Thursday, July 21, 2016

Blame Corbyn? What about Theresa May's self-serving non-campaign?


The contrast in mainstream media coverage of the referendum campaigning of Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May is quite extraordinary.

The facts

  • Theresa May kept an extremely low-profile, even by admission of hard-right media outlets like the Telegraph (paywall) and Spectator
  • Jeremy Corbyn was by far the most commonly featured Labour politician during the referendum debate. Theresa May was the 10th most featured Tory politician, miles behind people like the backbencher Jacob Rees Mogg, low-profile ministers like Priti Patel and Chris Grayling, and the former Prime Minister John Major.
  • A poll conducted by the (Blairite) Fabian Society showed that Jeremy Corbyn was rated as by far the most trusted Labour voice during the referendum on plus 17, while his nearest Labour Party rival was the Labour In leader Alan Johnson on minus 10

Mainstream media portrayals

By pretty much all measures (effort, 
trustworthiness, media appearances, public appearances, outcomes ...) Jeremy Corbyn put on a much better EU referendum campaign than Theresa May, but somehow the Westminster establishment club and their chums in the mainstream media have relentlessly blamed Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit, whilst steadfastly refusing to criticise Theresa May's abject performance.

The BBC publicised the Portland Communications "Blame Corbyn" PR piece as if it came some random member of the public rather than an employee of a dodgy Blairite PR company, and the corporate media gave thousands of column inches to Labour coup plotters to damn Corbyn's performance, but when it came to Theresa May's performance, many of them even tried to put a positive spin on her non-campaign by claiming that her lack of enthusiasm for Remain made her an ideal "unifying" candidate for the Tory leadership!

Even the right-wing press admitted that Theresa May's lack of EU campaigning stemmed from her leadership ambitions. She deliberately and cynically kept a low-profile because she put her own leadership ambitions way above what she claimed to be the best interests of the country (remaining in the EU). Yet somehow the mainstream media are determined to blame Jeremy Corbyn, who was practically the only politician to try to speak to the public as if we're adults rather than a bunch of sub-juvenile halfwits who can be goaded into supporting one side or the other with fearmongering, threats, false promises, immigrant-bashing or outright lies.

It's absolutely extraordinary that the mainstream media have worked so tirelessly to cast by far the most trusted and widely reported Labour politician during the referendum debate as an abject failure, while simultaneously painting the desperately untrustworthy, brazenly self-serving and frankly lazy campaign by Theresa May as some kind of brilliant asset to her leadership ambitions.

The sad thing is that so many people actually lap up these kinds of ludicrously counter-factual propaganda narratives. As far as some people are concerned, reading some extremely biased anti-Corbyn hatchet job in the Guardian, or reading some warped Theresa May hagiography in the tabloid press is enough for them to uncritically rote learn what they've read, and adopt it as their own political opinion to be spewed out withot even ever actually thinking about it for themselves.

As long as people continue to simply rote-learn and repeat the pro-establishment mainstream propaganda, the loathed Westminster establishment club will always remain untouchable and unreformed.


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