Immigration is a topic that currently dominates the political arena, and not only inside Westminster, but on the lips of the British public as well. This is hugely facilitated by the media and the newspapers who’s extensive coverage and continual provocation of the ‘issue’ of immigration, firmly fixes the idea of there being a problem in the far too opaque glass case that surrounds public opinion.
It is clear that it is now so deeply embedded in widespread discourse around the country that it can not be ignored, but that does not give rise to attack immigration through the strength of the pen like a war-raged, medieval, pitch-fork wielding mob. Rather, an ethical, balanced and reasonable approach should be taken, and this especially so with the way in which journalists should report on it, with a responsibility to uphold those concepts.
However, it’s apparent that the newspapers conform to the agenda which best sells, and that is the one which is often ill-informed, misguided and wholly misrepresentative of immigration, keeping the fires ablaze for negative public opinion, generating a hatred towards those that cross our borders.
There is also a distinct misunderstanding of the difference between immigration and migration. If the newspapers can’t always get it right, how can we expect any other than a public that gets it wrong as well? Migration happens to be financially rather fruitful for the UK, providing a source of workers to fill the gaps in areas of the employment sector that are open, and ploughing that generated income back in to the system for their durational stay in the UK.
If newspapers are so unabashedly reporting on immigration in a negative way, is it not the responsibility of the readership to question why? It isn’t all bad, but it could be a lot better, and more ethically produced. A huge part of the problem is the balance of objectivity when writing journalistically and covering such an important topic. Simple things can improve this though; such as the use of more constructive language rather than demonising immigration through words like: shocking, dismay, carnage, ruinous. If we can’t change the way in which we talk about immigration, we will never change the way we manage it, and we will bring ourselves closer and closer to a narrative that is too far gone, and be unable to bring back reason and logic to the debate.
Frequently, immigration is used as a scapegoat to other big issues with in society, and is particularly played on when infrastructure is under the looking glass; the NHS is too strained, immigration. Crime is on the up, immigration. Our education system is failing, immigration. A lack of housing, immigration.
Hatred towards immigrants
This is so out of proportion, biased and unjust that there is no surprise that hatred towards immigrants is at an all time high. The reality is also a league away from this representation. Yes, immigration will undoubtedly cause some strains on UK infrastructures, but not to the extent that we can weigh all our problems upon it. Pocketed incidents and one-off stories are often sensationalised and then re-versioned to depict immigration as being the square root of all-evil. This is especially apparent where crimes involving Eastern European immigrants are reported, often using language that represents them as being inherently criminal, and estranging them more and more by widening the gap with an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. We have of course been here before, in 1939-1945.
Unfortunately, immigration becomes another card in the political hand. The current political turbulence we are experiencing in the UK at the moment is largely fuelled by immigration, and each party who try to best exploit it to provide an answer that they think the public want. In particular this has given rise to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), who believe they give a voice to the people that no other party now provides.
Disappointingly, this has put immigration once again on sale to the highest bidder. Using it as a campaign objective rather than spending any time truly addressing it. There is little in the way of reform put in place to try and change public opinion or put down radical views. So as we see the general election looming ever closer, we also see the media and the newspapers regurgitating ‘official views’ or ‘official sources’ that represent immigration in exactly the way they want it to be. This leaves no room for challenging the establishment, and newspapers give us the contents of Downing streets press office rather than reporting the story from source, making us chase the rabbit further down the hole.
We then end up with a newspaper printing an article on immigration that is already censored before its picked to bits by the Daily Politics show, and one of its guests gives you a further censored version of the truth. By the time the reader establishes what they think is their own opinion, it’s too late. What they’re actually thinking is what some corporate executives, several political advisors, and a gaggle of newspaper editors, want them to think, whilst craftily letting them believe it’s their own.
What can be taken away from this are our abhorrent methods of reporting and the readerships indulgence to soak it up. If journalists were to step back and look again at the story, considering it in a different light and creating a narrative that questioned the rise of immigration in the first place, we would start to see beyond the issues right in front of us, and look at resolving it at its origins. No one truly wants to leave their home country without severe cause, it is after all part of us. So ask yourself the question; what would make you want to leave your country? The situation would have to be pretty dire, before you left your entire way of life behind.
So think again when you next pick up a newspaper and read an article on immigration, try and read between the lines, and look at what’s really being said. Usually, it’s pretty damn wrong.