Mainstream Media Biased Against Brexiteers
Elizabeth Anderson exposes, the offensive and untrue stereotypes, the mainstream media pushs out to their audience, about those who believe in Brexit.
As I watched Sky News’ morning show the other day, something hit me. Something which I’d been aware for some time without realising. This fact was that in Brexit debates, there are two main steorotypes, and the media like to exploit them.
Leavers are grey, older, small ‘c’ conservatives.
And remainers are young, exciting, energetic, and bouncy.
As a fairly young and fairly energetic leaver, I take objection to this. I know that I am not alone – there are, in fact, quite a number of us. We can all accept that received wisdom is that a greater proportion of leave voters were older, and indeed this is potentially true. But even so, it is accepted – even by remainers – that about 25-30% of under 25s voted to leave That’s a sizeable number of young people.
So why would the media choose to portray the two sides so differently? For my money, much of the media seems to put a filter on public opinion. Corporate values growingly seem to influence how news is presented, and there are those who feel that television media has long set a pro-EU agenda. I share that view, which can be summarised as the “despite Brexit” factor. News constantly hammers home the dangers and doom of Project Fear, an ongoing reminder of what the electorate have done in going against the establishment, and when there is good news, we must be reminded that this is an amazing feat inspite of our decision.
And so, on this basis, the remain speakers are often the young and chirpy. University educated, they see all the promise of the EU, with Erasmus tours and freedom to travel. What we hear less of are the pragmatic youth like me who don’t want a country run from overseas, or the working class youth, who’ve been left behind and now lack the means and aspiration to travel Europe – for whom the European dream of Labour with its associated government did so little.
It is time to break the stereotypes. The media must recognise that with a decision made, we should focus on the future, and young leavers may just have some good ideas for that future. Rather than dragging on a debate which has ended, the media should be talking to us about what can be achieved. The UK’s best days could well be right ahead of us, let’s talk about them.
Elizabeth Anderson coordinated Vote Leave campaigns for South East London in the 2016 referendum. She is also co-editor of the 2017 conservative policy book, True Blue.
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