| ||The media over the weekend reported on the results of a survey carried out by YouGov for the think tank Demos on Britons’ sense of pride. |
The BBC headlined with what makes Brits most proud with Shakespeare topping the list (75%) followed in rank order by the National Trust (72%); Armed Forces (72%); Union Jack (71%); British Pound (71%); NHS (69%); Monarchy (68%); BBC (63%); sporting achievements (58%); the Beatles (51%); the British legal system (51%) and Parliament (57%).
The comparatively low levels of pride in the British legal system and Parliament could perhaps be explained by the scandals which have arisen in recent years. The MPs’ expenses scandal, for example, the allegations of complicity in torture, and controversy over the control order system. Such findings should serve as a reminder to the Establishment of the enduring impact of such scandals on public faith in these institutions and the urgent need to rebuild public confidence in Parliament and the legal system.
The Daily Star and the Daily Mail also covered the survey headlining their articles with results which show that Muslims are more patriotic than most Brits with 83% of Muslims agreeing with the statement, ‘I am proud to be a British citizen’ as compared to 79% among the general populace.
The Demos findings reflect the results of previous surveys, such as that carried out by Gallup and the Coexist Foundation in 2009, which found that 77% of Muslims identify with the UK compared to 50% in the general population, and that 82% of Muslims say they are loyal to the UK, although only 36% of the general public would consider Muslims loyal to the country.
The choice of headline in the respective media outlets’ coverage of the poll commissioned by Demos is interesting for its reflection of what qualifies as newsworthy and how news reports are presented by the different outlets.
Contrast the BBC’s coverage of the list of institutions, individuals and symbols that evoke pride among Britons to the Daily Mail and Daily Star’s choice of headline – that British Muslims are more patriotic than the average Briton.
But then, the Daily Star chose to cover the Gallup poll results of 2009 under an article headlined ‘Muslims aren’t loyal to UK say 66% of Brits’. Is it any wonder that readers should disbelieve British Muslims’ patriotism given the frequent negative and alarmist reporting by sections of the British press?
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