Matt Goodwin Profile picture
Aug 2 12 tweets 6 min read
What is happening to British media? A short thread on a new piece I just shared on my Substack. It's called The Great Awokening of the British media ...…
A few years ago, I was struck by a new study in the US which found that the number of references in the media to prejudice, discrimination, and social justice or "woke" ideology had exploded. This was especially true in the most elite newspapers but the trend was widespread
It got me thinking, what is happening in Britain? We often assume Britain is importing US-style "culture wars", etc., but is British media displaying the same obsession with identity politics, discrimination, and social justice as its American counterparts?
So, working with @DavidRozado we ran the same technique --something called "computational content analysis"-- on around 16 million articles in British media between 2000 and 2020. I wasn't expecting to find what we found ...
Before showing you let me give you some confidence in the data. What we did was gather data on key words. Look at a random selection of words below --for example "Arab Spring"-- and you can see how media coverage rises and falls as you might expect. So the method is pretty cool
What did we find when we looked at the same terms denoting prejudice, discrimination? We found exactly the same as in America. An explosion in the number of references to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, anti-semitism ...
Between 2010-2020, terms such as racism & white supremacy in UK media increased on average by 769% and 2,827% respectively, while terms such as sexism, patriarchy & misogyny increased by 169%, 336% & 237%. Transphobia, islamophobia, anti-semitism increased by 2,578%, 289% & 469%
In fact, remarkably, when we compared the data in the US and the UK we found a high degree of consistency. Despite having radically different histories, different experiences of racism, slavery, etc., the US (red) & the UK (blue) media follow each other incredibly closely
Nor is this trend just pushed on the Left or Right. It is prevalent across media, regardless of ideological leaning, though it is slightly more pronounced on the Left in likes of Guardian & Independent. Anti-Semitism, though, was more on Right (reaction to Corbyn?)
British media, like American cousin, is now increasingly using the language of "social justice" or "woke" ideology. Terms such as hate speech, gender neutral, gender pronouns, white privilege, whiteness, slavery, cultural appropriation have all increased sharply too ...
How might we explain these remarkable trends which are visible in US, Spain, & now Britain? What does it tell us about the media class? I offer possible explanations in my Substack --do subscribe-- while David and I also discuss in accompanying podcast…

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More from @GoodwinMJ

Jul 29
*New* data. Doesn't fit the narrative ...

Progression rate into British unis by ethnic group

Chinese 81%
Asian 65.7%
Black 62.1%
Mixed 48.1%
White 39.7%

White kids on free school meals the least likely of all to go to uni. Just 13.6% do

Source: UK DfE, yesterday
Between 2009 and 2021 the sharpest increase of all in the higher education progression rate was among black students, jumping from 44.1% to 62%.

This should be celebrated. It shows how open Britain is to minorities. It also fits uneasily with the narrative.
For the first time on record, white students had the lowest rate of progress in "high-fare" i.e. elite universities (10.7% lower than black students)
Read 4 tweets
Jul 20
A short thread on just how unpopular some of the stuff within the trans debate really is among British voters 1/?
"In principle, do you think it should or should not be
made easier for transgender people to change their
legal gender?"

Only 26% think it should be made easier
"Do you think a person should or should not have to
obtain a doctor's approval to change their legal

Only 17% of ppl think people shd NOT need dr approval
Read 13 tweets
Jul 7
The 5 questions that will shape the forthcoming Conservative Party leadership contest - thread
One of the great puzzles in British politics is why the Conservative Party has been so successful for so long. As Prof. Andrew Gamble noted, in the 103 years since universal suffrage the Cons have governed alone or in opposition for 72% of the time. By 2024, it will be 75%
The answer is reinvention. The Conservatives have always proven adept at reinventing themselves to meet the moment. Since 2016, they have done so again, reinventing through May & Johnson to meet the post-Brexit realignment. This is the context for the leadership election
Read 10 tweets
Jul 6
I'm thinking about the 14 million people who put Boris Johnson into power -- who desperately wanted an alternative to the dreary consensus in Westminster. Many will be feeling fed up, frustrated, let down, disillusioned. Whatever happens today, tomorrow, their voice must be heard
Johnson's inevitable exit will have to be followed by a debate about the nature of post-Brexit conservatism. That will need to be shaped around how to appeal to the electoral coalition Brexit produced, Theresa May cultivated, Boris Johnson mobilised, & then failed to retain
It will hopefully be international rather than national, broad not insular, drawing inspiration and insights from policies being developed around the globe (not just 1980s!) Any return to 1980s & 2010s neoliberal conservatism = electoral cul-de-sac
Read 4 tweets
Jun 23
What is happening in British universities? A short thread based on new data out today #highered
An independent think-tank, the Higher Education Policy Institute has, helpfully, asked a representative sample of UK university students their views, comparing and contrasting the picture in 2022 with the picture six years ago, in 2016. Here is what they found:
79% of students believe ‘Students that feel threatened should always have their demands for safety
respected’ (up from 68% in 2016) while 4% disagree (down from 10% in 2016)
Read 21 tweets
May 21
Nothing quite captures the decline of civilisation like vintage pictures of people on planes
I've really gone down a rabbit hole
Read 4 tweets

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