19 leading academics endorse rigour, caution, findings of damning media bias study

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Earlier this month, the SKWAWKBOX published details of a landmark academic study that was highly critical of the integrity of the coverage by mainstream media of the issue of alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Predictably, that study was attacked by those who have an interest in portraying Labour in that way, or in maintaining the fiction of impartial, free mainstream media in their treatment of Labour under the Corbyn leadership. Critics dismissed it as being merely a politically-motivated propaganda piece and attacked its credibility and method.

But now a statement has been signed by nineteen leading academics – including some of the most widely published and cited in relevant fields, some of whom are emphatically not Corbyn supporters – endorsing the study’s rigour and ‘notably cautious approach’ and the damning nature of its findings:

Statement by academics on research published by Media Reform Coalition on media coverage of anti-semitism in the Labour Party

We have reviewed the Media Reform Coalition’s analysis of the mainstream reporting of antisemitism in the Labour Party. We are writing as a group of academics from related fields and relevant specialisms, and from a range of international institutions, who were not involved directly in the research. We nevertheless consider the approach taken in this study to be appropriately cautious and rigorous, and the findings as reliable as they are damning.

This is an issue that transcends party politics: whilst no one should expect antisemitism or any form of racism to be tolerated by a major political party, we should be equally concerned about myriad and systematic distortions in the coverage of such issues, especially against the backdrop of considerable political instability and national crisis.

It is imperative that news institutions — especially the BBC and those newspapers who pride themselves on fair and accurate reporting — answer to these findings. It is not enough to simply dismiss the research on the basis of presumed bias without engaging constructively with the research, including the notably cautious approach adopted by the researchers.

Silence or blanket dismissal will only speak volumes about the widely sensed malaise in our free press and public service media. A functioning democracy depends on a functioning fourth estate.

Yours sincerely

Professor Colin Leys, Queens University, Canada
Professor Lynne Segal, Birkbeck, University of London
Professor Bob McChesney, University of Illinois
Professor Graham Murdock, Loughborough University
Professor David Graeber, London School of Economics
Professor María Lamuedra, University of Seville
Professor Phil Scraton, Queens University, Belfast
Professor Peter Golding, Northumbria University
Professor James Curran, Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Justin Lewis, Cardiff University
Professor Victor Pickard, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Greg Philo, University of Glasgow
Professor David Miller, University of Bristol
Professor Annabelle Sreberny, SOAS, University of London
Professor Jeremy Gilbert, University of East London
Dr Stephen Cushion, Cardiff University
Dr Mike Berry, Cardiff University
Dr Einar Thorsen, Bournemouth University
Dr Tom Mills, Aston University

The background work for the study also revealed that the alternative left-wing media had none of the inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the mainstream media.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Inconvenient truths yet again for opponents of Labour and of genuine media freedom. So of course, the credibility of these leading academics will also be attacked.

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    1. The reality is that the MSM is the Establishment’s propaganda machine/mouthpiece, and the vast majority of people don’t have the faintist idea that it IS. It’s the means by which the Few control and manipulate what the Many think and feel and believe about any particular issue or group or individual.

      1. Thousands of examples could be given of course, but two that spring to mind are the Sun’s fake survey of junior doctors, concocted and designed to portray them as hypocrites, and the widely publicised letter signed by 121 Nobel Laureates condemning Greenpeace for being opposed to and ‘blocking’ the roll out of GM Golden Rice (the ‘blocking’ bit being a blatant lie), and accusing them – Greenpeace – of being responsible for hundreds of thousands of young children in developing countries going blind and dying every year (as a consequence of Vitimin A deficiency). But what the MSM omitted to mention is that 175 Nobel Laureates DIDN’T sign it, no doubt because they saw it for what it was – ie a black propaganda op concocted and contrived by the GM lobby to discredit and demonise Greenpeace.

        Here’s a link to the fake survey article in the Sun:


      2. Most people think it is’news’ and sit down in front of the tv at teatime to lap it up. We need to educate them that it just isn’t ‘news’ – it is agenda driven promotions.

    2. The fact that Margaret Hodge’s daughter, in her role as deputy editor of the BBC’s 6 & 10pm TV news, facilitated her mother’s broadcast diatribes against Jeremy Corbyn says it all really…

      If there was a safe way to with-hold part of the licence fee, the proportion that funds their “news” output, I would like a shot!

  1. Great support and a well worded statement – the very least that those offending ‘news’ institutions should do is publish it, together with its signatories – every word of it – prominently.

  2. ‘The background work for the study also revealed that the alternative left-wing media had none of the inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the mainstream media.’

    And THAT is why the NLM is demonised, because the last thing the PTB want is for their propaganda lies and fabrications and distortions etc to be exposed, or for people to be informed:


  3. This report represents a statement of ‘the bleedin’ obvious’.

    The reporting of the ‘antisemitism’ issue has astounded even sceptics such as myself. What has been remarkable is the absolute complicity of the majority of the media, from the usual suspects such as the Torygraph, the Daily Bile and the Bum … but co-opting the Beeb, the Graun and the Indy in a solid wall of denial and distortion of the facts. The establishment’s rag-mag – Private Eye – has similarly uttered not a peep of enquiring scepticism. The denial of investigative repoting has been astounding.

    Engaging in a bit of ‘litmus testing’ (pointed comments, letters to editors etc.) where possible has revealed a journalist fraternity that may (a) have no idea about what the facts are – and don’t want to find out and (b) are terrified of the Israel lobby. As many of us know, pinning the fallacies of the accepted narrative isn’t actually very difficult; it requires less obvious bottle than reporting from war zones.

    So ……??? (Fill in the blank)

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