Within days, we’ve had major news headlines such as the Hillsborough inquest verdict, which determined that the football fans were not at fault and that the police were to blame for the deaths of 96 innocent people. Other hard-hitting stories such as the Panama Papers revelations have also raised a global hot-off-the-press buzz. The Panama Papers alone were unquestionably colossal in comparison to previous disclosures such as the Luxembourg Leaks. Antoine Deltour, the man who uncovered the infamous Luxembourg documents to the press, is now being charged by the accountancy firm, Pricewaterhouse Cooper. The sum that was quoted in the #LuxLeaks revelations was €1000 billion and the #PanamaPapers dwarfs it in comparison.
There have also been revelations regarding the Conservative Party’s overspending during the 2015 election, where it seems probable that illegal sums of money influenced our democracy. The constituencies that illegally overspent were greater in number than the number of seats the Conservatives won over Labour. This is huge news, surely? The corruption that has impacted our democracy and likely the 2015 general election result has somehow been ignored by the majority of the mainstream press, excluding Channel 4 News, which has given extensive coverage to the story mainly thanks to the broadcaster, John Snow. Yet, when it comes to a new MP’s comments that were made during the Gaza assault in 2015 before that person was an MP, it makes full page headlines in all major news outlets. It could be that there’s a reason The Sun didn’t want to talk too much about Hillsborough and maybe the Daily Mail, which is based in a known tax haven, had good reason to brush over the Panama Papers’ revelations. In a matter of hours, the debate has switched from serious issues that impact everyone worldwide and in the UK, to an issue about whether or not someone’s comments were anti-Semitic.
To put the comments into perspective, the two suspensions; Naz Shah, and Ken Livingstone, are technically over one year apart and represent less than 0.001% of the Labour Party. In the last six months, five people have been investigated for anti-Semitism. And out of those five, two refer back to the Oxford case in which there were no facts, just accusations from a Labour student who is a member of the right-wing faction Progress within the Labour party, and much more significantly, a member of BICOM, an Israeli lobby group. The accusations in the Oxford case were a total flop and were backed up by simply conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. So what did Ken Livingstone say? Death to all Jews? Plugging Mein Kampf live on the radio? Not at all. In fact, what Ken Livingstone has said, is factually correct and scholars concur that the Zionist leaders in Germany and the Nazi Chancellor signed an agreement to send German Jews to Palestine. Of course, his comments were clumsy and ungraceful but that’s nothing new for Livingstone. Naz Shah, on the other hand, made rather uneducated comments, but still, her comments were not anti-Semitic, rather, anti-Zionist.
What is significant to this story, however, is the fact that MP Mann launched a blistering and totally nonsensical and intimidating rant at Ken Livingstone whilst surrounded by a full TV crew and numerous journalists. The context of what Mann said was also interesting: “You’re a Nazi apologist, you’re rewriting history. Go back and check what Hitler did.” Perhaps Mann is the one who should go back and check his history, it seems. In an ideal world where the media actually cares about facts and people, this would be the main talking point and the reality should tell you all you need to know about our modern day mainstream press.
The Israel lobby, backed by billions upon billions of dollars, pounds, and euros, is a powerful lobby and its enormous power is evident here.
If we are going to suspend MPs and political party members, diverting attention from life-threatening and life-impacting stories every time someone says something ungraceful, then the entire Conservative front bench would be missing, along with many members of Progress.
So how do we stop the mainstream media from changing the debate? In short, we can’t completely stop the ability to monopolise story angles, but we can mitigate their enormous power significantly.
By not getting involved in the mainstream media’s sensationalism or at the very least, remain focused on the bigger, more important issues then we can keep the debate pointing in the right direction. What the media is really trying to do is to distract from the main issues because they have vested interests in doing this. Don’t fall for that trap like many experienced Labour MPs do. Although, it’s arguable whether some fall for the trap or desperately seek out the trap and jump straight into it.
Boycotting is another simple and straightforward option that would seriously damage the finances of major news firms that are owned by the billionaire media moguls. Part of the mainstream media’s finances are redistributed into marketing and design, so by reducing their funds we can cut their appeal and reach. What many don’t realise is that the polls that are imposed onto mainstream news websites are designed to attract site visitors which increases their website advertisement revenues. These polls are majorly flawed as you can simply delete your computers internet cookies, refresh the website page, and vote again and again.
Educating people on the hypocrisy, propaganda, lies and sensationalism that the mainstream media spouts forth is by far the most needed. It’s not enough to talk within closed circles about the all too obvious negative aspects of the mainstream press. It’s vital that we reach out and talk to the disinterested, disengaged and those who are ignorant or indifferent to the mainstream dialogue.
Fight for a truly free press that reverses all the negative changes this Conservative government has put in place. What’s interesting is that the mainstream press in this country doesn’t appear bothered by a crack down on their rights.
Switch to small, independent, alternative media organisations and advocate to everyone the benefits and positives of switching away from the giant mainstream corporate influenced organisations.
Let Time Work its Magic
What many people don’t realise, is that the mainstream media is literally dying. It has created a nation of cynics. In fact, it has created a world of cynics. The vast majority of us don’t trust mainstream media and despite millions still paying for information from this source, readerships across the board are falling on average, 10% a year per news outlet. Democratised social media platforms such as Twitter now mean that everyone’s profile has the same voice regardless of wealth. On social media, content is crucial, whereas the mainstream media is still stuck with cheap sensationalism, lies, smear, and hypocrisy. What we are seeing is a slow transition from old media to new media; from old politics to new politics. We could let time work its magic on these old dinosaurs, but for the sake of our future and for the sake of the next generation, let’s give time a huge push and help make these dinosaurs extinct.