Left-Wing Groups Dominate the Airwaves

Despite claims made on Twitter whenever right-of-centre types appear on talk shows or panels, statist groups receive more media attention than free-market groups and are mentioned six times more frequently in the national media. According to our research, groups advocating higher spending have 40 times more funding and 37 times as many staff at their disposal than groups supporting lower spending. As a consequence, they unsurprisingly appear in the media far more often.

Using a media monitoring agency* we looked at media coverage for one week in the summer between the Tory leadership election and the general election. We found that well-funded groups advocating left-of-centre statist policies dominated coverage:

  • Think tanks and campaign groups advocating lower spending comprise just one in ten of the total prominent groups, yet around half of that total advocate higher spending.
  • Think tanks and campaign groups advocating higher public spending are mentioned in the national media six times more frequently than those advocating lower public spending.
  • Think tanks and campaign groups advocating higher public spending have 37 times as many staff at their disposal as those advocating lower public spending.

Think tanks and campaign groups advocating higher public spending enjoy funding 40 times greater than those advocating lower public spending.

During the week we studied, low spending advocates were mentioned far less frequently than higher spending advocates:

The big spenders have far more staff:

The high spenders have millions more in funding compared to the few, far smaller, lower spending advocates:

Our research shows that the right is outnumbered, outspent and appears on the airwaves far less frequently than the left’s advocacy groups. No need to ask who funds them – it is usually the taxpayers…

Download research [Advocacy Funding and Media Metrics]

*Methodology: A media monitoring agency provided a list of all national press and broadcast mentions between 11 August 2019 and 17 August 2019 of five key phrases selected to capture media coverage of research by think tanks and campaign groups: ‘campaign’, ‘launch’, ‘launching’, ‘new research’ and ‘report’. The names of organisations based in the United Kingdom mentioned in the 8,671 press articles and broadcast excerpts were extracted and the number of mentions calculated.
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