Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street may recall the occasion last January when Michael Harris and Padraig Reidy of 89up came over all righteous after being called out for defending the press regulation status quo, while taking money from the News Media Association, which is a front organisation for the press establishment.
The NMA had clearly concluded that Harris and Reidy were the finest media advocacy money could buy. They had therefore bought them. And the blind spot that 89up’s finest have in this area has persisted: Reidy is now questioning the ethics of left-wing sites like The Canary, Evolve Politics and Skwawkbox, while failing to notice that the press establishment has a tendency to lying when it feels it needs to.
Harris, in the meantime, is concerned about democracy, and has also voiced grave concern about the amount of hateful behaviour emanating from those way out there on the right. The thought that the press establishment which he has in the past been so ready to defend has something to do with both of these less than desirable facets of modern life has, no doubt purely by coincidence, not been allowed to enter.
After the Guardian’s George Monbiot Tweeted out “Important column by @paulmasonnews about our collective failure to defend the principles of democracy”, Harris added “Worse, we are actively colluding in its destruction”. Whether he noticed papers like the Mail suggesting that Labour voters - or more specifically Corbyn voters - were subverting the democratic process is not known.
The Dacre doggies are, not for the first time, trying to explain away election results they don’t like by telling readers the system is rigged in favour of the Rotten Lefties (tm), and thus undermine faith in it. So there will be fewer people willing to unequivocally defend that democracy, as they are continually being fed the idea that it’s not worth it.
And then we come to Harris’ worst failure to join up the dots, as he looks aghast at reports of the threats against campaigner Gina Miller and observes “I worked with Gina Miller. The continual death threats were terrifying. We don't take far-right violence seriously”. The question has to be asked - what part of the mainstream demonisation of Ms Miller does Michael Harris not understand? Let’s take this one nice and slowly.
The Mail made sure its readers knew she was “Jamaican-born”, and that she was something to do with “Enemies Of The People”. The Murdoch Sun went further, and talked of “Loaded foreign élites”. That, let us not drive it around the houses for too long, is crude and deliberate dog-whistling. That is where the “far-right violence”, or at least the threats of it, are incubated. And Michael Harris is happy to take their money.
If you don’t like the results of the press establishment’s behaviour, then do something about it. Otherwise, don’t act surprised at what happens when you do nothing. Especially when you are in a position of influence. I’ll just leave that one there.