Is the media biased?

Last week students learnt in an assembly about Fake News how important it is to use skills and knowledge learnt at school from subjects such as History, Geography, Science, English, Media Studies and Maths to question and understand the news. Today an excellent news article in the BBC explores how the British media have received flack for their reporting of the Finsbury Park terrorist and hate crime attack. A useful YouTube video lasting just 3 minutes gives you some much needed advice on how to spot Fake News.


Watch TV to help your Crime and Punishment knowledge

My parents were strict on how much TV we could watch. This was pre-Internet days, so the biggest thing to pull us away from doing the homework, household chores, doing sport or practising the flute was TV.  Only being allowed to watch 30 minutes TV a day felt like torture so when I chose to do Media Studies GCSE the joy of being able to say “I’ve got to watch A, B and C for homework” was a welcome passport to TV heaven.

So what is out there in the realms of television that might help you relax from over zealous revision and increase your knowledge of crime and punishment at the same time?


Up there as a number one priority for people trying to learn about crime and punishment has got to be Netflix’s Making a Murderer. Filmed over 10 years, the real-life thriller follows a DNA exoneree who, while exposing police corruption, becomes a suspect in a grisly new crime. It will have you gripped from start to finish.

The Independent lists an excellent collection of documentaries that those people suffering from the demise of Making a Murderer can turn to when wanted to continue following real life storylines about crime.

Focusing on the death penalty you might watch Redemption with Jamie Foxx playing Stanley Tookie Williams or Let Him Have It with a young Chris Eccleston playing Derek Bentley.

Or perhaps you’d prefer some fictional characters. Broadchurch has recently finished on Series 3 with its police investigations, causes of crime and court scenes. Whereas Line of Duty can offer police corruption with some intermittent court cases too.

Sexism in the Media

What causes people to be prejudice? You might answer with propaganda; family and peers; ignorance; scapegoats; nationalism; fear of outsiders; education; socialisation; and the media.

media fault

This is something to keep in mind when looking at the Daily Mail’s headline today about the meeting of Theresa May (British Prime Minister) and Nicola Sturgeon (the Scottish First Minister) where they discussed Brexit and the Scottish desire to have another independence referendum:

legs it

Plenty of newspapers have reported outcry at the sexist Daily Mail headline which focused on two female leaders legs rather than the serious political debate. Under the headline, “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” and alongside a photo of the two leaders sitting down for talks at a Glasgow hotel, the paper wrote: “It wasn’t quite stilettos at dawn…”

Ms Morgan, a former secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities, tweeted in reaction: “Seriously? Our two most senior female politicians are judged for their legs not what they said #appallingsexism”.

She told BBC Radio 5 live the Mail’s coverage was: “Deliberately provocative, and deliberately demeaning. How the prime minister deals with it is entirely a matter for her,” she said, but added: “You’ve got two very senior female politicians who are discussing weighty issues and this is what a national newspaper thinks is appropriate.”

The BBC reports how the Daily Mail responded to its critics by saying “get a life”. What do you think? Is this sexism in the media and could it influence the public on how we look at females in positions of leadership and power?

Ultra-orthodox Jewish Newspapers Won’t Publish Photos of Women

It’s hard to believe that in 2016 when gender equality has been celebrated and supported in the West since the 1970s that some religious groups still have a problem with female imagery. Ultra-orthodox Jewish newspapers which won’t publics photographs of women are currently struggling to cover the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and one does wonder how they’re going to cope if she make it to US President in November!

In Britain the last four decades have witnessed an enormous religious renaissance of orthodox Judaism with several organisations like Lubavitch, Aish, The Jewish Learning Exchange (JLE) and Project SEED spearheading the change. Aish runs packed weekly lectures in its centres in North London and annually takes up to 500 young people for three week study programmes to Israel, Australia or New York. They recently had the success of their programmes endorsed by MORI which reported, ‘Of those participants who have married or have become engaged since participating in the program, 97% have chosen a Jewish partner. Of those who remain single, 92% are committed to marrying someone Jewish who shares a commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people.’

Being an orthodox Jew is difficult if you are gay, as homosexuality is not seen as acceptable. A BBC article about being a gay Orthodox Jew describes the difficulty a woman faced living in a society which wouldn’t accept her.

Plot to kills hundreds in US foiled – did you know about it?

The Independent newspaper is saying it’s quite suspicious that few news websites and broadcasters have reported the story about a white extremist group in the US, called the Crusaders, which planned to blow up trucks near to an apartment block where 120 Somali residents live in Kansas. The plan was to kill and injury people in their apartments and take out a Mosque too.  Prosecutors also said the men talked about attacking some of the area churches that have helped settle refugees and helped them get jobs.

Hillary Clinton commented on the arrests and the men’s plot as being “highly disturbing”. Perhaps just as disturbing is the lack of coverage for this story.

Sacked for being male and white

BBC presenter Bob Holmes who’d appeared on Radio 4’s the Now Show for 18 years has complained that he was sacked because he was male and white.

“Should I, as a white man (through no fault of my own), be fired from my job because I am a white man?” he asks. “Arguably, yes. You may well think I’m crap on The Now Show, and that’s fine, but to be told it’s because I’m the wrong sex and colour? I’m just not sure that’s helpful to anyone’s cause. If we are now openly giving jobs to people based on the colour of their skin, surely that is only emphasising just the kind of social division that the equality that I was brought up to embrace strives to eliminate?” he writes.

“So what if – and I know this is radical – but what if everything and every job in all walks of life was open to everyone equally, and we all just agree that everyone’s the same, by which I mean – you know – ‘human’?”

The BBC are not completely agreeing with his version of events.  A BBC spokesman said: “While the government’s new charter for the BBC does set us diversity targets, we always hire presenters on merit. We’d like to thank Jon Holmes for his contribution but our comedy shows are constantly evolving and it was simply time to create opportunities for new regulars when The Now Show returns this autumn. Jon’s contract was lapsed and wasn’t renewed and this was a creative not a diversity decision.”

Should some areas of public life such as the media, the police, the NHS and education, have positive discrimination where racial groups or genders which are not fairly represented with an open employment policy, can get a leg up and extra support to succeed in getting a job? Or should it be completely equal chances for all?


Fireman Sam in trouble with the Qur’an

Fireman Sam has got a bit political with an episode of the children’s TV animation showing a character slipping on a piece of paper which turns out to have Surah Mulk 67 verses 13-27 from the Qur’an written on it!


The production company for the TV programme has apologised and claimed that it was an innocent mistake by the animators – a company they’ve now cut ties with. Sounds a bit suspicious to me.

Here is a really bad quality YouTube clip of it too.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted: “I have no idea what went through the producers’s minds when they thought this was a good idea #baffled”