Guido Fawkes has been monitoring ministerial appearances on British media. Its ‘Minister Media Monitor‘ uses the criterion that these occasions when a minister is showing their face have to be proper booked appearances and not journalistic ‘doorstepping’ where a minister is caught on the move or visiting somewhere; they are in a studio to answer questions from a presenter or the public.
According to Guido, “Sky News won the battle of the producers to book ministers for their programmes in April”. However, the figure is not broken down by actual programme. The truth is that the state sector dominates in the appearance of government ministers by a factor of about four-to-one. The Sky News Channel just takes the top spot. Here are the figures in full:
|Ministers appearing in April 2016 on|
|Programme||State Sector media||Private Sector media|
|World at One||5||0|
|BBC Any Questions||3||0|
|BBC Question Time||2||0|
|*Other includes Channel 4 News, Good Morning Britain and ITV News, so this statistic might be included in the total for the state sector as well.|
This does demonstrate the absolute domination of the state sector in broadcast political media in this country. For ministers to be able to get their message across to the public, they really have little choice but to go through a BBC producer. While Sky may be at the top of the league, the rest of the table is dominated by an organisation that is funded by regressive taxation and has a definite liberal media agenda. This can hardly be healthy for a modern democracy when a minister is mainly challenged from a single, liberally statist perspective.