Thursday, 5 November 2015

How the mainstream media frame the political debate

This ludicrous newspaper article in the Guardian provides a perfect example of how the mainstream media use false narratives and misleading language to frame the political debate. The headline clearly implies that the Labour leader Corbyn is some kind of extremist and that by taking these minor backbench positions the "moderates" have dealt Corbyn some kind of crucial strategic blow.

These people are not moderates, they are the unpopular right-wing fringe of the Labour Party

If you actually read the article you find that several of these so-called "moderates" are from the most right-wing fringe of the Labour Party. There's Caroline Flint (pictured) who is economically right-wing and has extremist right-wing authoritarian views on drug use. There's Tristram Hunt who did bollocks all as shadow education secretary to oppose the Tories as they privatised thousands of state schools into the hands of unaccountable private sector pseudo-charities (several of them operated by major Tory party donors), and only days previously was openly fantasising about how he'd love to see the "top 1%" taking control of the Labour Party away from the uppity plebs who elected Corbyn. And there's Chris Leslie, the Osbornite former caretaker shadow chancellor who expends far more effort attacking the current Labour leadership than he ever did criticising the Tories and their ideological austerity con.

The author (Patrick Wintour) even goes on to describe Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves as "moderates". Umunna is the absolute embodiment of the unmistakably right-wing self-serving Blairite careerist politician that pushes people away from the Labour Party in droves, and Rachel Reeves once promised to be even tougher on the most vulnerable people in society than Iain Duncan Smith's regime of terror!

It turns out that of the 17 Labour MPs to walk unopposed into these backbench roles, 10 of them openly supported Liz Kendall, who was the most right-wing of the four Labour Leadership candidates and ended up securing just 4.5% of the vote (compared to Jeremy Corbyn's 59.5%). That's pretty clear evidence that these people are not "moderates", but actually representatives of a tiny and deeply unpopular right-wing fringe of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn is a moderate

Jeremy Corbyn is an economic moderate. He's the kind of mild-mannered social democrat who would be considered quite normal in any of the Scandinavian social democratic countries. The problem is that the political spectrum in the UK has been skewed so far to the right over the last four decades that these days anyone who doesn't subscribe to George Osborne's fanatically right-wing economic agenda is derided as some kind of raving communist by the bulk of the mainstream press.

The idea that it's wrong to load the burden of austerity onto the poor and ordinary in order to pay for the excesses of the tiny super-rich minority isn't extremist. If more people understood that this is precisely what is happening right now, they'd see that Corbyn is actually talking a lot of sense.

The idea that the vital infrastructure and services should be run as not-for-profit public services isn't extremist, in fact the majority of the British public agree with Corbyn on that one.

The idea that the NHS shouldn't be deliberately starved of funding, carved up and given away to the private sector isn't extremist, once again the majority of people agree with Corbyn on that one too.

Jeremy Corbyn isn't an extremist and neither are the majority of the public who agree with many of his core economic policies. The problem is that right-wingers in the mainstream media have skewed the debate so far to the right that ideologically driven fanatics like George Osborne and David Cameron are described as the norm, while mild-mannered social democrats like Jeremy Corbyn are derided as dangerous extremists.

This was no kind of victory

As for their so-called flexing of muscles, most of these right-wingers obtained their backbench committee positions completely unopposed. Corbyn undeniably has the support of the Labour membership, but the Blairites who preceded him spent the last two decades parachuting in economically right-wing candidates into Labour safe seats, meaning there just aren't enough non-Blairite politicians left in the party to fill every minor position. It's hardly a victory for right-wingers like Flint, Hunt and Leslie that there's nobody left to oppose them taking up their minor backbench roles, it's a demonstration of how far the Parliamentary Labour Party has drifted from its founding principles.

It's absolutely clear that the vast majority of Labour Party supporters don't want these right-wingers running the party, but after two decades of New Labour purging the party of dissenting voices there just aren't enough non-Blairite MPs left to fill every minor backbench role, so some of these positions have ended up going to embarrassments like Caroline Flint, Tristram Hunt and Chris Leslie.

The agenda

The mainstream media agenda to demonise Jeremy Corbyn as an extremist and talk up the most right-wing elements of the Labour Party as "moderates" couldn't be clearer. 

The idea that by positioning themselves ever so slightly to the left of the most right-wing Tory government in living memory these people are somehow "moderates" is utterly ridiculous. As is the idea that a Labour Party led by these people would be remotely electable. These people couldn't even get 5% of Labour Party supporters to back their right-wing candidate during the Labour leadership election, so how on earth could they ever get some 25% of the entire electorate to buy into their disgusting brand of pink Thatcherism?

I think the conclusion here is pretty obvious. I'm pretty sure that most politically aware people know by now to take the Murdoch Press and the Daily Mail with a huge pinch of salt, but the obvious false narrative and biased language in this Guardian piece should serve as a warning that it's important to always use your critical judgement whatever the source.

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Jeremy Corbyn is not as radical as the media claim he is 
The incompatibility of Christian ethics and modern Conservatism
A letter to fans of Workfare
Secret Courts and the very Illiberal Democrats
The ideological vandalism of the English education system
Iain Duncan Smith's reign of terror
The Tory ideological mission
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies


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