Media influenced Brexit vote: study

Immigration coverage in the UK national press played a huge part in influencing last June’s Brexit vote, a new report shows.

A study carried out by King’s College London’s centre for the study of media, communication and power (CMCP) examined 15,000 articles published online by 20 national news outlets in the build up to Brexit.

Immigration, along with the economy, was the main focus of the debate in the media in the ten weeks preceding the referendum. And CMCP’s study has found that the majority of the coverage was “acrimonious and divisive”.

The economy was the most covered campaign issue, with 7,028 articles compared with 4,383 about immigration, though the latter were more prominent.

Immigration featured on the front page of 99 news outlets during this ten-week period, with 79 of these stories published on pro-leave sites. The majority of this negative coverage came from three online publications: the Mail, the Sun and the Express.

According to Martin Moore, CMCP’s director, the scaremongering tactics used by advocates on both side of the Brexit debate have led to a steep drop in public’s trust in the media and politics in general.

The report stated: “Given the extent to which each side accused the other of dishonesty and scaremongering, and the extent to which these claims were picked up and often amplified in news outlets, it would be surprising if the public’s political trust had not diminished, and their fears had not increased, after the vote of 23 June 2016.”

Article published 10th May 2017