Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature Medicine and the Media

How the papers covered the strike

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2506 (Published 05 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2506

Rapid Response:

Re: How the papers covered the strike

Macaulay offers us a useful if not sanitised overview of how UK media outlets have reported on the junior doctors strike. The media is never a neutral party in what it reports, and how it frames an issue and its key players can shape public perceptions and understandings. It might be worthwhile remembering that before the first day of planned strikes, the tabloid newspaper The Sun ran a story entitled ‘Moet medics: High life of doc’s leaders who are heading up NHS strike’1. This article laid the charge that many of the leaders of the junior doctor’s strike were ‘champagne-swilling socialists’. Individual junior doctors were named, their age and current occupations were disclosed, as was their residence and an array of personal photographs-from holiday shots to pictures with animals and friends- were strewn across the article. It was clear that this article (and its publisher) clearly set out to discredit the political credentials and professional reputation of these doctors. Thankfully, such cynical reporting has not dominating the reporting of the NHS junior doctor’s strike. Nevertheless, it would be naïve to assume that a ‘responsible’ media discourse will persist the longer the strike continues.

Reference
1. Beal J, Perrin B, Ryan J, Syson B. Moet medics: High life of docs’ leaders who are heading up NHS strike. The Sun. 2016 10 Jan. Available from http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/6850988/Luxury-lifestyles-of-j... [Accessed: 14 April 2016].

I have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare that I have no competing interests.

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 May 2016
Patricia N Neville
Lecturer in Social Sciences
University of Bristol
Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol BS1 2LY