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.
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They're scared of him winning the next election. If they thought he was an electoral disaster, they'd leave him alone.
Of course there’s nothing new about media corruption and lies. Its seedy, grubby jobsworth employees have always manufactured cowardly muck. But some worthy people have always been ready to expose them. Such as –
“There are laws to protect the freedom of the press’s speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press.”
MARK TWAIN (License of the Press. 1873).
“All newspapers and journalistic activity is an intellectual brothel from which there is no retreat.”
LEO TOLSTOY (Letters, Volume 1. Edited by R. F. Christian. 1978).
“Journalists say a thing is true they know isn’t true, in the hope that if they keep on saying it long enough it WILL be true.”
ARNOLD BENNETT (The Title, act 3. 1918).
Even an arch-imperialist recognised their cowardice with –
“I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tales shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?”
RUDYARD KIPLING (Epitaphs of the War: A Dead Statesman. 1919).
Past corruption was bad enough. But even that pales into insignificance when compared to current cowards infecting British media at all levels. Alas, where are the worthies who will take them on and get right in their face to expose them for the lying scum they are? Until they do, today's angry and defrauded young will make themselves heard through social media and will defeat corporate media by ignoring it.
Murdoch and Rothermere propagandists are dead men walking.
Ladies and Gentlemen
In the red corner we have the populists of the left
In the blue corner we have the populists of the right.
In the middle we have the press and media to adjudicate the rules of the game. Oops, many of them have gone missing and those that remain appear to have been bought by one side or the other. (Leveson 1 - but after extra time Media 1 Leveson lost).
Clowns to the left of us jokers to the right - here we are stuck in the middle of what? Chaos and uncertainty.
Whatever happens now Farage, Banks & Co in the UK and Trump & Associates in the US have managed to create such a divisiveness in our societies that any rational debate is almost impossible.
Good times ahead! Hmmm.....
I don't see it, Tim
We have the worst, nastiest, most incompetent, divided, leaderless shitshow of a government that I can remember (and I'm old enough to have not-voted for Thatcher 3 times) and the opposition can't get over 40% and often polls behind them.
That suggests to me that either people do believe the alleged smears about Corbyn or they aren't smears
He really is useleds
@Roy Gillett 11:35.
Would they be the same rigged polls that get everything wrong at every election?
This is a really good piece and illustrates perfectly how robbing us of Leveson 2 the government's love-in with the media hegemony is set to continue. Corbin bashing will remain a vital stratagem for the 4th Estate and must be challenged
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