A new article every hour: the astonishing onslaught of press coverage about Harry and Meghan

Hacked Off Intern Emma Ireland writes about her research on coverage of Meghan and Harry, which found:

  • Over 25 articles about the couple are published across newspapers every day

  • Over 450 were published over the 18-day period Emma reviewed

  • Often articles were groundless, based entirely on speculation, or made bizarre and unevidenced allegations

By Emma Ireland

I read 18 days of press coverage of Harry and Meghan from the 15th of February until the 4th of March [download the data].  Over the course of those weeks, I looked at The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Sun; recording every article those newspapers had published about the couple.

This is what I found.

It soon became clear to me that some newspapers have taken every opportunity they have to attack them. A lot of judgment made toward them is based off sensationalism caused by these shocking headlines. I saw one article that went as far as to connect her with terrorism for wearing earrings, and one that was purely about the bunions on Harry’s feet. Slow news day? Maybe. Ridiculous? Absolutely.

The Times: best of a bad bunch

The Times was the best out of a bad bunch. It wasn’t completely full of nonsense, but it did have its moments. Most of the articles were fairly unbiased. The Times didn’t write a lot about them so it was hard to come to a solid conclusion but overall, I would say they the balance of coverage was neither good nor bad; the odd article was unduly negative, but most were unbiased.

The Telegraph

The Telegraph wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t find it particularly impressive either. Similarly to The Times, there wasn’t an onslaught of articles everyday writing about every single detail which was something positive.

The Daily Mail: arguably the worst

The Daily Mail was arguably the worst. I would love to pick apart the coverage to try and find something positive or which was in the public interest, but it was just so overwhelmingly negative. They had the most amount of daily articles written about the couple out of any newspaper I researched. Every time I’d go to the website looking for something about them, I didn’t have to look far. The writers there were plucking every single detail they could from every single thing they did to try and write a full article about them, and the worst part is they’d spin it in a negative way any chance they got. They criticised them for not being here for Phillip, but it’s obvious that if they were, they’d be called out for breaking lockdown and travelling to another country.

The Sun: a creepy live-blog

I wish I could end this on a more positive note but that would just not be possible with The Sun. Everything that was said about the Daily Mail could also be said about The Sun. The Sun also has a live blog on Meghan Markle that’s updated roughly every hour on everything she has done. It’s stalker-like and weird and made me feel uneasy.

Overall, it’s clear that there needs to be regulation in the media. The mass amounts of articles I found bullying Meghan was ridiculous and something must be done. Media needs to be regulated to stop something like this from happening. Only last year we saw a love movement after Caroline Flack was bullied. How far does it have to go before we see others face the relentless impact of press abuse?

Download the data in full.

 

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Michele Davidsonreply
March 14, 2021 at 11:56 am

“Race and the UK press… In six years the press ‘self-regulator’ IPSO has received well over 15,000 complaints relating to discrimination. It has upheld only one (yes, 1)”. I avoid the Daily Mail & The Sun as their journalism if you can call it journalism is vitriolic, crass and non-factual. They serve only one purpose and that is misinformation and a platform for those who appear to delight in smearing: “Some newspapers were more interested in smears and personal attacks than factual debate.” quoted in an excellent article from By Dr Corinne Fowler, Public debate is important. Waves of press and political attacks damage it.

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