Naked Politics Blogger
Can you feel it? The air is thick with it. It’s rampant on all sides, right and left, Tory and Labour, Daily Mail and The Guardian. I’m talking of course about fear – fear of the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (aka Jezza). Never in my short life as a political aficionado have I seen such a massive collective onslaught against a single political figure.
The mainstream media has been relentless in their attacks against him. The Sun branding him as jester or a traitor for refusing to sing the national anthem, the Mail and their ‘1000 days that destroyed Britain’ piece, the Telegraph proclaiming that he’ll bring ‘chaos’, the Time’s snide remarks about his “squat” terrace house or his “Chairman mao-style bicycle”, the BBC’s Fox news-esque Panorama piece on him, Sky News and their 3 minute stalker journalism bit: the ‘Long Walk Of Silence’. Even classical left-wing outlets such as The Guardian have been accused of character assassinations against Jeremy Corbyn, consistently and subtly painting him in a negative light. No matter what your views on the man, it’s hard to argue that such affront is either democratic or fair.
But why is the mainstream media so strongly opposed to one man? One answer could be summed up in a comment by the journalist in the aforementioned Sky News video: “why are you not so keen to talk to the media Jeremy?”. He has regularly been short with the media; during his first five days as leader he notably snubbed many major media outlets, refusing the expected 10 minute interview with each broadcaster. Could it be revenge for his attitude towards the media, his disdain for the established rules of engagement between journalists and politicians? Possibly, but this media negativity against Jeremy Corbyn has been going on for a while. Also I’ve barely reached my word count so lets speculate some more.
Attacks from The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro to be are expected (along with the majority of mainstream media), seeing as they’re owned by Lord Rothermere: a known billionaire, Tory supporting, tax avoider. The Sun, The Sun on Sunday & Sky News are all owned by Rupert Murdoch, another billionaire, Tory supporting, tax avoider.
The Telegraph & The Sunday Telegraph are owned by the Barclay twins, two more (you guessed it) billionaire, Tory supporting, tax avoiders. The Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday all owned by Richard Desmond, a (say it with me now) billionaire, Tory supporting, tax avoider!
Now please don’t think this is just an attack against the Tories and their ‘piggy’ ways, god knows they’ve got enough in their ‘trough’ to deal with (#piggate in case the puns weren’t getting through). No really, because fairness where fairness is due, most of those media outlets supported Labour during Blair’s reign.
Besides I’ve got bigger pigs to fry, namely the common denominators mentioned above and the reason for such an expected media onslaught – tax avoiding, billionaires who own the majority of the media. This handful of men that own and control the majority of all UK news outlets, outlets that are constantly influencing and shaping the hearts, minds, attitudes and opinions of millions. These men who have a vested interest in maintaining their vast accumulation of their wealth, and the wealth of all their friends. You saw what happened when Ed Miliband dared to challenge them; now see how their forces contrive to crush a man who they fear may present a genuine threat to their interests – austerity, media monopolies, arms sales, wealth accumulation etc.
Are these the ramblings of another angry socialist or a sober statement of the grave reality we live in? Personally I’d say both; regardless we still need to address the two elephants in the room – The Guardian and the Observer. Those two bastions of left-wing press, ever alone with the Mirror in their fight against the forces of those porcum-necrophilic Tories, why have they been so notably opposed to their fellow comrade Jezza? What are they afraid of?
Well the two papers have a reputation for being the keepers of the left’s moral compass, the only ‘true’ alternative to the press barons and long held supporters of the Labour party. But does Jeremy Corbyn threaten Labour’s position as the left-wing opposition to the right-wing Conservatives, revealing it to be nothing more than a Tory-lite, neoliberal, soft-right party? A public revelation that the high and mighty left-wing stalwarts had been supporting Red Tories all along could damage the newspapers reputation irrevocably, forcing it’s readers away in disgust. Or maybe they’re just afraid that the UK is just full of heartless, shy conservatives and that Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist agenda will kill any hopes of Labour regaining power. (You’d have to be really pessimistic to think the UK is full of heartless bastards – it’s at least only around 17.6%, i.e. the percentage of the UK population that voted Conservative in 2015),
If The Guardian cannot see that the later option is the unlikely one, and rather more likely due to the great power and influence that the media has on public opinion, then The Guardian either is dumber than I took it for or a whole lot more sinister. Or maybe they are acutely aware of this reality, and of their lone status as a progressive paper in a news-sphere of fear mongering. Maybe they just fear for their reputation, for the reputation of Labour, and they see Jeremy as a threat to both.
Fear is pandemic. The powers-that-be fear to lose their status and wealth, so they use the media to play on the people’s fears, fears of not having a job, a home or security; or they exacerbate their fear of immigrants, the poor, the other. The parties fear losing power, the papers fear for their reputations, the people fear whom and what they’re told they should fear.
The majority of mainstream media deals in fear, it’s their business and they’re very good at it. By creating and manipulating people’s fear you can control a population. If the media are attacking Jeremy so vigorously it might be a sign he poses a threat not only to them but also to their fear machine. That or they just really hate socks and sandals.
In the words of Malcolm X: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
So let us be careful.
[Full disclosure in the interests if transparency – I’m not the biggest fan of the Tories. However I know at the end of the day they’re just trying to do what they think is best, same as everyone else, so if you are right-leaning know that you’re still okay in my books!]