Murdoch’s ‘balanced’ Times is more right-wing than the Tories

From regressive tax to shrinking the state, the Times outflanks George Osborne on the right


Two examples in today’s Times belie the common impression of it being among the more balanced UK papers.

The first, on page 2, warns that ‘high earners face big hit’ if chancellor Osborne merges income tax and national insurance.

It quotes an investment firm saying those earning more than £47,500 (£21,000 more than the national average) would pay an extra £230 in tax every year.

However, the story notes that

“…those earning less than this amount would benefit. Someone earning £20,000 a year would be more than £500 better off.

Thus the Times has chosen to criticise a government proposal from the perspective of it being too progressive (in tax terms).

The second example is the paper’s editorial column, headlined ‘A Streamlined State’. It argues George Osborne is too timid about cuts to government departments and calls for an explicit and ideological commitment to slim the size of the state:

“Mr Osborne calls his protected spending choices a matter of political priorities. That is bloodless language. It would be good to know that these cuts reflected a broader political philosophy as well, with the goal of a more efficient, more responsive state that consumes less of the nation’s income.

To achieve this the chancellor will ultimately have to target waste inside his ringfences, not just outside. He would find plenty of fat to cut.”

More efficient government would be welcome, but in business-speak (a language in which the Times is fluent) ‘efficiency’ is code for cuts to resources and sacking staff.

The Times is urging government cuts to departments even the slash-happy chancellor has ‘ring-fenced’, and wants public justifications of this in the name of a ‘streamlined’ (more business-speak) state.

In both these pieces, the supposedly balanced Times – formerly the newspaper of record – puts itself to the right of the Conservative government.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

French ferry workers lose their jobs… but the Times revels in French property market

The Times’s Melanie Phillips says calling gender pay gap a ‘scandal’ is sexist

Sign up for our weekly email by clicking here.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

12 Responses to “Murdoch’s ‘balanced’ Times is more right-wing than the Tories”

  1. paulstaines

    Of all the dumb things MediaWatch does this is really dumb. You are basically complaining that a newspaper has a viewpoint. Incidentally “The Thunderer” was thundering long before Murdoch bought it.

    We over at mock The Guardian for being fruity and sometimes bat-shit crazy in our subjective view, we don’t question the right of a privately own paper in a free society to propound a radical viewpoint.

    How dull the press would be if they all pretended to be objective and balanced.

    [Declaration of interest, I occasionally write for The Times.]

  2. stevep

    How better society would be if they were.

  3. Matthew Blott

    The Times has always been a centre-right newspaper but the complaint is it seems to have dropped the ‘centre’ part and is now just a partisan rightwing rag. One other feature – like the Telegraph – there is now little distinction between news and comment.

  4. FFXIII-2

    hey its that guy! the guy off the internet! you know, that guy!

    ‘Declaration of interest, I occasionally write for The Times’

    gotta get paid dude, gotta get that money. Oink oink.

  5. Cole

    It’s both a crappy paper and full of distorted right wing rubbish. Once upon a time it contained proper factual journalism that it kept separate from opinion. No more, as you’d expect with a Murdoch rag.

  6. Cole

    Staines obviously thinks making a distinction between news and comment is’dull’ – as I guess you would if you were on Murdoch’s payroll.

  7. Keith M

    Thank goodness the influence of the press is less now, thanks to social media. When will they begin to realise that we see through them.

  8. thruthseeker

    the sun and times , are only good for wiping your ar*e on

  9. jeffreylmcnabb

    *****Brelliant Quality Of performance forward.. <..~~~.. Find Here

  10. Samuel Hooper

    Not every government policy can or should be “progressive” – this would be hugely distorting and amount to a flat-out assault on the successful and well paid.

  11. BlueApesRevolt

    Murdoch likes to encourage the use of words such as “balanced “to describe his propaganda outlets is well known that Fox News in the USA has long used the slogan “fair and balanced”.Murdoch does not do balanced and he despises fairness .The Times and Sunday Times have always had a centre right bias but at least there were some quality in depth and yes “balanced “pieces in the Times before Murdoch took over the titles.Murdoch has a political agenda and uses his papers to zealously impose that agenda ..that would be okay if the vast majority of national news titles weren’t also so zealously hard right in their outlook.Of course the likes of the (very shallow ) Guido Fawkes are ok with this as it fits with their Thatcherite worldview.For genuine democrats however the slanted and narrow perspective of (the vast majority of ) the UK press (and associated websites )is very troubling .

  12. John Cooper

    Murdochs propaganda balancing act we do not want to become like the USA with there mind of graft!

Leave a Reply