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Does a paper's support for a party make a difference?

09:35 UK time, Saturday, 1 May 2010

Two broadsheets have both ditched their support for Labour. Do newspapers have any influence over voters?

The Guardian and its Sunday sister paper, The Observer, are backing the Liberal Democrats, with the former saying it supported their stance on electoral reform.

And The Times and The Sunday Times have switched support to the Conservatives, saying leader David Cameron was ready to govern.

In 1992 The Sun newspaper famously declared "It's The Sun wot won it" on the morning after John Major's election victory.

Have you ever been influenced by the papers? Should papers remain neutral? How much influence do newspapers have?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 12

  • Comment number 1.

    I haven't been influenced by the papers, but I expect some people will be. Some are shameless in their twisting of facts to influence the election.

  • Comment number 2.

    The whole lead up to the debates by the largely R.Murdoch media heap should and will be ignored. Speaking of propaganda, there was a Tory poster stuck on the outside of a telephone box with the curious lie "Bye Bye Bureaucracy" and somebody had scrawled "Hello 20% VAT". So you see the public are beginning the fightback!

  • Comment number 3.

    Who are these self-appointed unelected Kingmakers, such as 'The Times & the The Guardian' King making is as anachronistic as Neville the King maker in the Wars of the roses period. Even worse these two - in my opinion - previously respected publications have sunk to level of 'The Sun' and the 'News of the world', lets not forget the UK branch of Fox News - Sky News. Judging from many of the comments from slightly less powerful people than these up a dark place Editors, Gordon Brown seemed to do well on the last debate, whereas Cameron was the smarmy moneybags, who didn't answer vital questions when put on the spot by Nick Clegg & Gordon Brown. How come these Ivory tower dwellers i their editor chairs are so out of touch ?

  • Comment number 4.

    I think the papers can influence undecided voters by raising particular issues. What I think the main parties fail to realise is the strength of feeling many individuals have for specific causes. That said, most political parties, by definition retain an outdated approach of projecting their historic stance of left, right or centrists policies. This increasingly doesn't fit the way the public now think. The whole of our constitution needs to reflect the public opinion of how we are governed and what we want of a democracy. The anachronistic first past the post tribal party politics model is deeply flawed and unrepresentative and that is I suspect why the Guardian has abandoned Labour.

  • Comment number 5.

    I read the Sun, but ignore most of their political coverage as its bilge and so pro-Cameron.

    I have ALREADY voted by postal vote, Lib Dem as I am intelligent enough to make my own decision and am sorry there could be sheep who will votebecause of the paper they read.

    The Sun's political coverage is almost hysterical and you can only laugh at it.

  • Comment number 6.

    the guardian is only jumping ship to try and save labour, leapords can never change their spots

  • Comment number 7.

    No not really - not for me anyway.
    Isn't it true that most people now don't actually physically BUY newspapers? - They might look at them in shops/cafes or on the internet instead! That's the truth. And they cost a bit too! £1 for The Times now.
    However, my main really big disappointment and disgust is with The Times, who must have just lost 000s of readers by making their political allegiance with the Tories!!
    They just lost me.
    I have just written to The Times and told them that what they have done is totally unnecessary and taken this paper back towards the gutter press!!
    That's very sad for me as I will not buy/read this paper anymore,now that I know where they really stand - visibly politically biased - so what's the point of reading it anymore?!
    It's Murdoch's influence sinking to new and desperate depths!

  • Comment number 8.

    'Does a paper's support for a party make a difference'?

    Financially - probably.
    Ethically - occasionally.
    Brainwashing - definitely.

    Seriously - very encouraging to see any newspaper supporting electoral reform and proportional representation. Simply because, anything that gives power back to voters, has to be an advance in the democratic process in 100yrs?

    Majority of the population are more politically 'savvy' than many papers give them credit for. Personally, I would worry about any form of media (directly or indirectly) owned and run by Murdoch et al?

  • Comment number 9.

    no today people use the internet
    plus tv news programmes show the main story
    at least once every 15 minutes
    the only points the public will remember
    is when which ever party makes major mistakes
    such as if we go into recession, immigration,
    or a referendum.

  • Comment number 10.

    I don't care who the papers support. I will make my decision on the policies of the parties not what they think.

  • Comment number 11.

    At least the papers state their political preferences *OPENLY* Furthermore, if I don't buy a paper, I don't have to pay for their party propaganda.

    Unfortunately, the BBC claims 'neutrality' despite its pro-Labour predjuices. I can point to some BBC programmes that are more partizan than Labour party political broadcasts. Furthermore, I am forced, under threat of prosecution, to pay for the BBC's Labour party propaganda.

    So am I concerned about the papers? No. Am I concerned about the BBC's failure to meet its duty of political neutrality? YES!!

  • Comment number 12.

    It is a FACT that all forms of publicity will impact on the general public to some extent - either consciously or subliminally - which is why there is a HUGE advertising industry of which newspapers play a significant part. Of course people will react in many different ways but the press only reinforces their political views one way or the other.

  • Comment number 13.

    The important thing is how a paper presents the news and any bias in the comment that it prints, day in day out. Any statement that the editors may make about party preference should be taken as a warning to readers that there may be some bias in that direction. A reader who uses other sources of information, as well as a particular paper, should already have a good idea of its political standpoint.

    Personally I never buy newspapers which appear to be promoting a political viewpoint different from my own, though I will read the them, if I can do so for free. If I am to be subjected to political indoctrination, I certainly do not want to pay for it.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think the public has the brain to vote for a party regardless of whether a paper is pro tory or labour. It is the idiots of our society who are very easy to lead that worries me.

  • Comment number 15.

    Me, influenced? Never! Informed? Sometimes. Neutral? Rarely.

    Newspapers as indeed most news media are biased to some degree, it's human nature. That's why it's important to read a broad spectrum of media so one can develop a reasoned opinion rather than one based on the will of a single person (magnate, owner, proprietor, editor etc)

    Unfortunaetly, many feel aligned to the dogma of left or right wing papers because of social indoctrination. And newspapers editors know this which is why they have influence over the electorate.

    The antidote is literacy, education, freedom of information & freedom of choice.

    A good government must therefore raise reading & writing standards, open their filing cabinets & prevent monopolies in media & broadcasting.

    Hang on a minute! We don't have good government, do we?

    Thank goodness then we have The Beano.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'd prefer to make my own decisions about who to vote for, rather than have them influenced by the media. That is why I rarely read newspapers and get my news from politically neutral media sources, such as the BBC.

  • Comment number 17.

    I expect Sun readers will be influenced.

    They'll vote for the leader with the biggest ones.

  • Comment number 18.

    The papers should simply give a balanced view of the issues and leave the voters to make up their own minds.

  • Comment number 19.

    The Daily Mirror is a very good argument to never vote Labour

  • Comment number 20.

    The problem is that newspapers don't contain much news any more, only opinions. People would like to think that they are above being influenced by the papers but the reality is that if you get your news for a constantly biased source and mixed in with opinion rather than just the straight facts you can't help but have your world view skewed as a result.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why do the papers have to so overtly support anyone?

    We need to understand that its almost impossible to report news without introducing some kind of bias - simply deciding what stories to report introduces bias. (Why, for example, is the BBC not reporting todays rallys against public sector pay cuts which are being reported on Sky News?). Even if stories are reported what prominance they are given makes a big difference to the perception.

    Having said that it is a whole lot worse that papers come out and start recommending how people should vote. People always say (and I agree) that having totally government owned press would be dangerous but its not really clear that having the press owned by very rich corporations with very strong vested interests is really any better.

  • Comment number 22.

    Yes, newspapers are politically biased, even the Independent - which is trying to position itself as having no political allegiance (and in my view failing - just look at its website and compare its headlines of political stories compared with other media).

    However, part of freedom of speech is being able to express bias. It doesn't concern me which political party one or other newspaper supports - as we choose to buy newspapers or visit their websites. They also declare their allegiance to one party or other - so you know what you're getting when you buy them.

    Many people buy particular newspapers expecting a particular political bias. So I wonder whether it's the readership who influences the newspaper, as much as the newspaper influencing the readership.

    Unfortunately, the BBC demonstrates political bias too.

    Even a journalist who aspires to maintain political impartiality may fail to do so. Even tone of voice and body language can betray a reporter's bias.

    Nobody is impartial. We are each tainted by our upbringing, social demographic and personal circumstances.

    It does dishearten me to hear some of the electorate declare allegiance to one party based on their parents' political persuasion or habitual practice ("I've always voted X."), without considering what is best for the country, rather than their own pocket. But hey - that's my political bias!

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    I think one of the problems is that the newspapers are currently in a big financial pickle - including Murdoch!
    The public are sick of him and his "Pay" for everything culture.
    He now wants to charge for online content - but nobody wants to pay for it!!
    If you look in The Times now, you'll find it's Tory biased anyway - the Leader Column is now a joke - whereas it used to be the pride of journalism - now, it's a Tory fashion parade! Look at yesterday's, for example!
    It's also full to the brim of "trashy" advertising - who wants to read (or more importantly PAY for)that stuff?!
    Basically, we don't need newpapers anymore so they're becoming an irrelevance!

  • Comment number 25.

    Of course it matters. There are two aspects; one stinks. It is perfectly acceptable for papers to openly weigh pros and cons and come out at election times. What stinks is when a built-in editorial line spills over into and pollutes reporting. Then it becomes a steady drip, drip, drip of poison in the form of chronically biased, vituperative, highly selective "reporting" of the news itself. Papers are mostly privately owned by big business people; and which party do most of this group instinctively support? This built-in bias distorts public perception and undermines democracy.

  • Comment number 26.

    "I have ALREADY voted by postal vote, Lib Dem as I am intelligent enough to make my own decision and am sorry there could be sheep who will votebecause of the paper they read."
    - 5. At 10:29am on 01 May 2010, Andrew Lye

    Same here. I read the manifestos, made my decision, and voted Lib Dem as soon as my postal vote form arrived.

  • Comment number 27.

    The number of people who get their political views from tabloid "news"papers is frightening,I know that Murdoch has decided he wants the Tories to win,he is obviously going to gain in some way.Just the idea that he has the power through his ownership of the Sun and the Times and Fox "news"as well as Hello! etc.,that he can influence millions through his media concerns,its wrong that he,or anyone else in his position should be allowed to use media outlets to push a political bias,or viewpoint.We are all familiar with the power of suggestion,and people sometimes seem to forget about vested interests,and vote for their regular papers choice,maybe not even fully realising it.Murdoch and all other media should be banned from pushing ANY political party forward in their various media,with whopping great fines for any breach of the rule.I truly believe that this should be the case,Ban them from peddling ANY political bias,force political reportage to be impartial for the sake of fairness especially but also out of a desire to limit the power and influence of media moguls such as Murdoch,the Guardian should know better as well,shameful propagandist tactics.It is getting more like thirties Germany every day,we need to legislate against this blatant manipulation and engineering of public opinion,which is all too easily swayed by the Machiavellian subterfuge used by Murdoch in pursuit of power.Ban political bias from the front pages of all "news"papers,and from the inside as well.The owners political opinions have nothing to do with "news",his political affiliations are a matter for him and him alone,not to put ideas in peoples heads.

  • Comment number 28.

    I thought the 'respect' party would be more to the Guardian's liking.

    They have certain core subjects that both obsess about.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think newspaper support is more indicative of opinion than formative. The papers want to be read, so catering to existing opinion is better (financially) than trying to convince people of a view and risk rejection. Neither paper's change of loyalty is surprising. The Guardian has become increasingly critical of Labour and is far too left leaning to go Tory, as of course are many traditional Labour voters. The Times is more conservative, like those attracted to New Labour and I'd like to think that's it's reasoning for Tory support and not Murdoch's influence.

    In an ideal world, papers wouldn't have a party loyalty. But, since they do, I prefer them to be open about it so we know their bias.

  • Comment number 30.

    The level of bias and mistruth is incredible in this election with the Murdoch papers almost hysterical in their desperate bid to get Cameron and his cronies into power. Perhaps other people might see through their obvious bias and make their own decisions based on their experiences of life here.

    Life really is getting better and nearer a stable normality, the NHS is better, crime levels are dropping, and Camerons broken society was of his party's making. Make your own decision, not swayed by some corrupt newspaper editor.

  • Comment number 31.

    What ever happened to non biased reporting?? I don't think any news agency can claim to be neutral anymore, they're all pushing one piece of propaganda or another. I would welcome a return to FACTUAL reporting, but that doesn't sell papers.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am surprised any paper supported the labour party. They would be seriously limiting their readership to the small section of society which is no longer socialist yet not quite Tory

  • Comment number 33.

    Papers print the news that people want to hear, the things that will get them the most money.

    The same principle applies when talking about political party allegiance. They are purely showing their support (or lack of) in a strategic way to make the most paper sales and get them the most money.

    It just all comes down to money.

  • Comment number 34.

    absolutely I always vote for who the papers tell me to vote for.

    I also like the statistics they publish on issues like immigration, especially the The Mail, The Telegraph and The Spectator. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't know anything about such things.

  • Comment number 35.

    People have Power, simply do not buy these comics, do your own research, to arrive at your own conclusion.

    The written word is only somebody else's opinion, usually a Bigot!!!OOPS now I've said the B word.

  • Comment number 36.

    The Sun, The Times, Sky News, et al, will support whomever Ruper Murdoch tells them to support.

    Simply put, the Times decision is less to do with reflecting supposed popular opinion, than it is do with adhering to publishing guidelines from News International HQ.

    For anyone who believes otherwise, I have a very nice bridge to sell you.

  • Comment number 37.

    I read daily mail everyday but I am not a david cameron supporter I read it because its a more interesting read, They will never get me to vote for cameron

  • Comment number 38.

    I am not swayed at all by the papers. I just do not need them to tell me who to support at all. Have never been a floating voter and have supported the Tories all my life, come hell or high water. Let them stick to exposing crooked MPs and others, they're best at that!

  • Comment number 39.

    One little newspaper bombshell, broadcast by the BBC after the last leaders' debate, yet hardly noticed. The BBC reporter told us - from the offices of the Financial Times - how both the FT AND the City have zero faith in Osborne - they all trust and would greatly prefer Darling!! The FT and City of London have no faith in the man who'll soon be Chancellor. Why isn't this headline news? Or are the views of a Bolton pensioner more important? Let's hope, as the best Chancellor we've had prepares to hand over to the worst, the headlines in a few week's time WON'T be "UK explodes in Greek-style unrest; voters too late regret Tory victory".

  • Comment number 40.

    My concern is about News International and its desire to influence directly by lobying politicians and through its TV and Newspaper subsidaries, policy and politics across the world. They reflect a vehemently neo-conservative view of the world, the view that generated the policies that caused the bank crisis, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and those that have increased injustice and inequity across the world. It comes as no surprise therefore that the Times now supports the Tories. News International knows it has infuenced election results before through its newspapers - why else did Tony Blair and then Cameron court their favour. So yes the papers do influence some. I suspect that TV and the internet is now more of an influence. This explains News Internationals frenetic desire to get rid of the BBC and publicly funded broadcasting where balanced reporting is the required ethic. As yet I have not identified its strategy for contolling the internet! For me they provide an excellent reason not to vote Conservative!

  • Comment number 41.

    Of course newspapers affect opinion. Readers may claim to not believe what they read, but the steady day-by-day drip of opinion and information must have an effect of some magnitude. However, this effect is offset by common sense. The Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express and Times have a combined readership of 18 million, which is 10 (ten) times the combined readership of the Guardian and the Independent, so it is a tribute to the resistance of the human mind to propaganda that electoral opinion is so evenly spread. A more neutral media would result in a far more progressive Britain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sky news is leading with the Times' decision to back Cameron - "another blow for Labour's campaign". As the Sun did of course weeks ago. Now who owns the Times? The Sun? Sky News?

  • Comment number 43.

    They certainly do.
    As (one kind of ) evidence, a lot of the posts on online forums just seem to rehash the discourses spoken about in the newspapers - and in other media, of course. Either the paper's social media managers are very active, or people are absorbing and restating these opinions. I would not like to cite this forum as an example, as of course the self-referential nature of the question we're all answering means we ought to have more sense...and then, this is the BBC website, of course ;). I would agree with many of the posters that the internet and growth of new media have had an increased influence, and I'm sure we'll read about the analyses from our political-networking gurus after the fact...

  • Comment number 44.

    My generation (the 45 and below) pretty much knew that newspapers weren't the truth, they were a party line, when we grew up. So I think that newspapers are less influential than they once were.

    When the internet came around, it became possible to answer them back. With email, you can email party leaders and complain. I did twice this campaign.

    1. When the Right Wing Press smeared Clegg, LibDem support went up. Because people saw a hatchet job and didn't like it.
    2. Murdoch supports the winner. He always has. He's interested in staying in with those in power. He's shifted to the Tories if he thinks they will be closer to winning than Labour, so they'll likely be a minority or a coalition.
    3. Many Guardian readers were LibDems years ago. Some preferred that to the Independent which was really the only other choice they had. I doubt the Guardian's readers are following the newspaper, it's more likely the other way around.
    4. The most danger is when papers commission opinion polls which are clearly tilted. The danger is greatest when a momentum is created using false polls.
    5. What the media owners fear most is stable coalitions. Because they lose power and influence which returns to the electorate.

    If we want people not to be influenced by the media so much, we educate our children about how the media works.

  • Comment number 45.

    When the Sun changed a few months ago we had this debate, great use of tax payers money having it again!

    Also when the sun changed the BBC did an article on who the papers supported. It listed only one paper supporting Labour (The Mirror) so either

    A - the previous article was badly researched/plain wrong
    B - this article is badly researched/plain wrong

    As a former reader of the Times I personally never felt they supported Labour, they were pretty harsh on Brown since almost his first day and have been swooning over Cameron since his first day - like the rest of the media who love the though of another media orientated PM ala Blair!

    In an ideal world the papers and the rest of the media should be neutral
    but since even those who claim they are neutral aren't perhaps there is somthing to be said for the american system where at least you know where everyone stands! The UK papers are simply more honest (and not bound by law) than the TV stations, everyone knows that certain channells generally take a certain view, but it is ignored as it is not "declared support"

    Personally I think the Media should be banned from doing any sort of opinion pieces on politics for at least the duration of the election, they should go back to doing what they were formed to do

    Find out FACTS!

    If any of them remember what facts are!

    I am so sick of the constant wishy-washy opinion lead journalism of all the papers and tv news channels, the fact that they call themselves journalists is, quite frankly, a disgrace. They are not, they are gossip-mongers!

  • Comment number 46.

    I find it incredibly amusing how Labour supporters are attacking the Murdoch press for supporting Tory in this election where as they were perfectly happy when they were supporting Labour in the last three elections. This makes a lot of the snide comments about "well who do you expect big business to support" etc. rather invalid.

    It's an election campaign. Everybody who cares about politics tries to influence/persuade everybody else. You only have to look at the number of party hacks who flood these HYS "debates" to try and convince everybody that their party is doing better than the rest. There are undoubtedly a number of people who are swayed by what they perceive as being "popular" or "fashionable". Try standing in amongst a large group of Labour supporters and declare your support for the Conservatives or vice versa. For some people it's easier to fall in with the crowd. However, I believe (I hope!) that when individuals are alone in the ballot box they will vote with what they think is right and not what their mates/the papers/bloke in the pub/HYS posters tell them they should vote.

  • Comment number 47.

    yes? and it should not? all media can have an effect? and these stupid polls? newspapers should print news? and not have opinions on how people vote? many people believe what the papers say? " i don't) the oppiste in fact? i dont need the media to tell me how to vote? the telegraph? sky? etc have there own axes to grind? and should stickto news? and not try to infuence the british public how to vote? they are quite happy making there own minds up? like some crimial who's going on trial the papers are not allowed to say anything? so they should not be allowed to on peoples votes? (im'e not saying they are criminals? he he) we want the goverment to run the country? not the media ? so but out? taking the opinion of a couple of thousand people and judging it on how the country feels is utter rubbish? and theres so much rubbish on tv and newspape that people are relieved when it's all over? as for the polititions spoutin of ontv and media? talks cheap? actionspeaks louder than words? and that's why i voted for mr brown "gereatricgeorge" have a nice day

  • Comment number 48.

    32. At 10:54am on 01 May 2010, angry_of_garston wrote:

    I am surprised any paper supported the labour party. They would be seriously limiting their readership to the small section of society which is no longer socialist yet not quite Tory


    Do you really think that everyone who buys the Sun/Times/News of the World supports the Conservatives?

  • Comment number 49.

    I wouldn't be influenced by Newspapers, the BBC or any other mainstream. Journalists have their own vested interest in manipulating "public opinion", just as politicians do, which leads to a bias.

    To answer the question though, yes, some people are influenced some of the time.

  • Comment number 50.

    I haven't bought a paper in years - if I do get to read one I am always amazed at how they report their own contained world. I am offended by the red tops as much by their bias as their stereotyping. They seem to belong in an episode of Life of Mars or Ashes to Ashes.

  • Comment number 51.

    It is terribly important for some MP's. Take Oxford for instance where two parties have queried the use of funds for anti-radicalism being used by another party to prop up the their vote through shopping trips for voters. The local paper recognised as having a bias is not interested in the story. Is it because it would damage the vote for the party they back - undoubtedly.
    It's a disgrace.

  • Comment number 52.

    scotbot wrote:

    The Sun, The Times, Sky News, et al, will support whomever Ruper Murdoch tells them to support.


    ===========

    And left wing parties have the mother of all media on their side, the BBC.

    Paid for by all, benefiting a minority.

  • Comment number 53.

    I have my own mind . Rampant right winger on some issues and liberal leftie on others . But newspaper-wise I tend towards the relatively central quality papers , and indeed am more influenced by the sport section , the crossword or the freebies that often go with the paper

    But for every person who thinks for themselves , there's another who doesn't . And both votes count

    The Times going for the Tories is no real shock . The Guardian going for the Lib-Dems is more significant

    In any event i prefer to get as unbiased a view as possible from my media - and some papers , and indeed TV like Sky - are reflective of their owners' views . So I tend to stick to the terrestrial channels and especially BBC for my politics


  • Comment number 54.

    I think people are affected by what they read. In the have your say 2 days ago several posts mentioned a recording of David Cameron shouting down a woman who was trying to get her questions answered - and saying this was not in the media anywhere. This is what I object to, someone else deciding what we can/should read about. Best advice I can give, if you must believe what the papers say, please, just once, splash out and buy 10 different papers on the same day, and even just a look at the front pages will show you they are all saying different things, but claiming they are right. I would rather see a clip of front pages on BBC news website each day, would tell us reams more than all the analysis.

  • Comment number 55.

    I enjoy reading a newspaper if it has a decent crossword, and prefer broadsheet. I ditched The Times when it changed format, having said broadsheet would remain available. There are are some dire newspapers about, so The Telegraph is the only option left- if that goes tabloid I'll save my £1.

    Clearly there's obvious party support and skewed, even obviously untruthful reporting. Any reader knows that ink doesn't make a statement true, but we're happy to reinforce our prejudices.

    We can't change that.

    What should be stopped is use of taxpayers money to provide ad revenue to one overtly govt supporting paper. The govt now being shown the door has spent massively on publicity- is press expenditure transparent and fairly placed?

  • Comment number 56.

    I suppose they do influence the naive types who believe everything in print, but as for myself they have no influence whatsoever.

  • Comment number 57.

    I think this time as much if not more than ever. If people are as torn as we are led to believe between voting Tory to avoid a hung parliament and voting Lib Dem then so much can swing depending on confidence. If the papers portray Lib Dem as having a chance to get in then more voters will vote for them. If the papers play up the risk of hung parliament then some of those voters will switch to Tory out of fear.

  • Comment number 58.

    I bought a paper a week or so ago. But only for a coupon that was in it - the paper went in the recycle bin unread! I can't remember the previous time I bought one. It was at least a couple of years ago.

    Instead, I keep an eye on the news by reading a variety of news websites, both national and local. It's interesting how different sites cast a different light on the same story.

    However .. I've always kept in mind the following observation: when the papers/websites report on something I have personal knowledge of, be it a particular incident, or something technical that is in my area of expertise, it is without exception full of errors, misleading, or otherwise inaccurate. I have to then ask myself, if that is the case for the items I know something about, why then should I accept that anything else they print isn't similarly distorted? So I take everything with a pinch of salt.

  • Comment number 59.

    The newspapers are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Everyone is saying that this should have been the first internet election but nothing has happened, only to then ignore anything that does happen on the internet. For example, a facebook poll put Clegg the winner of the third debate with 42% of the vote. This hasn't been reported at all. The fact is the mainstream media is ignoring what's happening on the internet because it is at odds with their perceptions of what is happening. If Clegg got 42% of the national vote, according to the BBC graphics, he'd be prime minister. But not a whisper of that on the main stream media.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think we should be more concerned about TV than newspaper bias, the BBC is so pro Labour, Nick Robinson and Andrew Marr must be fully paid up members of the Gordon Brown appreciation society.

  • Comment number 61.

    Yes. I will never vote for anyone supported by The Sun!

  • Comment number 62.

    What a set of turncoats The Times and The Guardian are shame on you both. But having said that I haven't bought a newspaper for nearly 10 years so the gutter press wouldn't influence my vote anyway.

  • Comment number 63.

    I will not vote for the consevatives because:

    1) The NHS would be used as a money spinning operation by the drugs company's to make money on un-proven drugs.

    2) Making state schools into sodo-private schools by handing them over to parents. who then will be able to displin the children of those parents?

  • Comment number 64.

    I don't care who the papers support. I will make my decision on the policies of the parties not what they think.

    Would that be in a manifesto which is not legally binding and which the party, once in power, can discard at any moment?

  • Comment number 65.

    Do what I do and read them all, your views will eventually balance out.
    The Sun and NOTW spurred me to get educated as to not become one of their readership.
    The Mirror and the Guardian are both excellent examples to never vote Labour and a valuable insight what the socialists would do if left unopposed.
    The Daily Mail is a good example of what would happen if the country went too far too the right, if anyone has friends that are 'not white, straight etc ', be fearful for them if these guys were in charge.

    As a result, my views are thus

    Socialism is a failed experiment currently administered by lunatics with no sense of the value of money or the sheer hard work that a lot of people have to do to make it. They just want to equalise everybody (a la communism)and will do it by dragging everybody down to the lowest level possible.
    I am not quite Tory either as the capitalists have only self interest at heart. A true Tory government would just capitalise all profits and socialise all losses but at least social mobility would be better under them as they do posess meritocratic values that labour seem to
    despise.
    The Liberals are quite dangerous, more so than the other two combined as they have absolutely no idea of the value of money and how fragile even a booming economy can be. They would sacrifice everyone for the sake of someone.
    Until a party comes along that enforces capitalism, a true free market but with distinct red lines as to where the money is allowed to be made from (i.e. NHS, water, electricity, housing all under public domain) as to not ever profit from human misery. I want one that would have let the banks fail and let the shareholders lose money but would have spent the billions helping the people that would directly lose out (savers, homeowners). I also want one that would bring back grammar schools and champion selection in education so clever people from poor backgrounds never get left behind while the not so clever , already rich dont get all of the good jobs because of the brand of school they went to.
    I could go on forever but their is not one single party that currently offers this.

  • Comment number 66.

    God they do influence voters! The lady referred to as a bigot by GB, even though she was a natural Labour supporter, came out with bigoted language on immigration and 'scroungers' which was lifted straight from tabloid newspapers. eg "All those immigrants coming from Eastern Europe", when we know most have gone back.

    Sky newspapers, particularly, have provided the language and the sound bites for this election for sheeplike populations to echo. Remember, thought is internalised speech. The Tory / Sky newspapers axis has brainwashed decent folk using serial lying and repeated bigoted language. Sky couldn't believe their luck when they hit target with Brown. The poor deluded lady came out with their sound bites and got called bigoted in the most destructive way by Brown. 'Bull's Eye' they must have said. Their arrows found their target.

    This will not happen now, but I think our newspapers should not be allowed to be owned by foreign capitalists. Also TV and internet providers should not own newspapers. There is too much of a monopoly, in this country, of self-interested capitalists. ie Murdock

  • Comment number 67.



    Does a paper's support for a party make a difference?


    Not much difference, I think. A person has only to read the LibDem policies quickly for themselves to know that they are very poor policies.

  • Comment number 68.

    I gave up reading newspapers years ago. No one with half a braincell really believes anything printed in a newspaper do they? - If they do we really are all in serious trouble!

  • Comment number 69.

    The sad fact is that most of the papers are so biased it's impossible to get a balanced view from them. If you are a Daily Mail reader you know they will bash labour even though their king-elect Cameron has performed poorly in the campaign. Like many, I thought he was the slick, articulate, dead-cert for PM, but Clegg has out-done him and now Cameron looks hunted now. It's fascinating. What concerns me is that serious argument gets lost in the biased reporting. For example, if the Conservatives get in it's said that they will make immediate cuts in public spending which will cost tens of thousands of jobs in the public sector. They say they can save money immediately. But the fact is, if they shut down your local tax office, benefit office, Jobcentre, Passport office etc most of those losing their jobs will be entitled to 2 to 3 years severance pay which will cost many millions. So where are the savings?

  • Comment number 70.

    #5 - so why do you read the Sun at all? Its basically a comic.

  • Comment number 71.

    I do not tend to buy papers, as they have over the years proved to be full of mainly lies, exaggeration and extremely bias views. I even view the TV guide with a good deal of circumspectness! My spell checker did not like that word!

  • Comment number 72.

    There is little point a newspaper aiming itself at Labour voters.

    The majority can't read.

  • Comment number 73.

    Have we not been subjected to rip-off Britain long enough to realise that newspapers are businesses too. As such they will always but their own bottom line interests before anything else including the interests of those who buy their papers. They will be pushing for you to vote for a particular party because they think that will be best for them businesswise and not because they think it will do the electors the best good!

  • Comment number 74.

    Of course it makes a difference, most people would agree that it works as follows

    Times - usually non committal - now Conservative
    Guardian - usually fiercely Labour - now LibDems
    Independent - Labour, but bizarre
    Mail - sort of old fashioned strange Conservative ish
    Express - Depends on house prices
    FT - whatever business thinks is best
    Mirror - Labour
    Sun - Conservative
    Sport - You've got to be joking

    News - Sky -reasonably unbiased - now Conservative - was Labour
    ITV - reasonably unbiased - sort of veering towards Cons/LibDems
    BBC - anyone but Conservatives/ quasi Marxist

    If it didn't make a difference the political parties would not work do hard to get their points across.

  • Comment number 75.

    No they make no difference, their bias is obvious in virtually every word each of the papers write. The way the papers have behaved in their coverage of this election is irresponsible. I have given up buying papers as a result.

  • Comment number 76.

    Dear Web-of-Deceit - if the Daily Mirror is "a good reason for never voting Labour" - what the hell is the Sun? A good reason for wondering why I bothered to learn to read?

  • Comment number 77.

    Murdoch thinks the Conservative Party will break up and weaken the BBC, reducing competition and allowing him to make more money. He has no interest in democracy. His only interest is in his own power and adding yet another £Billion to his reserves.
    Murdoch is most certainly NOT acting in our interests. We should do the same as USA and insist that our media can only be owned by citizens of our country.

  • Comment number 78.

    Have you not noticed, we no longer live in a World where, even supposedly intelligent people are left to make up their own minds upon ANY subject.

    The Times has a pull out today (Saturday) telling me that they have backed the winner of every election since 1900. This is linked to their "vote Cameron" pitch so, I would be foolish to waste my vote on anybody else!

    The Leaders' Debates, on television, had to be linked to "the worm" so that I would know what to think.

    Arrrghhh!! The thought police have arrived.

  • Comment number 79.

    Sadly the answer is yes, newspapers do influence people's opinions. In fact there are a large number of people who are completely unable to think for themselves and so their "opinions" come directly from their newspaper.

    The issue is not so much about whether newspapers should remain neutral, but the enormous right-wing bias in the UK's press. That has affected election results in the past and will continue to do so as so many people can't think for themselves.

  • Comment number 80.

    Funny how the left-wingers didn't complain all the time that The Sun was backing NuLab.
    I think it's just a case of the media being no longer afraid of the NuLab bully-boys, and what could happen if they spoke out against them.
    People tend to love winners!
    I still think that this election might be a good one to lose for the Conservatives, appart from a LibLab coalition diving headlong into Europe, with VAT on food etc., and changing the voting system so that we have hung parliaments for ever more.

  • Comment number 81.

    I dont read newspapers because they are biased towards the tories! They bend the truth, say lies, why would I buy such rubbish? I will never buy "news"papers that are in effect propaganda sheets for the tories.

  • Comment number 82.

    obviously newspapers have some effect on voting intentions, if they didn't editors would not pin their colours to a political party. Most voters are not stupid; they know that newspapers have their own agendas e.g the Sun has jumped on the Tory bandwagon because it thought it was backing theparty that would romp to victory as they did with Labour in 1997. Most of us will not vote for a particular party because the papers tell us to. We will vote based on our own circumstances and perception of the party policies and their leaders. All I would ask is that people vote on May 6th. It would be tragic for democracy e.g if the Cons win because of the apathy of Labour voters or vice versa. Let us hope that the results on May 7th reflect the will of the majority of voters and not the prejudice of the Newspaper Barons

  • Comment number 83.

    52 SystemF wrote:

    "And left wing parties have the mother of all media on their side, the BBC. Paid for by all, benefiting a minority."

    How many times have you accused the BBC of being left-wing? Repeating the same accusation ad nauseam doesn't make it true, especially when you provide no evidence whatsoever.

    The BBC is objective and is not influenced by a right-wing owner as virtually all media outlets are. That is the truth.

  • Comment number 84.

    I agree with the Guardian's stance on this occasion - the way I read it is that they are backing Lib Dems in the hope that this will result in proportional representation being introduced for Westminster elections. This in turn may lead to different and more sophisticated voting patterns, as in elections for the Scottish Parliament where we have 2 votes, one for an individual MSP and one for the regional list. I think this has worked well - although I didn't particularly want an SNP government, it seems to me that Scottish politics have become more consensual and more grown-up than before.

  • Comment number 85.

    Does anybody read the papers ????????? dont follow sheep make your own mind up , luckily on holiday next week to miss all the hipe and garbage . Have fun everyone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    I stopped buying a newspaper, The Timss not because of it's news content but the incredible amount of paper I was recycling, ie all the supplements that were of no interest.

    i would certainly not base my vote on the endorsement of any paper, red top or otherwise.

    I have always voted, always for the same party and will do so again next week.

    I shall vote for the party that will do its best for the country, deal with the debt that Brown has saddled us will, reform education, help small businesses, maintain frontline services whilst tackling the overmanagement problem, supports our armed forces, supports our farmers, gives freedom back to the individual and does not integrate any further with the EU.

  • Comment number 87.

    Reply to post #46 @ 11:11am on 1st May - 'suchan104'.

    Are you a 'party hack'?

    Do HYS posters have to be party hacks or Labour supporters to be suspicious of Murdoch/News International in their support of ANY particular political party?

    Well, it's always good to know the most patronising are the most amused?

  • Comment number 88.

    If the BBC is quasi marxist then the Sun and the Express are quaisi Fascist. Both the latter have shamelessly along with the Mail on occaision twisted facts and reality on issues. The Sun came up with a total lie recently when they claimed, 'taxes on the Rich were attacking success'. Wrong. A Robin hood tax which many now support is to help cut our debt and prevent serious cuts which will have a devasting effect on the economy as many economists agree. Furthermore taxes and regulation are to prevent the sort of greed culture and shameless gambling that caused the reccession. Obviously the Sun has not heard of the 1929 crash or what caused it but the Sun and the Express have the morals of a toilet and people who read them need serious help though I suspect in the case of the Sun its the titilation and gossop that they like rather than the sorry politics they now support. If we went along with the Sun's mentality then we will have another devastating economic crisis very soon. Even the USA wants tougher regulation on the markets and that says something about the dangerous and pathetic attitude of Tory england.

  • Comment number 89.

    There are always the gullible types who follow the papers - all I can say is if a Murdoch paper goes one way, its highly likely I'll go the other.

  • Comment number 90.

    #32 angry_of_garston wrote:

    "I am surprised any paper supported the labour party. They would be seriously limiting their readership to the small section of society which is no longer socialist yet not quite Tory"

    That comment says more about your narrow world view than you could ever imagine. Despite being denigrated and victimised by the right-wing press since the days of Thatcher, there are still many socialists around. The truly sad thing is they no longer have a socialist party to vote for.

  • Comment number 91.

    Yes, of course the newspapers make a huge difference to British politics but in this instance the change of support has come so late that they are merely following their readership rather than leading it.

  • Comment number 92.

    #72 Loftgroov wrote:

    "There is little point a newspaper aiming itself at Labour voters. The majority can't read."

    It is little wonder that the Conservatives have been out of power for so many years if this reflects the intellect of their supporters.

  • Comment number 93.

    Nos it doesn't matter what the papers say.. Newspapers give the readers what the reader wants ,else it losses readers. simple as that

    Do you honestly think that if newspaper backed a loser in this election that the paper's credibilty would suffer After the election!!!

  • Comment number 94.

    I guess it has cuts both ways really.

    I should imagine a papers support is vital, but if the leader you are endorsing messes up like the other day, then I guess it is a risk distancing yourself from.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    I am over 60 and therefore cynical beyond belief. I think what I think and believe what I believe. I never believe anything I glean from just ONE newspaper.
    Many years ago I managed a Newsagents. I remember an horrific plane crash which was described in detail by the 8 or 10 newspapers we offered for sale the next day. EVERY SINGLE ONE differed in the number of casualties!
    I rest my case...

  • Comment number 97.

    74. At 11:51am on 01 May 2010, RichYork wrote:

    BBC - anyone but Conservatives/ quasi Marxist


    Every now and then on HYS you have can have a good laugh. So Nick Robinson has gone from being the Leader of the Young Conservatives and a member of the Bullingdon club to a Marxist, quite a leap.

    Seriously all papers have their political bias but largely how the BBC is viewed says more about the politics of the viewer than the broadcaster. They do try to be impartial however they fall into the trap of reporting news largely concocted by the papers.

    We are relatively naive in this country in the States were the media is dominated by the right wing many are becoming a little more suspicious. Murdoch spreads his web and many are caught. The Brown gaffe picked up by Sky when they normally agree not to broadcast private conversations. A car crashing the next day near the Labour poster launch! The BBC repeat these antics and are sucked into the Murdoch mire. In the States you just have to watch Fox news to see how pernicious it can get.

    We must fight for the independence of the BBC but I'm afraid if the Tories get in and it comes to pay back time the right wing media bosses will expect their pound of flesh

  • Comment number 98.

    Doesn't matter one single bit, most papers peddle propaganda so this isn't any different i wont be voting they are all flawed and obviously not willing to work together for the best of us, since all lab, con, talk about how dangerous it would be if it was more BALANCED, they sound like arrogant, power hungry, and when parliament is back they will officially act like children as they have always done.

  • Comment number 99.

    When The Sun changed alliances from Labour to the Tories, everyone thought a Conservative landslide was inevitable. Although that was more than a year ago, and in my opinion a big stratigic failure as it did nothing to build momentum for the Tories in the election.

    If indeed the Tories do fail on election day, it will be a massive 2 fingers up to the print press as we the people won't vote for a particular party just because they say so.

  • Comment number 100.

    I have long been aware of the party political bias in national newspapers and am savvy enough to recognise it when I see it.

    The extent of which it has an impact of course depends on the circulation of the rag in question, which can therefore be either quite limited or quite extensive.

    It does seem odd to me however that the major broadcasters and radio, such as the BBC, can be fined under election rules if they say something 'pro' a particular party during campaigning.

    However the traditional press do not come under the same regulations so if they say anything to support their 'choosen one', to my knowledge they are not fined. If someone attacks them for this they then usually cite 'freedom of the press', etc.

    Time for a consistency review, methinks.

 

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