23 March 2005 — Media Lens
No Politics – Only Elections
The Foetus And The Flag
In the first three weeks of campaigning for the 2001 general election, the Communications Research Centre at Loughborough University found that there had been “little sign of real issues” in media coverage, where “few issues make the news”. (Peter Golding, ‘When what is unsaid is the news’, The Guardian, May 28, 2001)
Issues like the environment, foreign policy, poverty and defence were “all but invisible”. (Golding, email to Media Lens, June 10, 2001) Defence, for example, comprised 0.6 percent of reporting. There was no mention of New Labour’s “ethical foreign policy” deception, of the non-existent “genocide” used as a pretext for Blair’s bombing of Serbia, of his silence as East Timor burned, or of the ongoing siege and bombing of Iraq. The fact that senior UN diplomats had resigned in 1998 and 2000, describing New Labour’s policy on Iraq as “genocidal”, was deemed unworthy of mention in judging New Labour’s performance since 1997. The lack of real issues closely followed the pattern of the 1997 and 1992 elections.