Much to The Daily’s surprise, today’s Independent has another front page story worth reading, rebutting various stories in the right-wing press about immigration.
The weekend’s Sunday Murdoch covered an Ipsos MORI poll on immigration, showing increasing hostility to immigration and large majorities in favour of “tougher immigration laws” and a set limit on immigration. Women were especially hostile, and around 20% of working class voters (categories DE and social housing tenants) now want all immigration banned.
The strident tone of press coverage is a major cause of this, as much research has shown. And the coverage of asylum is even worse than that of immigration – when the two are not simplistically conflated as one.
Indeed, the Sunday Times need look no further than its red top bedfellow in the Murdoch stable, The Sun, which once (for example) ran the front page story “Swan Bake” claiming that asylum seekers were killing and eating swans from wildlife sanctuaries. Needless to say, this proved to be untrue.
Then there is this correspondent’s all time favourite from the Daily Express: “Bombers were all spongeing [sic] asylum seekers” after the July 7 bombings. At the time, only two of the bombers had been identified – and neither of them were asylum seekers. As it turned out, none of them were.
A campaign in the liberal press is welcome (though they are also occasional offenders) but until there is some real sanction for such behaviour, the tabloid preachers of hate are bound to continue.