As the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press - for which, read most of it - continues to stamp its collective feet, demand that the electorate accept their attacks on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as unvarnished truth, and thereby condemn Jezza as guilty of whatever crimes they have conjured up overnight, it is becoming clear that the monstering is not having the desired effect, maybe even becoming counterproductive.
How could this be? Simples. Of all EU and EEA countries, it is the UK’s press which enjoys - if that is the right word - record low trust ratings, and has done for a number of years. The press screams at Corbyn; voters compare the demon described with what they see; they don’t see a demon; distrust in the press merely intensifies.
This has been picked up by Sunny Hundal, who has put together a short Twitter thread on the phenomenon (see HERE). He points out “The press has been so vicious to Corbyn from day one, cried wolf so many times, people just don't trust it to treat him fairly. And I don't mean just his core supporters. I don't think the wider public does either”.
Distrust in press is compounded by the mismatch between the press’ demon and reality. And on actual policy? “Much as I hate Corbyn's reluctance to fight Brexit, he has triangulated successfully enough to keep Labour Leavers on side while hanging on to Remainers. And thanks to Tory incompetence, time is on his side”.
Alternatives on Brexit? That’s the problem for Jezza bashers: “Also, people don't seem to appreciate how much Brexit has polarised opinion. It doesn't matter what Corbyn does, Labour is the only viable party opposing it. So why would Remainers vote for anyone else? The LibDems are so hopeless, their leaders are plotting new parties”.
And what is driving Labour support? “I don't think Westminster appreciates how much anger at the economy and growing inequality drives Corbyn's support. Is anyone else talking about it? No. Not even Labour 'moderates'. Meanwhile, Tories are hemmed in between their ideology and reality”. This is part of a wider London-centric media problem.
In the old days, national press would have been informed by local press. So they would know (for instance) that £80k was way above an average annual income, or that the poor and elderly use buses, even if the Westminster bubble sneers at them. But local press has been decimated; it is as if the body of journalism had lost its outer limbs, been detached from its nervous system. Plus national press is top-heavy with poorly informed pundits.
Then we come to the $64k question on Labour support. “I see people saying 'oh how can anyone support Labour after this (latest Corbyn story in media)?' Sorry but have you looked at the alternatives? They're a complete shower of shit. They couldn't inspire a wet paper bag. The best they have is Trump-style populism. No thanks”. The press might love Bozza, Rees Mogg and pals - but ordinary people would rather have Jezza.
And Sunny had a warning for another of those press assumptions. “You say: yeah but his base is bonkers. I say: If this was just about his base, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But Labour is staying steady at ~38-40% in polls. This is more than just about his Twitter base. People need to start asking why that is”.
But that part of the press which is going after Corbyn is not listening. It is not asking those questions. It has already decided on its particular version of reality. It is taking its lead not from the world outside the Westminster bubble, but the closed clique of lobby groups, partisan pundits, spin merchants, PR pushers, and other like-minded hangers-on.
The received wisdom for the screaming banshees of Northcliffe House and the Baby Shard is that all they need to do is to keep kicking Corbyn, and all will be well for their chosen politicians. It worked in 1992; it must surely work now.
Sadly, those days are gone. The lack of trust has taken hold, and is spreading to the broadcast media - because there is, even with newspaper circulation in freefall across the board - far too much reverence paid to the press by broadcasters. So the misinformed press misinforms TV, and lack of trust is reinforced.
It happened in the USA, where the press is, generally, far better informed and better at straight news presentation. Now it is happening here. But the comfortable of the London-centric media are not for listening. More fool them.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at