Thursday, January 29, 2015

Speaking of Bad News Coverage...

I have become increasingly disgusted by the election coverage by, well, pretty much everyone really. It seems that they're all doing a spectacularly poor job, especially the supposedly 'quality' reporters.

There are two sides to the problem, one on a UK-wide level and a second on a Scotland-wide one.

The big problem when using the UK-wide lens is that the media seem to have failed utterly to adapt to the changed situation in the country - they still act as if it's a binary choice between Labour or the Tories, and they still seem to think of the Lib Dems as a major party (as opposed to a zombie about to receive a headshot). And, when they consider other parties at all, the story is all about UKIP and the surge they're trying to make happen. (You can decide for yourself who I mean by 'they're' in that last sentence.)

The crucial problem with that approach is that politics has changed, and changed dramatically. It's very likely that neither Labour nor the Tories will gain a majority, which means the really important bit are those 'minor' parties who will make the difference - it really matters whether it's the Lib Dems, or UKIP, or the SNP who hold the balance of power. And, indeed, with things as finely judged as they are, it may well even be crucial whether the Greens end up with 0, 1, 2, or more seats. (Indeed, it could turn out to be the Northern Irish parties, who have thus far been almost totally ignored, who end up making the key difference.)

The problem when using the narrower Scotland-wide lens is that the media still seem to be in referendum mode, where "Yes" means the SNP and "No" means Labour. Which is a nonsense on both counts - it's likely that much of "Labour for Independence" won't be voting SNP, for instance, while the "No" vote will be split, at least to some extent, between the Lab/Con/Lib parties. (Well, okay, between Labour and the Tories.)

And it really doesn't help that I don't trust them.

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