Just Sociology

The Impact of Biased Reporting: Labour Party vs Royals Coverage

The media is responsible for providing the public with information on current events and news that is accurate and unbiased. However, biased reporting can lead to the spread of misinformation and the creation of public division.

This article critically analyzes biased reporting with a focus on coverage of the Labour Party in comparison to the Royals. The principles of news values and the use of language, visuals, and infographics will be explored to explain how biased reporting can impact society.

Biased Reporting:

Negative Bias Against Labour:

Recent studies have shown that the media has a negative bias towards the Labour Party in the UK. Through the use of selective reporting, loaded language, agenda-setting, and framing, the media has created a negative image of the Labour Party.

For instance, in the run-up to the 2019 General Election, a study found that articles in the mainstream media were overwhelmingly negative towards Labour, with only 13% of articles portraying the party in a positive light (Richards, Coman, & Smith, 2020). Comparison of Coverage of Royals vs Labour:

The medias coverage of the Royals in comparison to Labour reflects biased reporting.

While the Royals receive excessive coverage, Labour Party leaders receive limited coverage. Royals are given a celebrity status which often scatters the media landscape.

For example, the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle received more media coverage compared to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party (Zamuner & Vromen, 2019). Use of Language to Belittle and Diminish Labour:

Biased reporting often includes language that is used to belittle and diminish a party or a particular politician.

The media uses negative language when reporting on the Labour Party, which can influence public opinion. The use of derogatory terms further reinforces this, and can even normalise hate speech on social media.

For example, hard-left is often used to describe the Labour Party, which has become a stigmatised term exploited by the media to undermine the partys platform and legitimacy in a way consistent with political-economic elites (Bramley, James, & Mayo, 2019). News Values:

Prioritization of Royals over Labour:

News values play a crucial role in deciding what news stories to cover, how to frame the news, and how to include or exclude certain details.

The prioritisation of Royals over Labour showcases this phenomenon. News outlets often prioritise stories about the Royals over those about the Labour Party because they are deemed more interesting to the public.

As a result, the media portrays the Royals as relevant but Labour as irrelevant to the needs of the public because of not meeting certain tabloid criteria. Royal coverage helps outlets attract readers by emotionalising the narrative, so theres a constant supply of feel good stories about the privileged.

Use of Visuals and Infographics:

Visuals and infographics are essential for journalism as it conveys information more effectively than text. However, it can also be used to manipulate public opinion by only presenting a partial view of the story.

Infographics are particularly problematic. Graphic depictions can oversimplify complex issues and offer a biased view.

The use of images and the tone used in print media can impact perceptions of parties or candidates, as postmodern theory suggests. There is a potential for framing and constructing perceptions of candidates and voting behaviour through images, and this strategy can be noticeably biased towards one particular candidate or party (Maier, 2015).

Continuity of News Cycle and National Interest:

The medias continuity of news cycle and national interest also impacts news values. The news cycle plays an essential role in how news is presented, with politics and the National interest often taking precedence due to their value to society.

Election coverage in the media can create public opinion through strategic framing and emphasising particular issues. However, the national interest often becomes blurred with political bias, and political issues may become less news-worthy if it doesnt fit with the agenda of the media outlet or publishing house.


This article has provided a brief understanding of biased reporting with a focus on the Labour Party in comparison to Royals. Biased reporting involves selective reporting, loaded language, and a prioritisation of certain stories over others.

News values and the medias continuity of news cycle and national interest also play a significant role in emphasising and de-emphasising certain stories. The use of language, visuals, and infographics can influence public perception and create a biased narrative, either for or against certain parties or candidates.

By being aware of these techniques, we can empower ourselves to read critically, identify bias, and avoid the spread of misinformation.


Bramley, G., James, P., & Mayo, M. (2019).

Mapping and assessing the diverse ways in which social class inequalities are identified and contested. Volume II.

Methodology and research papers. In T.

Haux, S. Dennemark, & C.

Lang (Eds.), Comparative research programme on poverty (CROP) international studies in poverty research, Vol. 35.

London: Zed Books. Maier, S.

R. (2015).

How to watch the media. John Wiley & Sons.

Richards, R., Coman, I., & Smith, A. (2020).

The political landscape of the 2019 UK General Election: The role of social media, traditional media and conversations. Agora Publications.

Zamuner, L.E., & Vromen, A. (2019).

Electoral issues, media mobilisation and strategic responses: Explaining the content and tone of online coverage of the 2016 Australian Federal Election. Australian Journal of Political Science, 54(2), 202-222.


Ideological Agenda Setting:

Political Context and Socio-Economic Turbulence:

Ideological agenda setting is a deliberate attempt to direct a community’s thoughts and opinions on public policy, political or social issues, to change and promote a specific ideology. Political context and socio-economic turbulence have a significant effect on ideological agenda setting.

In times of political upheaval and economic uncertainty, UK politics is polarized to the left with the Labour Party, and the right with the Conservative Party.

Comparison of Tory and Labour Policies:

In an attempt to expose bias, it is imperative to compare the coverage of the Tory Party, with that of the Labour Party.

An analysis of the Metros coverage of these parties in the weeks leading up to the May 2021 elections reveals their differing approach to both major parties. While the Conservative Party enjoys relatively positive coverage in the metro, news articles characterizing the Labour party are predominantly negative, showing increased bias.

For instance, the Labour Party is rarely given the benefit of the doubt in the paper, even when it is deserved.

Relegation of Labour News to Lower Prominence:

The Metros relegation of Labour news to lower prominence in its newsfeed is a deliberate attempt to undermine the Labour Party’s reputation with its readership.

Basic journalistic principles require that stories be presented based on their newsworthiness that they should be presented based on their importance, novelty, timeliness and proximity. However, the Metro has opted to ignore these guidelines in its reporting of the Labour Party.

Opposition party news should not be relegated until a context of importance has been established beyond the rules of the editorial line, yet it frequently is in the Metro.

Attempt to Offer Entertainment Rather Than Political News:

The Metro combines a lighthearted editorial tone with a focus on celebrity culture and entertainment news.

This approach competes for the attention of the target audience and achieves mass circulation, but ultimately deviates from the traditional journalistic practices of impartiality and accuracy. This technique showcases entertainment-oriented news and sensationalist headlines and images that generate interest but lack substance.

The consequence of this is often misleading, leading to an ill-informed audience.

Potential Bias of Right-Wing Paper:

The Metro, a right-wing paper owned by Daily Mail and General Trust and boasting an audience of around 1.5 million, has been accused of promoting a particular ideological stance.

It has been alleged that the Metros owners and editors are using their position of power to narrow the agenda of news reporting and discredit the views of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party. They have been accused of prioritising Tory news stories that are of low news value, and relegating Labour stories that might be regarded as significant.

Discussion Questions:

Is This an Example of Ideological Agenda Setting? The Metros biased reporting undermines the neutrality of the media, raises ethical issues concerning fairness, objectivity and truth and calls into question its media practices.

The paper potentially serves only to reinforce peoples beliefs and confirm their biases, putting the truth on the backburner. This is an example of ideological agenda setting because the information is selected and presented to promote a particular political ideology.

Are the Owners and Editors of the Metro Using Their Position of Power to Narrow the Agenda of News Reporting and Discredit the Views of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party? The owners and editors of the Metro are highly likely to use their position of power to promote a particular political ideology.

Their use of biased reporting to discredit Keir Starmer and the Labour Partys views shows a clear bias in favour of the Conservative Party. Moreover, their news coverage disproportionately favours the Tory Party, and thus makes the coverage skewed towards a specific political ideology.

Or Is This Just Plain Old News Values at Work and the Paper Simply Providing What the Audience Demands? While the reporting of entertainment-oriented news may be in the interest of the Metros audience, providing news within an ideological framework cannot be considered old news values.

The paper is choosing to prioritise low-value Tory news stories at the expense of significant news events that shape the political landscape, which does not reflect the traditional journalistic practice of impartial and accurate reporting. Providing an accurate and comprehensive analysis of political events is fundamental to democracy, therefore, the Metros approach is a major threat to impartial journalism, consequential for the public it serves.


In conclusion, the Metros reporting of news articles and stories about the Labour Party exhibits a clear bias, creating an environment that prioritises the Conservative Party at the expense of impartial journalism. Biased journalism can have a direct impact on public opinion and shape political discourse, which, if unchallenged or unnoticed, can have significant consequences for a democratic society.

Nonetheless, the readers have the power to demand better content with higher ethical standards, thus enabling the media to fulfil its role as a watchdog of society. Conclusion:

In conclusion, biased reporting can have a significant impact on public opinion and alter our perceptions of events, politicians, and policies.

Biased reporting can be seen in different forms, such as negative bias against political parties, the prioritisation of news values, the use of language, visuals and infographics, and ideological agenda setting, which can all contribute to the spread of misinformation and the creation of public division. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of these techniques as well as promote impartiality and accuracy in news reporting.


Q: What is biased reporting? A: Biased reporting is when a news outlet presents a one-sided and subjective view of news stories or events.

Q: How can biased reporting impact society? A: Biased reporting can impact society by creating public division, spreading misinformation, and influencing public opinion.

Q: What are news values? A: News values are principles that determine what news stories to cover, how to frame them, and how to include or exclude certain details.

Q: Why is ideological agenda setting significant? A: Ideological agenda setting can influence public opinion and direct a community’s thoughts and opinions towards a specific ideology.

Q: What can be done to prevent biased reporting? A: To prevent biased reporting, it is essential to promote impartiality and accuracy in news reporting, which requires adhering to journalistic principles and avoiding sensationalism and personal biases.

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