Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson did not have to wait for Rupe to call to know which way to jump. “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change. It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way”. To which I call bullshit. The kind of free press acceptable to Bozo The Clown is the kind that does not hold his Government to account.
Nonetheless, ministers dutifully weighed in as they knew Murdoch would want. Matt Hancock was, sadly, one of them. “Totally outrageous that Extinction Rebellion are trying to suppress free speech by blockading newspapers. They must be dealt with by the full force of the law. Newspapers are already struggling - get out there & buy a paper to support the free press”. FREEZE PEACH! But only that of which Rupe approves.
Robert Jenrick also indulged this conceit. “A free press matters to all of us who value a free society. They mustn’t be silenced by an intolerant minority”. The only intolerant minority right now is the group of billionaires he’s defending. The Tory position was laughable.
It was also hypocritical, as Stella Creasy pointed out. “A free society requires the active protection not just of a free press but also an open democracy, human rights and an independent judiciary and legal system that keeps all honest. You can’t pick and choose which to defend, no matter when and how each make you uncomfortable”.
David Lammy was on the same page. “The free press is vital. So is the ability of the public to challenge the government when it breaks the law. If you think holding the government to account matters, scrap your attack on judicial review”. But let’s hear from someone who writes a newspaper column on a regular basis. Someone like … Owen Jones.
“Most of the British press is owned by a tiny group of very wealthy moguls who treat newspapers as their playthings - newspapers which often act as the partisan praetorian guard of the government. Call that what you will, but it isn't a ‘free press’”.
Not going so well for the Tories, was it? Moreover, XR UK weren’t for backing down. “UK free press is as much a myth as the benevolence of Empire. If we are to cope with #ClimateCollapse we have to unlearn the toxic untruths manufactured by the [MSM] that keep us frightened & divided. 70% of our press controlled by 5 non-dom billionaires”.
Momentum were equally unimpressed. “Three companies dominate 83% of the UK's national newspaper market, promoting the interests of corporations and a wealthy elite. The biggest owner is billionaire right-wing press baron Rupert Murdoch. How is that a ‘free press’?” It isn’t. And the people at Media Lens were equally scathing.
“Before anyone denounces this as an attack on the 'free press' - there is no free press. There is a billionaire-owned, profit-maximising, ad-dependent corporate press that has knowingly suppressed the truth of climate collapse and the need for action to protect corporate profits”. And James Felton had a reminder for Bozo.
“The free press is vital in holding me to account, says man who banned the Mirror from his election bus and once hid from Good Morning Britain in a fridge”. It’s a “free press” to be defended to the hilt by the Tories - because it backs the Tories. Without its hard copy and online propaganda machine, Bozo would be in even worse trouble than he is now.
Call it a free press if you like, Tories. But don’t insult our intelligence. Because it isn’t.
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