Is the BBC News Biased…?

The BBC was in the news this week because Elon Musk mislabelled it as ‘government funded’ whereas in reality it is a publicly funded corporation, paid for by the license fee.

This means that it is, effectively, the great British public who are real owners of the corporation, and, as such, the content of the BBC news should reflect diversity in British society and a suitably broad variety of opinions.

However, while the ‘owners’ of the BBC are diverse, the people who decided the news agenda are not as diverse, much more likely to be privately educated and upper middle class.

However, this still doesn’t mean that the content of the news is going to be biased, and there will be variation on television and radio news, and within different news programmes.

There is actually very little systematic and representative research on bias in the BBC, the latest proper university research was from between 2007 and 2012 by Cardiff University which showed that conservative views were given more airtime than progressive ones.

However this may just be because the government is conservative, and a bog standard news item is to give whatever Tory minister time to talk rubbish, which could alone be enough to skew the difference.

Conservatives also complain that the BBC is too progressive and biased against consverative view points.

A look at the opinion polls shows that only 61% of the public thinks the BBC is fair compared to higher percentages when asked about Sky and ITV, but then again that lower result may just be because the ‘fairness debate’ is more in the news in relation to the BBC.

It is probably the case that Sky and ITV are MORE right wing than the BBC, it’s just that we don’t notice!

Bias is a very difficult thing to prove, certainly asking whether the whole of the BBC is biased isn’t a good starting point, you’d need to focus on say ONE specific news programme, maybe BBC News at 18.00, or Question Time, or The news on Radio 4 at 8.00 a.m. for a period of time and subject this to time-based and qualitative content analysis to find out for sure.

It’s interesting that this is so much debated and yet so few people are doing ANY systematic research on the matter!


This material is relevant to the media topic within A-level sociology

Is addiction to technology real?

People are increasingly addicted to smartphones and video games, and this seems to be by design!

People spend four hours a day on average on their phones, which is equivalent to 60 full days a year, or one quarter of their waking lives.

People are literally addicted to video games, social media, pornography and online shopping – and the numbers who are addicted to technology are growing.

We already find it difficult to switch off from the many apps on our phones and this could be about to get much worse with FaceBook, Google and Microsoft ploughing billions of pounds into constructing the MetaVerse.

These are just some of the claims that some experts make about the addictive nature of technology, but is this addiction to technology actually real?

Elaine Moore, a tech columnist for the Financial Times subjected these claims to critical analysis in a recent Radio 4 analysis podcast: Addiction in the Age of the MetaVerse.

Addiction to video Games

According to Supply Gem (Accessed November 2023) the video games industry is valued at between $221 billion and $385 billion, and there are between 3.09 and 3.26 billion gamers worldwide.

What drives a lot of that revenue are online games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty, games which are immersive, in real time and are played most obsessively by children and young adults.

Teachers have already raised concerns about the amount of time children spend playing these games and when virtual reality headsets are introduced they can become even more immersive and addictive.

The World Health Organisation recently added Gaming Disorder to the classification of Diseases.

The World Health Organisation’s definition of gaming disorder.

Ruth Lockwood from the NHS run centre for gaming disorder defines addiction to gaming as a lack of control over the amount of time an individual spends playing computer games, a tendency to prioritise gaming over other areas of one’s life to the detriment of other life activities. It is a compulsion to play video games even when there are negative consequences to doing so!

According to the experts above, gaming addiction is a real and recognised addiction and it is something that the NHS provides help for.

According to meta-analysis conducted in 2021 (and summarised by Game Quitters) 3-4% of gamers are addicted to video games, but the percentages vary considerably by age:

But what about other aspects of tech are they addictions too? 

Smart Phones and Addiction

Over 80% of the UK population now own a smart phone, with the figure being nearly 100% for the under 50s. People on average spend four hours a day on their phones which is 60 full days a year or 25% of our waking lives.

A recent 2019 YouGov survey found that 59% of 18-34 year olds would feel anxious if they were without their smartphones for a day because ‘they wouldn’t be able to instantaneously communicate with their friends or family’

Some people are on their phones so much that there is even a term – ‘fubbing’ which means scrolling through your phone while you’re in the middle of a conversation.

If you think you are spending too long on your phone then you might want to try The Smart Phone Compulsion Test developed by David GreenField and the Centre for Internet and Technology Addiction.

Pretty much anyone who takes that test is going to fail, and Catherine Price suggests this doesn’t mean that the test is invalid, rather it means that all of us have problematic relationships with our phones.

Smartphones are addictive by design

If you wanted to invent a device that would make the population perpetually distracted and isolated you would probably end up with the smart phone.

Many design features on Smart Phones are deliberately made to be addictive, evidence for this is that many design features mimic those of slot machines, which are widely regarded as some of the most addictive machines in the gambling industry.

This is especially true of any apps which rely on advertising as advertisers’ revenue increases the more time we spend on these apps, and the more attention we give them!

It’s also worth noting that slot machine addiction was the first officially recognised behavioural addiction in the United States.

Catherine Price has is author of How to Break up with your Phone – a 30 Day Plan to Take Back your Life. She argues that Smart Phones have the power to change the way our brains work.

However her book reminds us that our time and attention are finite and that maybe continually scrolling through our phones isn’t the best use of our time!

We cannot do two cognitively demanding things at once – for example we can’t think of two things at the same time, so in layman’s terms it is impossible for us to multitask.

Problems with Smartphone addiction

Anna Lembke, a Professor of Psychiatry and author of ‘Dopamine Nation‘ points out that SmartPhones light up the ‘reward pathway’ in the brain, from where dopamine is released, in the same way drugs and alcohol does.

There’s no blood test or brain scan to test for this type of addiction, instead researchers use Phenomenology – looking at individual experiences and the way patterns are repeated.

People who are addicted are in an altered state: their gremlins are now driving the bus. The prefrontal cortex which is necessary for factoring in future consequences and deferred gratification goes offline!

People in such a condition, such as compulsive tweeters fail to appreciate how their reward system has been hijacked and see their addictive behaviour as something they need to do.

Advantages of Smart Phones

James Ball, author of ‘The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How it Owns Us‘ is sceptical about the idea that everyone is addicted to their phones.

He argues that tech leads to behaviours that look like they may be addictions but aren’t necessarily addictions.

A phone fulfils different needs all at the same time – we might be having a coffee with a friend and our phones allow to us to check in with other people quickly while still having that coffee.

So possibly we shouldn’t interpret someone checking their phone every five minutes as being a ‘compulsion’ – rather it is something that enables us to effectively manage busy lives – and if it wasn’t for the smartphone allowing us to check-in with other people so easily maybe we wouldn’t be be meeting that friend for an IRL coffee in the first place.

The Metaverse

The MetaVerse is a digital reality that exists in parallel to actual reality.

Some authors think the idea of the Metaverse will be so compelling that we’ll forget to log off from the internet altogether!

Computers have become smaller and the way we interact with them has become more and more intuitive and the Metaverse evolves this make computers invisible, it actually extends into our reality, impinges on it!

Facebook, Google and Apple are all very interested in the Metaverse and are investing huge sums of money into it. Meta alone invested $10 billion in 2021 and all major companies are developing their own head sets.

The merging of the real and virtual world could have sever implications for people’s mental health as it could allow people to block out aspects of their realities that they don’t like and don’t want to deal with, but they would have to allow

The Metaverse could get more and more potent, more addictive – like PacMan isn’t going to do it for a five year old today!

And the government are very unprepared for this next step in the evolution of virtual reality. A recent Digital White Paper didn’t even mention the Metaverse once. The government seems to be on the back foot and unable to anticipate what’s going to happen in the future.

A moral panic over the Metaverse?

James Ball doesn’t think we are into an age of hyper-seductive targeted marketing in the Metaverse given how inaccurate the current targeted advertising is!

There are also possible advantages – motivational apps for developing good behaviours such as walking more or giving up drinking, and we are rewarded with badges for example.

Signposting and Relevance to A-level Sociology

The material above is mainly relevant to the media option at A-level sociology, but this should also be of general interest to anyone with a Smartphone!

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Natural Disasters and News Values

Natural disasters hit several news values including negativity, threshold, picture values and unambiguity.

There was a high magnitude earthquake in Turkey this week, killing, at time of writing (Monday 6th Feb 2023) 1900, and there is little doubt that the death toll will rise significantly.

When I heard this unfortunate news on Radio Four at 7.00 a.m. I knew straight away that this would probably be filling up the Live news on pretty much every news site in Europe for the next day or two, possibly the rest of the week.

And when I checked out the BBC News site at around 14.00 this is what I saw on their home page (screenshot below). There is nothing but the Earthquake related stories on the main page, and it is very rare to have so much dominance.

This should be of no surprise to any student of media studies who has learned about how News Values shape the content of the news.

News Values are criteria which journalists believe make stories news worthy and include such things as how impactful event is in terms of number of people affected, how unusual it is, and how visual it is.

The more characteristics and event fulfils, and the more extremely it does so, the more likely it is to get more news coverage, and a major Earthquake hits just about every news value there is…

News Values and Earthquakes.

  • Negativity – maybe most importantly where the news is concern is that an earthquake is negative, it destroys infrastructure and peoples lives, literally the later in the case of this large magnitude earthquake.
  • Threshold – 1900 recorded dead after just half a day makes this already one of the largest natural disasters in recent history.
  • Unambiguity – It’s a natural disaster, no politics involved (well, maybe with the response), but this is very easy to understand: earthquake happens, buildings collapse, people get died and injured, the community responds.
  • Picture values – it’s got it all: drone footage of the wreckage, shell shocked survivors, toddlers being pulled out of collapsed buildings by rescue workers…
  • Unpredictability – While seismologists can predict earthquakes to an extent, the sheer scale of this Earthquake made it unusual.
  • Continuity – unfortunately this fits with a well established narrative of other earthquakes and the planet becoming increasingly unstable, and in Syria it fits in the the narrative of tragedy following the recent war.

Natural Disasters and News Values: Final Thoughts

For sure there are more factors which determine the content of the news, but when it comes to natural disasters it is almost as if journalists go into ‘easy mode’.

There’s a format for reporting such events that fits in so easily with News Values journalists pretty much have a day off as they’ve done this all before!

It’s another layer of tragedy on an event that’s already tragic, the way the media kind of treats it as business as usual.

Signposting and relevance to A-level sociology

This material is a useful contemporary example for students taking the Media option in their second year A-level sociology.

Another concept that may be relevant to this is that of hyperreality. When it comes to Natural Disasters, the media reporting is so removed from the reality on the ground that you have to ask yourself whether this isn’t just a fiction by the time it gets to the media!

Limited Media Reporting of the Labour Conference 2022 – Ideological Agenda setting or just ‘news values’…?

Examples of The Metro’s right wing ideological bias in Autumn 2022.

The Metro’s reporting (28/09/2022) of Sir Keir Starmer’s Speech at the 2022 Labour Party Conference was definitely limited, and offers students of media studies an interesting contemporary example of how news values and/ or agenda setting influence the news agenda.

Biased Reporting…

There are some good examples here of what appear to be deliberate bias against labour…

Firstly on the headline page not only is the labour conference given half the space of the royals story the headline ‘don’t forgive’ makes them seem aggressive and harsh, AND there’s a little quip about Keir and his wife being dressed in sync which is maybe an attempt to belittle labour.

And then there’s the order and manner in which the two main items of the day are presented…

Firstly we have the royals, BEFORE the labour conference reporting…

And even Eurovision trumps Labour!

And then on page three AFTER Kate and Will and Eurovision we finally have an item on the labour party conference (well it’s page four, page two was a full page advert)…

Also note how this is all just dull text – there’s no attempt at all to bullet point the key ideas – there could be a nice infographic where the advert is to the left which would make this material more readable, but there isn’t.

Rather the message here seems to be ‘ignore this dull stuff but here’s some pictures of Keir and his wife who have dressed well’.

News Values…?

Of course it could just be plain old News Values influencing why Kate and Wills are appearing before Labour – the royals are more photogenic, and pictures matters in papers, and we have just had the death of the Queen so there is continuity.

HOWEVER, given the national interest surrounding the cost of living crisis and Tory economic policy crashing the economy I think there is more than News Values at work here…

Why I think this reporting might be ideological

There is some extremely significant political context to Starmer’s speech, rooted in some major socio-economic turbulence this Autumn.

The recent Tory budget gave some major tax cuts to the richest in society on top of recent hand-outs to the UK’s two biggest oil companies – BP and Shell, while ordinary people are left to soak up much of the increased cost of living themselves.

In short, the Tories have done more to help the rich than the poor and showed little interest in investing in a green-future to provide long term solutions to increasing energy prices and any potential future price shocks.

And Keir Starmer, the leader of the major opposition party is, in this speech, outlining a viable alternative strategy to what the Tories are offering.

And yet this speech has been relegated to small text on pages 4 and 5, after the pictures of Will and Kate in Wales.

To my mind this seems to be a straight up attempt to offer the masses some royal entertainment fluff rather than reporting on the Labour alternative to the cost of living crisis in an accessible manner.

I mean, think about it – they could have bullet pointed the key facts but all we have is a very unattractive full text version of the speech, it’s very easy to just ignore it, effectively rendering it invisible to many readers.

And given that the Metro is a right wing paper, that is probably the whole idea!

Discussion Questions

What do you think? Is this an example of ideological agenda setting?

Are the owners and editors of the Metro using their position of power to narrow the agenda of news reporting and discredit the views of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party…?

Or is this just plain old news values at work and the paper simply providing what the audience demand…?


This material should be of interest to students studying the Media option as part of A-level sociology.

It should also be of interest to students generally – it’s your future the Tories are messing up after all!

You can watch Sir Keir’s full speech here:

The Labour Party Conference 2022

Sir Keir’s Speech Fact Checked

Criticisms of YouTube as a Teaching Resource…

I’ve been updating my A-level teaching resources on social class recently and have found it challenging to find valid and reliable sources of documentaries on YouTube.

There are SEVERAL problems you need to be aware of…

Outdated Videos presented as contemporary…

The first problem is with old documentaries being uploaded several years after their original release.

For example: School Swap: The Class divide was uploaded to YouTube by an account called ‘Our Stories’ in 2021…

The problem with this is that the original documentary aired in 2015 on Channel 4, which means that this isn’t necessarily a valid reflection of what is going on today.

The same can be said for a second documentary: Posh and Posher which was uploaded to YouTube by in 2021 despite being aired originally on the BBC in 2011.

To my mind the former is more worrying as the account has almost half a million subscribers with the video having received 4 million views, meaning that’s a lot of people with a misleading impression of when it was shot.

The second example at least has many fewer views and is just on someone’s personal account which makes the credibility of it easier to dismiss.

Beauty verses Expertise…

As a teacher I’m not against non experts having a go at explaining concepts they are not qualified to explain, encouraging students to do this is part of teaching after all, and there’s nothing necessarily inaccurate about what the person in the video below says….

But I can’t help but think the the number of views in this case is due to the pretty face rather than depth of subject-knowledge?

And there are just so many of these videos from non experts – not necessarily in the ‘speak to the camera’ format, some in cartoon format and it isn’t necessarily the case that the person with the most knowledge is going to get the most views….

That which is the most fun to watch isn’t necessarily the most valid!

Incomplete videos

I actually found the video below interesting – and it’s recent – post Jubilee from June 2022, and one of the subjects even references a book on social class directly.

The problem is I think it cuts off early!

The tendency to focus on the ‘Upper Class’

I get it: posh people are interesting, but I guess they are interesting because they are different, rare, unusual. And there are a lot of videos about posh people on YouTube – but in sociology we are usually more interested in how class affects the masses – so the working classes, middle classes, but there is something of a saturation with the minority class that you need to filter through…


You might think using YouTube’s Filters would help to get some useable material…. especially if you search by date

However, I personally found this revealed how biased many of the videos are – and NB there is nothing inherently wrong with people uploading videos with bias, stating their opinions on social class in the UK, and it’s maybe even more useful than you think seeing how obvious this is when you get your search returns contrasted with each other.

And that of course reminds us that even a well researched, well formatted documentary that has been professionally produced has its biases, as does the most professional sociological academic lecture that might appear on YouTube too.

And something else you’ll see more of if you search by date is students own work and exam advice on ‘social class questions’ from teachers, all of which may be more useful to students than ‘regular documentaries’ or educational videos from teachers.

Using YouTube as a Teaching Resource: Final Thoughts..

While I wouldn’t dismiss YouTube out of hand, as a teacher it is your responsibility to double check your sources – and be especially wary of well branded accounts such as ‘Our Stories’ which appear to be legitimate educational accounts but in reality may well be just hack accounts which cut and paste anything for the views and advertising revenue.

Having said that – you can still use the whole YouTube ‘educational’ experience as a good example of hyperreality – what you get is a timeless mis-match of documentaries some contemporary, some presented as contemporary but actually 10 years old; and some based on legitimate research and worth watching, others put together by amateurs with little critical attention.

And very final word, maybe, just maybe, this whole experience shows us that there is something in the Postmodern view that there really is no way of telling what is ‘true’ anymore, if, indeed, there is any such thing as truth – all you get with YouTube is a confusing mix of timeless resources with different biases and no way you can ever review them all or dig-down into the validity, or lack of validity, for every single video that’s been uploaded!

Maybe it’s best just to rely on your Text Books – if you believe they are any less hyperreal than YouTube.

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Representing Gender Diversity – The New Netflix Norm…?

Small confession…. I’ve had way too many Netflix binge sessions over the last year, and one thing I’ve noticed is that most of the Netflix shows have a wider range of representations of gender than I’m used to seeing on the BBC.

In fact practically every series features pretty major characters who are gay, bisexual or (more recently) transgender and as a general rule these sexuality-identities are incidental to the plots – that is to say that for the most part characters are just gay (for example) and that’s that, rather than their ‘gayness’ being part of the plot itself.

In other words Netflix seems to be doing a great of job of normalising gender diversity.

I imagine most students are familiar with Netflix and this should offer some accessible evidence to update the topic of the representation of gender in the media.

A few examples…

The Hundred

FINALLY, A T.V. series which features a bisexual woman as the MAIN CHARACTER – she starts off with a boyfriend, he dies, and then she seems to develop a preference for always women as the series progresses – but no big deal, that’s just how it is!

The 3%

Most characters are heterosexual but the ‘Utopia’ in the series is founded by a ‘founding trio’ who are in a three-way relationship, and later on in the series it turns out one of the main characters is a Lesbian, but actually very reticent about sex (not that interested in emotional closeness for various reasons) and there is also one transgender character, B list rather than A-list though.


One of the best pieces of T.V. I have ever seen – featuring a bad gay FBI agent and a closet gay Hillbilly – they are not the most savoury of characters, but then again neither are most of the characters in this series which also features possibly the most dysfunctional yet functioning ‘cereal packet nuclear family’ ever.

Star Trek Discovery

The only show I’ve ever seen which features a non-binary character – the show does make a bit of a thing out of this as at one point they explain their sexuality to someone else (not identifying with any gender in particular.

Incidentally the main character ‘ is a woman, but with a traditionally male name – Michael – NEVER questioned which I kind of like. Almost like a subtle challenge to one of the most obvious gender markers.

There are MORE examples…

I kept this to just FOUR examples, but there are many many more – drop your suggestions in the comments.

Or it might be more useful/ difficult to drop new shows which DON’T have a gender diversity theme going on – it seems to be the new norm on Netflix..

For more posts on related topics please see my page on Media Studies

Facebook: putting profit over safety

According to ex Facebook employee Frances Haugen Facebook’s puts its profits over protecting users from harm – over the last several years it has consciously chosen to recommend posts which spread online hate and encourage addictive behaviour rather than protect users.

Haugen has gone on record stating that Facebook’s own research shows that many children show addictive patterns of behaviour when using Instagram – it doesn’t make them happy, but they can’t stop using the app.

She also says that Facebook recommends extremist and radical material to people, creating divisions, because such material holds people’s attention for longer and this increases their advertising revenue. This may well include content that is hateful towards to women and is very much in line with findings from this documentary.

Finally she says that Facebook’s safety department is relatively understaffed compared to other departments – more people are employed in tweaking its algorithm for profit compared to keeping people safe.

And funnily enough Facebook recently announced it would be rebranding to ‘Meta’ – this is typically what companies do when the criticisms mount up – so as deflect negative attention away.

Relevance to A-level Sociology

This is of relevance to the Media Option, and is also supporting evidence of how TNCs spread harms, supporting the Marxist Theory of crime (possibly!)


BBC News article on Facebook’s putting profit over user safety.

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A very Sociological Analysis of the Royal Family…

I quite like Russel Brand, as a lot of his content is very sociological and critical and the video below in which he analyses aspects of the recent ‘Royal Rebrand’ of Will and Kate is fit to appear in a sociology text book IMO!

This content is, of course, most relevant to anyone studying the sociology of the media!

The Royal Rebrand

This is Russel Brand’s take on the recent release of Will and Kate’s 10 year wedding anniversary video – in which, according to uncritical mainstream news media, they share aspects of their private lives with the public.

The short video is basically them and their two children spending some time on the beach and in the countryside, and roasting marshmellows on an open fire under and oak tree.

Brand correctly points out that this isn’t in fact Will and Kate sharing aspects of their private lives, there is nothing private about this video. It is an engineered publicity stunt in which ‘every sweater choice and every marshmellow has been carefully agonised over and deliberately selected’ in order to convey a warm and comfortable family image.

He also points out how symbolic the oak tree is – English and long live, just like the royal family.

The Royal Paradox

Brand deepens his analysis by talking of the ‘royal paradox’ – the Royal Family have to walk this bizarre line between being rarified enough to be different from the rest of us and yet similar enough to us so that we can identify them – they need both for us to carry on agreeing to pay them out of the UK tax pot, but the two kind of undermine each other.

This Video = A Royal Rebrand now the Queen’s Days are Numbered

As Brand says, The Queen simply can’t go on forever, and Charles has been ‘tainted by Diana’ (and best not mention Andrew) and so the Royal Institution has to rely on Kate on Wills, especially since Harry and Megan have defected!

Hence this video – it’s an attempt to walk that line, symbolically, between ‘relevant to us’ – it’s a quick social media life update shared widely on social media of the ‘new’ royal family being ‘just like us’, and yet different and rarified, as symbolised by the oak tree – maybe this is an attempt to cast Kate and Wills as the ‘perfect modern-traditional’ family – stable, reliable, dependable, with roots stretching back into tradition.

Will this work?

I agree with Russel that the Royal Institution has no place in a modern (or postmodern) society, the more you think about it, the more it needs to fade away, but there are so many people with a vested interest in keeping it alive into the next generation and this is part of that rebrand it seems.

So far the media are buying it, and I see no evidence of the masses suddenly developing enough intelligence to see through this nonsense, so very possibly we’re about to enter into a new era of pro-royalism, bolstered via social media as desperate and uncertain people cast about for something stable and ‘real’ to identify with in our uncertain times?!?

The Incredible Sexism of James Bond

I’ve been watching a few of the old James Bond movies since they’ve been on ITV recently. A few weeks ago I watched ‘Live and Let Die’ which was the first outing for Roger Moore, and originally aired in 1973, my birth year!

Besides being surprised that I didn’t remember most of it (I thought I’d seen enough Bond in my childhood to have these committed to memory!) I was pretty shocked at the incredible sexism of the movie.

This movie is a further example of just how sexist representations of women in the media were 50 years ago, there are other examples outline here.

I know that ‘classic Bond’ is well known for its dismal portrayal of women as nothing more than one dimensional sex-objects, but Live and Let Die must be a low-point for female representation.

Besides Miss Money-Penny there are only two other ‘significant’ female characters in the movie – both of whom James has sex with, and both of whom are rescued by James, although one of them dies.

Rosie Carver – a hapless double agent who Bond beds just before she dies

We’re introduced to Rosie Carver when Bond arrives in The Caribbean. She’s been assigned to help him, but she’s useless, being scared of snakes and not really having a clue what’s going on.

She resists his advances on their first night, but later on, when they’re approaching Tenanga’s Caribbean island hideaway, they pause for lunch and have sex (I know, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.)

Afterwards, Bond reveals that he knows she’s working for Tenanga and has been tasked with drawing him into a trap – she looks shocked and says ‘why tell me now after what we’ve just done’ – to which James replies something like ‘well I certainly wouldn’t have told you before’, or something like that.

She runs away and dies shortly afterwards – I guess now James has ‘had a go’ she’s not much use anymore anyway.

Solitaire – a virgin victim of slavery who Bond rapes

Solitaire (Jane Seymour) is a psychic medium being held captive by the main villain of the film – Tenaka, an opium dealer. Tenaka uses here psychic powers to help him make decisions about how to run his criminal empire – she’s a virgin, crucial to her having her psychic powers.

The first contact James has with her, when he falls into Tenaka’s Lair in the basement of a restaurant in New Orleans, he gets her to to do him a Tarot card reading, and the ‘lovers card’ is revealed, ‘that’s us’ he quips.

Fast Forward to later in the movie, when Solitaire is back on the isolated Caribbean Island which is Tenaka’s main base, James hanglides onto the island and sneaks into her chambers to enact a rescue, but not before manipulating her into having sex with him.

He gets her to choose a Tarot card, she picks ‘the lovers’ (note the paper-thin sub-plot) and they go and have sex – but a ‘cheeky’ camera shot reveals that James had stacked the entire Tarot deck with nothing but that one card.

So what we have here is James manipulating a virgin victim of modern slavery into having sex with him, I think that’s technically rape of a vulnerable adult, given that Bond deliberately used her beliefs against her to manipulate her into having sex with him, I don’t think we can call this informed consent.

Of course she wakes up wanting more, now sexually addicted to James. And of course all the while they’re in bed, they could have been escaping!

NB – Jane Seymour was 21-22 when the film was shot, Roger Moore was in his late 30s.

Relevance to A-level sociology

I know this example is almost 50 years old now, but it’s a particularly pertinent one to show just how bad sexual-stereotyping was in the early 1970s – Live or Let Die actually made a joke out Bond raping a vulnerable teenager held in slavery, as well as turning into part of his ‘masculine identity’.

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Left and Right Wing Media Bias – Coverage of Dominic Cummings

Same news event, two very different ways of covering it!

The way the Sun and the Mirror covered yesterday’s news about Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham during Lockdown when he and his wife had Coronavirus symptoms demonstrates the clear biases of the two newspapers.

These are great examples of media bias for the media topic within A-level sociology .

The Right Wing Sun

Donald Cummings has strongly neoliberal views and was very pro-brexit (hence why he’s been working with Boris), as is The Sun.

So what how does the Sun ‘set the agenda’: It goes with another headline and gives us a small headline on Cummings – and notice the quote – from Cummings, and a defiant sub title from The Sun.

The Left Wing Mirror

The Mirror, in stark contrast to The Sun devotes the whole page the Cummings story, and note the main text – ‘No Regrets’, ‘No Apology’ – implying that’s what we were expecting, given that he’s clearly broken the law, as we’re reminded top right.

Note that The Sun doesn’t even mention this – it’s just Cummings ‘doing what is right’ – already taking us away from what he did.

And there’s similar examples of bias in the full storys on pages 4-5 of both newspapers

The Sun…

The Sun reminds us that Cummings ‘did not break the law’ and then focuses on just copying word for word what Cummings said, reiterating and thus justifying his point of view.

The Mirror

Starts off with a quote from an expert and the article here is more on other people’s comments and the negative affects (masses of people on the beach)

So, same event, two very different versions which clearly show how biased the media is, and how they clearly use agenda setting to try and sway the public’s opinion.