Corbyn’s best endorsement, both of his integrity and his potential power, is the media hate being poured on him; and his best – in fact his only – hope of getting his undiluted message across lies with Twitter, Facebook and alt news outlets.
“Let’s be honest,” says Owen Jones in the Guardian today, “if social media were as politically invaluable as the left would like, Labour would now be in office with a majority of 150.”
Owen Jones is one of the few columnists the Guardian employs who is still worth listening to. But here I think he’s completely wrong. The reason Labour didn’t win the last general election has nothing to do with the power of social media and everything to do with the fact that Labour under Milliband was offering no real alternative. Diluted Blairism and pink-stained Toryism say nothing to people who know what’s needed is a wholesale change away from divisive unfairness, war and poverty toward inclusiveness, justice and peace. Why vote for Labour when they are indistinguishable from the Conservatives? Why bother voting at all when it’s a choice with no choice?
That’s why 34% of potential voters stayed home.
(And remember our antiquated voting system means we currently have an incumbent in No.10 put there by less than 25% of the electorate. So let’s not get too silly about the level of popular endorsement for Conservative policies.)
Owen’s message is that the MSM is still the vital arbiter of public opinion, and that Corbyn needs to win the press over if he is to have a chance of forming a serious opposition. But I think one of those claims is questionable and the other is palpably absurd.
The MSM campaign against Corbyn has made it clear – even to those who may still have doubted it – that it has no interest in fair hearings, democracy or the popular will. In fact, if nothing else, Corbyn’s election as Labour leader has succeeded in stripping away the last vestiges of decent concealment from the mainstream press and revealed it for what it is today – a brainless, braying mouthpiece built and maintained to help impose an increasingly grotesque system of mass poverty on an increasingly restive population.
Over the last thirty years,and without most of us noticing, our post-war consensus democracy, with its commitment to fairness, inclusiveness and caring for its disadvantaged, has been undergoing reconstruction into a neo-feudal society of 99% largely disempowered serfs ruled over by the 1% uber-class. This metamorphosis has had to be concealed from people’s awareness, and the mainstream media was also reconstructed – divested of its real journalists and much of its independence – in order to act as the PR team for this “new world order,” selling every creeping change, no matter how anti-democratic as “democracy”.
The only thing that has so far stopped this transformation from being completely effective is the internet and the alternative media that flourishes there. While every major organ from the UK Sun to the NYT shills for Empire, it’s the likes of Democracy Now!, Global Research, and the Intercept – as well as numerous smaller outfits – that increasingly serve the function of true news outlets and increasingly set the parameters of the possible. This is why the mainstream journals are losing readership, losing credibility and being slowly shuffled closer and closer toward irrelevance.
Corbyn’s election as leader is not just a sea change in politics, it’s also the clearest sign yet of the waning power of the MSM. They put their entire power behind ensuring this man was not elected leader of the Labour Party. And they failed. Laughably.
Now they are putting their entire power behind ensuring he never becomes Prime Minister. Why does Owen assume so unquestioningly they will succeed? Why is he so keen to assert the limits of social media when all the evidence shows its power is now considerable? And why does he think any “mainstream media offensive” Corbyn did would make a difference?
When Owen warns Corbyn’s team that they need to “communicate” with the MSM, and that “Twitter and packed halls are not enough: a mainstream media offensive is crucial – or the smears will stick,” I think he needs to ask himself a question – What could Corbyn do or say to the mainstream now that would persuade them to give him a fair hearing?
Owen must know the answer to that is – nothing – short of abandoning every single one of his “controversial” policies designed to bring back some fragment of justice to our unjust society.
This isn’t some sort of misunderstanding going on here. The press aren’t anti-Corbyn because they don’t get what he stands for. They are anti-Corbyn because they do get what he stands for, and their paymasters will continue to make sure they remain anti-Corbyn for as long as he holds to those principles of fairness and decency they want eradicated from world politics.
Owen needs to take off those mainstream media -tinted specs and realise what is in play right now. Corbyn’s best endorsement, both of his integrity and his potential power, is the media hate being poured on him; and his best – in fact his only – hope of getting his undiluted message across lies with Twitter, Facebook and alt news outlets.
If his team are seeing that and boldly grasping that then good for them, and Owen Jones needs to support them. Maybe Corbyn’s brave stand is doomed to failure. But it’s still the only real hope right now for any one looking for real change.
For Corbyn’s first PM’s Question Time today he asked ordinary people to email him issues they wanted raised – and he stood by his word and put these questions to the House. Every time he mentioned the name of one of those ordinary people, some MPs could be heard sniggering.
Right there we can see everything that’s currently right with Corbyn and wrong with, well – all the rest of them
Owen – for heaven’s sake really get behind this man and stop using your platform in a major media outlet to undermine him in the name of offering “advice.”