. Sensationalist tripe, therefore irrelevant.

Times - Cat 2 shading into 3
Telegraph - Cat 3 "reluctantly"
Mail - Cat 3,with occasional rabid outbursts
Express - Cat 4
Independent - pretensions to Cat2 but previous strong form as Cat1
Guardian - staunchly Cat1 but given to bouts of self-doubt

BBC - Cat1 but , like Guardianistas,uneasily aware that people feel strongly the opposite. In my view, Aunty tries hard for Cat 2 but cannot shake off the default Islingtonia groupthink.

ITV - tricky....I would say as close to Cat 2 as anyone. Carl Dinnen is a good marker to judge by.

Channel 4 - Cat 1 I would say. Prove me wrong .

[another post]

This makes an interesting watch, especially when the Green bird is cut to pieces at about 3.30

Ahem.....the views expressed in that article are The Independent's,not mine.
Just sayin'
Do vote in the poll lurkers...see if you can swing the result!

Do vote in the poll lurkers...see if you can swing the result

results as at 251150 Feb 16

media coverage of the E U Referendum to date is:
This poll will close on Jun 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM.
  1. Inept,partisan and misleading 2 vote(s)66.7%
  2. Clear,informative and objective 0 vote(s)0.0%
  3. Aunty could not find her Arrse with both hands 2 vote(s)66.7%
  4. Already bored sh1tless - roll on the Six Nations / Euro 2016 0 vote(s)0.0%
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Thanks for restarting the thread Goatman, I would say that presently the BBC is deliriously laying into Cameron mostly because of Boris and Gove on a 'Tory Splits!!' angle and as a result on the referendum they seem less partisan then usual. But they are hardly acting hardly in the interests of the Country or informing the population at large.

Also there is a serious lack of investigation by the BBC on the position of the Labour party and the left in general on this issue, I know from close personal experience that the splits are immense and growing and I believe that the referendum will be won or or lost on the left of the political spectrum, the right is already decided.

One would expect BBC journalists to really investigate what made the new Labour leadership change its mind on this issue where they have not on every other policy matter since the 70's. Also Labour / left supporters who voted for him because they thought he would stand up for workers rights and vote to leave the EU, there is a story there surely?

Don't tell me that for the BBC working class issues and enquiry start and stop at Islington, say it 'aint so!


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Is it media watch or BBC watchdog? You poll indicates the latter which may indicate a change of thread title is necessary.

I am quite enjoying the way the BBC and others are getting stuck in to the Tories which they see as the story rather than the referendum itself. We still have four months to go to the referendum, with devolved and some local elections prior to then, so maybe the story just now is the perils of the Tories!


Book Reviewer

delighted to include examples of flagrant pro and anti bias from any source -wotcher got?

Is there a problem?

may I refer the hon Member for Auchantoshan to my reply of 04 Febabove in relation to the State Broadcaster

BBC - Cat1 but , like Guardianistas,uneasily aware that people feel strongly the opposite. In my view, Aunty tries hard for Cat 2 but cannot shake off the default Islingtonia groupthink.
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Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor

delighted to include examples of flagrant pro and anti bias from any source -wotcher got?

Is there a problem?
Well, your poll indicates, that if it were pointed towards itself, it would tick the first box.

Option three, while slightly humorous, gives the impression that the poll and subsequently the whole thread, is about the BBC!


Book Reviewer
thanks for the 'slightly' -we try

if this thread is also closed down by Arrsers 'on Message' then I will reluctantly conclude that questioning the veracity of the British media is for some reason off-limits here?

Nor am I consciously riding some tedious anti Beeb hobby-horse.

I would be equally interested to hear what the perceived stance of Al-Jazeera or Russia Today is on the issue.

The earlier thread included examples of coverage from Die Welt and elsewhere -more please folks!
interesting perspective from French daily Liberation here


Brexit : la nouvelle sortie de Boris Johnson

From the Comments section:
Que la GB quite ou reste en Europe cela ne changera finalement pas grand-chose, l'Europe sociale et politique est morte depuis belle lurette. Et ce n'est pas avec notre president et son premier ministre qui se couchent devant les 1% que cela va changer helas...

@Wordsmith -what's the current word on the main Fleet Street titles? In your view has anyone of these shown signs of shifting their traditional stance on Europe?
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Book Reviewer


Book Reviewer
Oh....and this piece, which also analyses why Aunty Beeb cannot be relied upon to be utterly impartial.

BBC admits receiving millions in grants from EU and councils

@Auld-Yin - do me favour, don't ask for this thread to be merged with anything else,if you please .

Oh - and do vote!

media coverage of the EU Referendum to date is....
This poll will close on Jun 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM.

  1. Inept,partisan and misleading
    15 vote(s)

  2. Clear,informative and objective
    0 vote(s)

  3. Aunty could not find her Arrse with both hands
    5 vote(s)

  4. Already bored sh1tless - roll on the Six Nations / Euro 2016
    1 vote(s)


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Your word is my Command O Great One. Votes submitted, but I could have ticked three out of four.

Please add another vote to the last option as I used up my other two votes!


Book Reviewer

it seems the FCO is on message-huzza!

standby for similar paragraphs to be inserted wherever a senior member of the Diplomatic Corps is obliged to stand on their hind legs near you in the next few months;

Britain in the World: An Engaged Nation - Speeches - GOV.UK

High Commissioner Menna Rawlings addressed the Australian Capital Territory Branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.
...........Earlier I said I would return to the topic of the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

Last year Prime Minister David Cameron set for himself the task to negotiate improvements in four areas of the UK’s relationship with the European Union. Those were economic governance, competitiveness, sovereignty and immigration. Last weekend, after the kind of mammoth late-night negotiations for which the European Union is rightly famed, the UK reached a deal with the other 27 member states. As a result of that deal, the Prime Minister has stated very clearly that he believes that Britain will be safer, stronger and better off in a reformed European Union. And he has committed himself – and the UK government as a whole – to campaigning to remain in the European Union in the forthcoming referendum.

So, in almost exactly four months’ time – on Thursday the 23rd of June – the people of the UK will decide for themselves the merits of ‘in’ or ‘out’, ‘remain’ or ‘leave’. Whatever the result, it will be major democratic event in the history of our country and one in which everyone who is entitled to take part should ensure they have the ability to make their voice heard.

That includes Brits living in Australia – if you have been registered to vote in the UK at any time in the last 15 years you will be eligible to vote in the referendum. You can register very easily by going to our website – – and searching for ‘register to vote’. It takes about five minutes – I’ve done it myself and it really is very simple. So if you are a Brit, I encourage you to sign up and have your say. And best not to leave it too late, there are some disadvantages to living in Australia and one is that the postal ballots have a long way to travel. The earlier you sign up, the more likely that your local electoral registration office will be able to get you your ballot in plenty of time to get it back to the UK before polling day.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are plenty of people who would say that the UK’s role in the world is declining, and that we are not the engaged nation we once were. Of course I accept that the sun has well and truly set on the British Empire, and that in today’s multi-polar world our role is very different to what it was 50 or 100 years ago. But that doesn’t mean we’re not an engaged nation in this, the 21st century. I had an amicable debate with Michael Fullilove about that after he said in the first of his excellent Boyer lectures that the UK had “lowered its ambitions” in recent years, adding: “the British will spend the next few years debating whether Scotland should leave the UK, and whether the UK should leave the EU. That won’t leave much time to think about the rest of the world.”

Of course I recognise that a lot of energy will be spent in the UK in the next few months preparing for the EU referendum, just as Australia will have a hard focus on elections this year. But as I pointed out to Michael, we are pretty good at multi-tasking; and also at doing ‘more with less’ including in the field of foreign policy. ''
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Book Reviewer
And this week's edition of The Economist nails their editorial stance pretty firmly to the Brussels centred mast:

Great cover.

"...A lot thus rests on the tight race now under way. For those who believe, as this newspaper does, in free trade and freedom of movement, the benefits to Britain of its membership of the EU have never been in much doubt. What more sceptical sorts must now recognise is that Brexit would also weaken Europe and the West. The stakes in Mr Cameron’s great gamble are high; should he fail, the losses would be widely felt."
Glad you've managed to resurrect this. My first job in the advertising world was as a press release writer, and we had one old guy in the office, whose job it was to read every national daily. No mean feat, but he was a damn fine scan reader and knew what key words he was looking for. The role was basically researcher / early warning system for anything that we might be doing for our clients. Anyway, my desk was next to his and we got on well - I hardly troubled him, writing about the delicate subject of Leyland DAF trucks and buses, but we had some good conversations. He was an ex local journo who had essentially made an academic study of the media.

This was pre-internet and newspapers had a very strong hand to play in any national debate. He always said that the most politically unbiased paper was the FT - it's readers, he reckoned, wanted straight facts and didn't need telling how to interpret them or how to think about them. Things have changed since then.

However, IMO the media (print, broadcast and social) is still capable of influencing the outcome of an election. I know which way I shall be voting, but the way the media reports and spins bare facts still fascinates me. A simple fact can be skewed to show support or defiance of any position and no-one does that as well as a good journalist - with the possible exception of a few politicians, but they suffer from bias in the eye of the beholder to a much greater extent, especially amongst younger people.

I have a friend who is a Media Analyst in one of the big Manchester agencies, and her take on it is that so far, it's about 70/30 in favour of staying in. However, as she said, once you start to take into account the reach of different media, then it becomes very difficult to pin it down accurately. When the Sun has a circulation of ten times the Guardian, what are the relative influences? Although we have posts flying around on Facebook and Twitter, what is the actual reach? Who is influenced by them? Britain First, by impartial objective measurement, are a very 'successful' organisation when it comes to using social media to get their message out. However, a 'hit' on a YouTube vid doesn't necessarily equal a 'like' - many people will watch to see what utter tripe is being poured out and not be influenced by it.

I still maintain that much of the broadcast media is led by the coverage in the press. The BBC and Ch4, who don't have the same commercial pressures on them due to the licence fee, and protect their 'independent' status, are perhaps not as influenced as others, but the influence is still there. However, it's noticeable that many of the broadcast media are influenced by commercial considerations - thinking particularly of commercial radio stations here.

There are 112 days to go. I predict that the campaign will be about ten weeks long, with the last three weeks being the most intense in terms of media coverage. At the moment, many of the papers and broadcasters seem to be settling into a position, but not willing to commit totally to it. The Sun, for example, is somewhat scathing of CMD, but not yet screaming 'out at all costs'. Should Rupert make a phone call in the middle of the night to Tony Gallagher and tell him that he wants the paper to campaign to remain, then I reckon you'd see a visibly relaxed Cameron the next day.

Interesting times are upon us.


Book Reviewer
On a slightly lighter note,had to giggle at last issue of Private Eye's recent cover:

Good to see young Hislop is keeping abreast of modernist artists - so much Bosch flying around at the moment.


Book Reviewer
Today's find,from the IrishTimes:

Brexit Q&A: Everything you need to know

Quite liked the blunt honesty of this bit:

What would be the impact on the Republic if the UK withdrew?

Nobody knows. But the close economic ties between the two countries, and the uncertainty a Brexit would generate, have prompted the Irish Government to take a strong public line in favour of the UK staying in. “The risk relates to the uncertainty, as opposed to having any clear sense of how things will materialise over time,” says Mary C Murphy, lecturer in politics at University College Cork.

Unlike the Scottish independence referendum, on which the Government maintained a studied silence, Irish Ministers have been vocal in arguing that a Brexit would damage Ireland’s interests. In a speech to business leaders in London in December, Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the prospect of a British exit as “a major strategic risk” for Ireland. Minister for Foreign AffairsCharlie Flanagan has said it would be “a leap over the cliff into the unknown.”

Yesterday,I also caught a short piece from a disgruntled Outter from an organisation called Scientists for Britain on Radio 4s PM

Myth Busters – Scientists for Britain

His proposition was that EU micro regulation had effectively halted his own clinical research dead in the water.

This being Aunty , the required "balance" was provided by a pro EU boffin saying (I paraphrase)
" Nah,bollocks,it's all good"

Relates specifically to the EU Clinical Trials Directive - bit of direct testimony to Lords committee here:
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Interesting article. The last section is intriguing, as it's one of the few times that I've seen a reasonably balanced and non-scaremongering veiw of a post-Brexit UK relationship with the EU. Usually, we have the "complete severance of all ties with the EU OR the Norway model OR the Swiss model". I haven't really heard anyone talk about the potential for anything else, although that leads squarely into the 'leap into the dark' camp:

Far more plausible a scenario would be the negotiation of something altogether new, perhaps along the lines of the “privileged partnership” once broached by German chancellor Angela Merkel as a way of binding Turkey to the bloc without giving it full membership.

The last paragraph also highlights the major problem for the EU, in a neat summary of the quandary facing the EU post-Brexit.

It will be a discussion from which the UK will be partly absent, she adds, leaving the rest of the EU to decide how to strike a balance between two imperatives: on the one hand a desire to keep trading with the British and on the other a determination not to reward London for leaving, which could encourage others to follow suit.

We lack that kind of impartiality and balance in the media over here - perhaps I shall start reading the IT!


Book Reviewer
And of course, there is always the ever-reliable Newsthump to keep us all on the straight and narrow:
Nice country, shame if anything were to...happen to it, EU tells Britain

Mister Tusk went on to outline a highly effective form of insurance he happens to sell, where for the low price of £55m a day he can guarantee the whole place doesn’t go up in smoke.

Encouraging the British to ‘fink it over but not to take too long about it’, Tusk then left, pausing only to light a match off some antiques and smash the car headlights with his stick.


Book Reviewer


Book Reviewer
Oh dear....Clarkson has pinned his colours to the mast of a sinking ship....

Call up the paparazzi army to take Brussels — and keep us in Europe | The Sunday Times

' Britain,on its own,has little influence on the world stage.I think we are all agreed on that. But Europe,if it were well run and had cohesive,well thought-out policies,would be a tremendous force for good..So how do we turn Europe from the shambles it is now into the beacon of civilisation that it could be in the future?'

His answer believe it or not is the power of the Press.

And,actually,I do not agree with his 60s relic attitude that we have no influence.

To be fair, bulk of the piece is about how desperate everybody is for a definitive answer to the plethora of brain numbing questions.

Sadly, it seems we are about to live in interesting times....


Book Reviewer
I mentioned looking at non-UK sources for EU referendum reporting.

This combined video stream from Al Jazeera uses Skype interviews with opposing voices mixed with 30 second video clips posted by users.

Interesting technique. I'm guessing that the majority of people who would take the time to contribute would be those who have pretty much grown up with the Web.

To #Brexit or not? Deciding to break up with the EU

Coverage starts at 02:15

I wonder what kind of piece would result if one of the UK based terrestrial companies tried the same approach....

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