Moreover, there are the campaigns by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, often against media figures they don’t like (hello Owen Jones) and also against left-leaning politicians like Emma Dent Coad and Laura Pidcock. This, somehow, is not Cancel Culture. Because Cancel Culture is only of the left.
He gets cancelled ...
So it is that the loathsome Toby Young whines plaintively about people having their free speech circumscribed, only to be then given a platform by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph to peddle a pack of potentially highly dangerous lies about the Coronavirus pandemic. He can then point to the justified and severe criticism of his efforts as another manifestation of Cancel Culture. And so the charade is perpetuated.
What is actually happening is that the right-leaning media establishment has devised yet another way of demonising those who call it out for racism, homophobia, sexism, misogyny, and other assorted forms of bigotry. In the past, this was called Political Correctness Gorn Mad. More recently is has been slapped down as Woke. Neither of these deflections has succeeded. So now we have the equally fictitious Cancel Culture.
As Michael Hobbes at the HuffPost has put it, “If ‘cancel culture’ is a term that encompasses both the famous and the nonfamous, social media mobs and risk-averse employers, firings and consumer boycotts, then it means nothing at all. It is, like ‘political correctness’ before it, simply a name people give to things they do not like”.
... but he doesn't. Spot the political difference
Nesrine Malik in the Guardian put it this way: “The people who are waiting to pile on you, dox you (spread private information about you online with malicious intent) and get you fired broadly have little in common apart from the urge to tear someone down … It’s a broad church. All of humanity is here”. Anyone who has experienced a pile-on (and doxxing) from the far right knows the idea criticism only comes from the left is a fantasy.
It is certainly a media establishment thing in the UK: Spiked kick off about it because they get their credibility from that same establishment granting them broadcast appearances, giving them columns, promoting their alumni into Government. Toby Young whines because he, too, wishes to preserve his place within sight of the top table.
Social media certainly makes any backlash a more immediate thing. But it is not in the pay of the left. The media establishment are there too. Their problem is that they now have someone else’s tanks on their lawn. And their sole response is to throw a mardy strop.