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What the AV vote says about the media

May 11, 2011 Leave a comment

OK, I know the AV referendum is soooo last week, but I beg indulgence, since it was the subject of a refreshingly honest comment by Robert Crampton in yesterday’s Times (behind ₱a¥wa₤₤).

He notes that his borough, Hackney, recorded the highest yes vote of any place in the UK. While throughout the country, about 70 per cent voted No, in Hackney more than 60 per cent voted Yes. Similarly, Islington (56.9 per cent), Haringey , Lambeth, Southwark and Camden all voted Yes.

As was noted by Professor Tony Travers, director of LSE London, in the Evening Standard, all these boroughs form the chaterati heartland of the capital. Indeed, if you wanted to draw a map of such a heartland, it would look pretty much like this (the green bits):

London borough AV referendum results

Just say Yes: Green indicates boroughs voting for AV, pink (50-65%) and red (above 65%) against

It would also stand as a map of London’s mediapolis, where dwell the vast majority of editorial staff encountered in the national media.

Crampton asks the thoughtful question: “What does this statistic [about the Yes vote in Hackney] tell me about my neighbours?” And he truthfully replies:

Quite simply, it tells me that politically, as well as socially, demographically, ethnically, economically, educationally and just about every word ending with -ally I can think of, where I (and an awful lot of other journalists, columnists and commentators) live is radically atypical of the rest of the country.

And the sucker punch:

What we write should be read with this in mind.

Indeed. The sort of thing you should keep in mind when on May 2, you read the BBC political editor Tim Donovan opine:

Clearly, in its size and influence, the London electorate could yet make all the difference.

It’s the Sun wot didn’t quite win it (and nor did the Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph…)

May 7, 2010 1 comment
Election front of The Sun and The Mirror

The red-tops were obsessed with blue

As I write, there’s only a handful of seats still to come in and we have a hung Parliament.

However murky the outcome politically, the result of Election 2010 (Part I) is to well and truly nail the myth that the media – and in particular the press – have any influence on the outcome of elections whatsoever. Read more…

Categories: Election 2010

In word-cloud cuckoo land

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

It being the day before the election, I thought it would be fun to take a few of the national newspapers’ election editorial leaders and turn them into word clouds. For the uninitiated, word clouds are those visual representations of tags, categories or other key words which you often find on blogs, and which the revamped Independent has suddenly discovered. Basically, the more prominence a word has, the greater its cloud representation.

Some of the results were pretty surprising. Read more…

Shooting the elephants

May 2, 2010 Leave a comment

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=elephant&iid=8463002″ src=”5/f/3/e/Scenes_Of_India_c208.jpg?adImageId=12725420&imageId=8463002″ width=”500″ height=”335″ /]

Never mind the would-be MPs, the media and, last but by every means least, voters, this election has been nothing but good for elephants. Forget what the Worldwide Fraud for Nature, WISPA or Greedpeace may tell you, your friendly Elephantidae, both elephas and loxodonta have been thriving and rampaging through an election comment near you.
Read more…