What Owen Jones said last week about the Press and Pundit Establishment - and by doing so prompted a Twitter pile-on of previously unseen proportions - was most likely intended to provoke, but at its core was true: “The main thing I've learned from working in the British media is that much of it is a cult. Afflicted by a suffocating groupthink, intolerant of critics, hounds internal dissenters, full of people who made it because of connections and/or personal background rather than merit”.
And the groupthink that he described includes the predictable and worrying tendency for some in the media bubble to see something because they want it to be there, to be true. Couple that to the demands of editors and proprietors, and you arrive at the myth that dictates that the Labour Party is about to ditch its leader.
You read that right. Jeremy Corbyn is more secure right now than any other leader of a significantly sized political party in Britain. But such is the desperate state of the Tory Party that the right-wing press wants, needs to believe that Jezza is so vulnerable that he is likely to be deposed. The alternative - another snap General Election where his campaign delivers the kind of vote share increase that would put him in No 10 - is unthinkable.
So we arrive at the latest offering by the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, under the Ron Hopeful headline “As anxiety grows over his woeful performance, it's the astonishing question his loyal lieutenants are starting to whisper... Can we cut Corbyn out of Corbynism?”
Did anyone see that “woeful performance”? Desperate Dan did. “Corbyn appeared in the House on five major occasions [last week]. Each one was a personal catastrophe, and a tortuous trial for his allies”. Anyone else see that? No, me neither.
But for Hodges, “the defining moment came in Tuesday’s dramatic debate on anti-Semitism. As MP after MP described in harrowing detail their treatment at the hands of the thuggish army of Corbynite red-shirts, Corbyn rose and walked out, literally turning his back on those recounting their contemporary experience of an ancient hatred”.
He's desperate, Dan
His problem is that much of what was described was not at the hands of anyone in Labour, and some of it - like John Mann’s self-serving idiocy - detracted from the debate so severely as to harm the drive to stamp out anti-Semitism. Hodges saw this “From my position in the parliamentary press gallery”, but what he saw was what he wanted to see.
He whined about Ed Miliband - somehow missing the anti-Semitic attacks on the former Labour leader from his own sister paper, and elsewhere, like from his pals at the Guido Fawkes blog - and now he is whining about Corbyn. But those believing this drivel need to stop and think. Hodges said Corbyn would not become Labour leader. He said Remain would win the EU referendum. He claimed Hillary Clinton would win the US Presidential election. And he predicted that Theresa May would achieve a 100+ majority last year.
Moreover, Hodges’ article - all of it - names no sources, invokes no citation in support, perhaps because those loyal to Jezza won’t give him the time of day. But he so wants the story he pitches to be true, because that’s what his editor thinks the MoS’ readers want to hear, and because, yes, of that suffocating groupthink. Owen Jones was right.