In Spain, the big media are becoming slaves to public aid, in a scenario of falling advertising revenue.
A sector in which 35% of its income is public aid
Last year, the Madrid Press Association revealed that in 2021 public aids were the main source of income for the Spanish audiovisual sector, which includes the main generalist television channels: these aids totaled 2,129 million euros, 35% of the income of 6,031 million in the sector. What this means is that political power is gaining weight and influence in the control of these channels.
It must be taken into account that this aid is administered mainly by two large parties: the Popular Party (PP) and the Socialist Party (PSOE), through the central government (made up of the PSOE and the far-left party Podemos). and the different regional governments of the PSOE and the PP. In summary: that these parties use money from all taxpayers for their partisan benefit, to gain influence and presence in those big media.
The enormous disproportion between the appearances of Sánchez, Feijóo and Abascal
Last Friday, the consulting firm GECA published a report (see PDF). The report is entitled "Politicians and current affairs in the news and programs with news content 2022", and in it we can see the effects of this rain of public aids on the big television channels in Spain. On page 2 of the report there is a table that includes the ten politicians who have appeared on general TV for the longest time in 2022, counting the minutes that have appeared on news programs and informative content. The president of Vox, Santiago Abascal, is last in the table, with only 467 minutes, compared to Pedro Sánchez (PSOE)'s 7,853 minutes and Alberto Núñez Feijóo's (PP) 4,891 minutes. Even the general secretary of the PP, Cuca Gamarra, adds more minutes than Abascal (726).
Let us remember that Vox was the third party with the most votes in the last general elections: it added 3,656,979 million votes. The PSOE obtained 6,792,199 votes and the PP 5,047,040. There is a huge disproportion between the results of these parties and their appearances on major television. This disproportion can also be seen in the table on page 5 of the report, which shows the ten politicians that more minutes have appeared in the news of the generalist channels in the year 2022:
In this case, Abascal's appearances in a whole year only add up to 51 minutes (the report has been made on the news programs of four channels, so we are talking about a daily average of 3, 4 seconds per channel). Once again, the attention dedicated to the president of Vox in the news on the main channels contrasts with the minutes of Sánchez (1,601, a daily average of 1.09 minutes per channel) and Feijóo (828, a daily average of 56 seconds per channel). Let us also take into account that Feijóo has been president of the PP since April 2, 2022. In the first three months of the year he was an autonomous president. However, as we can see, the regional president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (534 minutes) and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida (112) also exceed Abascal's minutes in media that They are national in scope.
The medium that shows Abascal the most is the most hostile against Vox
In the report there is another table (page 6) that can give us an idea about how Vox is treated in those meager appearances on the big television channels. The table indicates the percentage of appearance of the main political representatives in the news of the generalist channels in the year, and in it we can see that of those 51 minutes that Abascal appeared in the news of the generalist channels, 39.2% were broadcast on La Sexta, a leftist channel openly hostile to Vox, so the treatment they usually receive in these appearances is negative as well as scarce. The channel that dedicated the least percentage to Abascal in its news was Telecinco, with only 11.8% of those 51 minutes, that is, 6 minutes in total.
Vox often complains about the treatment it receives from the subsidized media, both its bias against that party and the scant time devoted to Vox (which also contributes to the fact that its proposals arrive distorted to the audience). The data from this report show that Vox is right to complain and that the big television channels are blatantly marginalizing the third party with the most votes in Spain, which is precisely the only party that dares to contradict the ideological dogmas of the left, dogmas that are defended daily by those same television channels.
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