Friday, 13 November 2015

Jeremy Corbyn v's The Establishment

Prior to Jeremy Corbyn's landslide Labour leadership victory Guardian columnist Owen Jones warned that, should he win, the response from the mainstream media would resemble "the mother of all fire-storms". "You need to be prepared" he warned Corbynites, "it is going to be pretty intense". Fast-forward two long months and 'intense' doesn't even begin to cover it.

Those attuned to political misinformation (propaganda, I think it's called) will recognise the still on-going onslaught for the slanderous smear campaign it unashamedly is. Wave after wave of attacks: twisting policies; quoting out of context; proliferating myths to match their agenda. The media are employing every tactic in the book. And, perhaps most worryingly, with undeniable success.

From the baffling (Corbyn would banish the army. He wouldn't, obviously) to the ridiculous (Corbyn is an anti-Semite. He isn't, obviously). And from the libellous (Corbyn's conference speech was plagiarised. It wasn't, obviously) to the hilarious (Corbyn rides a Chairman Mao-style bicycle. That's not even a thing). Nothing credible to see here.

Not fit for top job without top button in top button-hole

Even our Dear Tory Leader stood up, at his biggest speech of the year, and insulted the intelligence of every single man and woman in this country by repeating the Osama Bin Ladin "tragedy" line that had been debunked weeks beforehand. Why else would a recently elected Prime Minister stoop to such obviously desperate levels if other than being rattled by the emergence of true opposition. There's no question mark here because there isn't an answer.

And then, just recently, came perhaps the most absurd accusation to date: that Corbyn didn't bow deeply enough after laying his wreath at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony; the accusers seemingly caring so little about respecting fallen soldiers as to attempt to score political points based on pure and utter fabrication. It's the kind of lie you want to avoid confronting for fear of affording it a hint of vindication, but it eats you up inside until you can't resist, and in turn inspires you to write a bloody blog.

The Sun - forever existing in their own little world - even front-paged their complaint that he "refused" to bow. I can quite easily imagine their news team sat around a table unknowingly staring at a photograph waiting for it to move when they came to this conclusion: forgetting it's a still image and further foaming at the mouth with every passing second of Corbyn's statuesque stillness. Until they realised their faux pas, but printed it anyway.

At least, in the case above, it doesn't seem to be a widely held view of the public. Rather, just the inane garbling of spineless journalists. The danger is, of course, that we still live in a world where many people follow politics from the front pages of the gutter press and those online sensationalistic click-bait articles. The trouble being that even the most blatant tabloid lies, repeated over and over again, are absorbed into the public psyche and bandied around as facts.

Everyone to wear beige by Commie Law if elected

As Noam Chomsky once wrote (yeah, that's right, I'm quoting Chomsky, and yeah, of course it came from a meme), "the smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum". The political lobbying operation, which poses as 'The Free Press', is doing just that.

So, what chance does Corbyn have against the evermore raging and outlandish establishment? The power of the Tory-adoring media shouldn't be underestimated. After all, it's not the first time their spin and lies have led Britons to a severely skewed perception of reality, and as sure as a Tory is blue, it won't be the last.

Take, for example, 'problems' that can be measured, such as benefit fraud. Blown out of all proportion in the media it leads the average person to honestly believe that 27% of social security is claimed fraudulently and that 41% of it goes to the unemployed. So, no wonder they're so angry about it. Except, of course, they've been had. The facts say 0.7% and 3% respectfully, but facts all too rarely influence opinion.

But still, somehow, I'm optimistic. Newspaper sales are falling rapidly, and unless there's a miraculous change in momentum everybody will soon obtain their news from the internet. That alone of course won't provide a solution, since all the newspapers exist in web-form anyway. However, with the exponential explosion of social media and the subsequent sharing of knowledge and ideas, truth - or at least a better understanding of it - is bound to prevail.

Actual, real-life protest in Queen's front garden, November 2015

Of course The Sun, The Times, The Daily Mail et al., are going to try and destroy Jeremy Corbyn. After all, reporting with any semblance of impartial rationality would see his popularity surge even further which is something their billionaire owners have a vested interested in halting.

Like telling you you're going to have a shit holiday and then making it rain all week, it's the establishment's labelling of Corbyn as 'unelectable' that may indeed prove to make him so. Unless, of course, we do something about it. Namely: expose the lies and share the truth.

Whenever you find yourself eager to bang your head against the wall having seen the day's front-pages, remember: The Age of Information is in it's infancy, and it's not going away. Enlightenment is inevitable.