That’s the conclusion of a detailed study of how the media covered the European referendum, carried out by the Loughborough University Centre for Research in Communication and Culture:
National press coverage was highly polarised, with pro-IN papers emphasising pro-IN campaigners and arguments, and pro-OUT papers emphasising pro-OUT equivalents. In aggregate terms, this produced a ‘coverage gap’ of 60%: 40% in favour of OUT campaigners. However, when these differences are weighted by circulation, the difference extends to 80%: 20%.
It’s also striking how little attention was given to the issues that are now getting so much attention:
Many issues that have received considerable media attention following the referendum, received negligible coverage before the vote. For example, consideration of the devolution implications accounted for 0.8% of all coverage and taxation issues were covered even less, accounting for 0.6%. Between Friday 24 June and Monday 27 June, the national press published 198 items mentioning Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (which triggers the exit process). This represents a daily average of 49.5 items. Between 6 May and 23 June, they published 88 items mentioning Article 50, a daily average of 1.8 items.