Document:Has the media ignored good news about Jeremy Corbyn
Has the media ignored good news about Jeremy Corbyn?
The complaint is that the “mainstream media” as a whole has ignored a good news story about Mr Corbyn, perhaps in a sign that they are biased against him.
We think it’s true that no major UK broadcaster or newspaper ran a substantive story on Mr Corbyn’s prize. But we don’t think it’s that surprising. Here’s why.
The prize doesn’t generally get much coverage in the UK media
Central to the story about Mr Corbyn facing a “media silence” is the idea that the prize is a prestigious one, and therefore something you would have expected the media to cover.
We’re not really in a position to say whether winning a MacBride Peace Prize is or should be considered a major achievement: it’s a matter of opinion.
But we can try to measure how much attention prizewinners usually get from the British media, to see whether Jeremy Corbyn is being unfairly scorned.
We used Factiva, a paid-for media archive, and searched for mentions of the prize in the UK media since it was established in 1992.
Leaving the search options as wide as possible (“all dates” and “all sources”), we can only find two mentions of the prize in UK newspapers.
There are a number of other mentions in Irish newspapers, mostly in respect of Mr Higgins as well.
We can’t find a single example of a British or Irish newspaper covering the announcement of the winner as a newsworthy event in itself – as, say, the identity of the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is usually reported every year as a news story.
Again, we can’t find even one example of a major media outlet covering the prize as a news story in itself in previous years.
We can’t be sure that the searches we’ve done cover every single story ever published in newspapers or online, and they certainly don’t cover broadcast news.
But they do suggest that – rightly or wrongly – the British media doesn’t tend to report on the awards.
The story of Corbyn’s win is months old
The IPB said at the time that Mr Corbyn was due to receive the award at a ceremony in Barcelona in November, but they told FactCheck they changed the handover to a time and place more convenient for the Labour leader to attend.
The IPB issued a press release about Mr Corbyn’s win, but we can’t find any evidence that the Labour leader publicised it himself at the time.
A search of Labour press releases and Mr Corbyn’s Twitter feed for any mention of the prize comes up blank.
And as far as we can tell from Google, none of the websites reporting the silence of the mainstream media now – SKWAWKBOX, rt.com and presstv.com – covered the news that Mr Corbyn had been given the award back in September.
He wasn’t the only winner
It’s the first time the prize has been split between three winners.
It’s true that there was little media interest in Mr Corbyn’s peace prize. Is this a sign of institutional bias against him? Probably not.
But it seems from our archive searches that the media generally pays little attention to the MacBride Peace Prize. The prize has not historically been viewed as a particularly newsworthy event in the British media.
That may be fair or unfair, but it offers a more straightforward explanation than a nefarious media conspiracy of why Mr Corbyn’s win got little attention.