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Express & Star comment: Too easy to blame the media for election woes

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

There are several national newspapers that would happily accept responsibility for ending Labour’s hopes of forming a new Government.

Don't blame the media

Those newspapers on the right of the political spectrum made no attempt to hide their view of Jeremy Corbyn before people went to vote.

By the same token, of course, Labour benefited from partisan reporting by the left-wing press which, though smaller in number, sought to discredit Boris Johnson’s pledge for a swift Brexit.

It is in this context that the BBC has found itself dragged into the debate.

The Tories found themselves so frustrated that they issued a veiled threat to pull the plug on the licence fee. And now Labour has begun to spin a narrative that the BBC was instrumental in its decline.

The reality is that Labour was perfectly capable of orchestrating its own downfall.

Blaming the media – whether newspapers or the BBC – is too easy.

Shortly after the exit poll results were published, John McDonnell indicated that the reason for his party’s poor performance was frustration over Brexit.

And the final result suggests he was probably at least partly correct in this assessment, although it seems likely that the leadership of the Labour Party and its radical manifesto were also important factors when it came to polling day.

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A debate will rage for some time over the whys and wherefores of the result, particularly as the party seeks a leader that can revitalise its appeal with voters.

Many Labour figures have accepted that their party got it wrong with a manifesto that few believed the country could afford.

Their choice of a leader who was at times viewed – rightly or wrongly – as lacking decisiveness on key issues was also problematic.

The country needs an effective opposition and it is to be hoped the Labour leadership contest will unearth a figure capable of galvanising the party and maintaining a strong challenge.

But don’t blame the media.

No politicians are above scrutiny and it is the job of our free and open press to ask difficult questions – whether political parties like it or not.

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