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Richard Broughton @Richard_Ampere
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Thread: How are UK online news outlets covering #Brexit in 2018? An analysis, with data and charts!

Part 2: **Cabinet vs Shadow Cabinet**

#Labour #Conservatives

Again, usual spiel on being conducted in personal capacity
I’ll start off with saying that this really isn’t looking great for the Shadow Cabinet… So for the faint of heart or easily enraged, look away now. 1/
Across ~2000 news headlines on #Brexit since Jan 18, there were 463 references to Conservative Cabinet ministers, and just 48 for their Shadow counterparts.

In other words, 91% of news headline references to Cabinet-level MPs were to Government politicians. 2/
Boris Johnson alone achieved as many #Brexit headlines as the *entire* Shadow Cabinet combined… As did the combination of the duo of David Davis and Philip Hammond. 3/
So how does this break down across outlets. Well, because the Shadow Cabinet figures are so low, it’s difficult to see, so I’ve calculated each as a proportion of their respective totals
The Sun and Mirror account for over half of all Shadow Cabinet headlines, while the distribution across news sites for Cabinet member-led stories is more balanced, with some skews relative to Shadow Cabinet references in the Telegraph and Mail. 5/
So maybe it’s better for the Shadow Cabinet in the body text of these articles? Maybe they’re not creating the news, but at least they’re responding?

Yeah, so about that… 6/
In the body text of 1300 #Brexit articles, there were nearly 2500 Cabinet Minister references (with duplicate occurrences for the same minister removed). There were 364 references to Shadow Cabinet members.

The ratio is better! By four percentage points… 7/
When we look at the leading contributors for coverage on both sides, unsurprisingly, the party leaders are at the top, but the gulf is huge. Theresa May is referenced in nearly 70% of items, relative to Jeremy Corbyn’s 16%. 8/
Boris Johnson and David Davis are on equivalent levels to the entire Shadow Cabinet in terms of unique articles referencing them, while Philip Hammond is on par with the Shadow Cabinet minus Jeremy Corbyn. 9/
Clearly right wing media bias skewing this, right? Well… 10/
If we look at the Cabinet, there are some clear trends across news outlets. The BBC, Guardian and Buzzfeed are less likely to reference Theresa May, compared to the Mail and Sun – but still cite her in over half of items. 11/
The Mail generally cites multiple Cabinet members in many of its items, but particularly favours Boris Johnson. 12/
When we examine Shadow Cabinet references, an interesting trend emerges. The Mail is far more likely than any other source to reference Jeremy Corbyn, but the same is not true for the rest of the Shadow Cabinet. 13/
But even among left-leaning media, Brexit coverage of the Shadow Cabinet is much lower than their Conservative counterparts. 17% of the Guardian’s Brexit articles mention Corbyn – but this is still lower than Theresa May, Boris Johnson and David Davis. 14/
Keir Starmer beats only Michael Gove and only in Buzzfeed’s coverage. John McDonnell loses to all of the Conservative ‘big 6’. 15/
Basically, the Shadow Cabinet aren’t even in the #Brexit debate.

Next time - Backbenchers! How do each party's backbenchers compare to the frontbench on #Brexit media coverage.
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