Richard North has written many times, as have I – almost, about our supine media who reguarly ‘parrot’ the latest utterances on the forthcoming referendum by those MPs who still do not realise that their views are of no consequence; and that, at the end of the day, it is the views of the British electorate that matter. In his latest article, he rightly observes that the impending referendum is turning into the ‘Dave and Boris Show’; culminating in the fiasco of a ‘he says – he says’ argument – with Dave lying his socks off and Boris uttering incomprehensible tosh.
The foregoing begs the question: who is more culpable for the electorate being fed what amounts to propaganda: Dave, Boris, or the media?
An interesting article comes from Sam Hooper, who in turn picks up on an article by Glenn Greenwald who believes that the media should – and could – have stopped the attempt at the US presidency by Donald Trump in his tracks.
As I am of the opinion it is not the right of this blog to interfere in the democratic process of the USA – and by the same token neither is it the right of a US President to interfere in our democratic process, but I digress – let us leave that point to one side.
What is interesting in Sam Hooper’s article is the argument that he presents, when he writes:
.While Greenwald is absolutely right to chastise mainstream media outlets for clinging desperately to an “appearance of objectivity at all costs” dogma which routinely sees them humiliate themselves by speaking and writing about the utterly ridiculous as though it were merely an equal and opposing side to an argument [..] Political journalism is scorned by the public as much as Washington politics itself, and often for quite valid reasons – the incestuous, back-scratching relationship between the two is often entirely self serving and actively prevents the holding of government to proper account..., the same can be said of British journalism and Westminster.
In Hooper’s article we then come to another important – and pertinent – statement:
There is almost nothing as infuriating as watching high profile journalists discuss an issue where one side obviously has the moral and intellectual high ground in terms that suggest that it is a finely balanced debate – witness the debates on torture, climate change, Brexit (UK secession from the European Union) and more. But even worse than this would be a collusion between media outlets to freeze out certain ideas or candidates from being mentioned altogether because they are “evil” or contradict prevailing orthodoxies. (Emphasis mine) – which is what has happened to FlexCit.
Paraphrasing a later point made by Greenwald, in this country many people are alarmed, but it is difficult to know that by observing media coverage, where little journalistic alarm about the lies Cameron posits, or the faux knowledge on which Johnson relies, is expressed. That’s because the rules of large media outlets – venerating faux objectivity over truth along with every other civic value — prohibit the sounding of any alarms. Under this framework of corporate journalism, to denounce Cameron or Johnson, or even to sound alarms about the dark forces they’re exploiting and unleashing, would not constitute journalism. To the contrary, such behavior is regarded as a violation of journalism. Such denunciations are scorned as opinion, activism, and bias.
When we look at journalism today how can any one of them ‘stand aside’ and watch a politician unleash and stoke up what may be termed anti-democratic feelings without voicing desent? Due to the constraints imposed by representative democracy in this country whereby any member of the electorate has only his constituency politician to whom he can complain (and heaven help him if his MP is a lackey of the Executive) – and who may well disregard/negate/ignore said constituent’s concerns for personal gain – does it not then mean said constituent must rely on journalists to ‘stand-in’ for said constituent and take an MP to task; as do not journalists have unfettered access to politicians, unlike a member of the electorate?
Large corporations hate controversy (it alienates consumers) and really hate offending those who wield political power (bad for business). Imposing objectivity rules on the journalists who work for their media divisions was a means to avoid offending anyone by forcing journalists to conceal their perspectives, assumptions, and viewpoints, and, worse, forcing them to dishonestly pretend that they had none, that they float above all that.
In that statement we have another aspect of the problem the electorate have; attempting to ‘bring-to-heel’ large corporations which involves massive effort by the electorate, who only have their voice to protest. Did not someone once say: the pen is mightier than the word? So, does not objective journalism have a role to fill in our society – and thus become the guardian of those who cannot speak for themseves under a ‘rigged’ system of democracy?
With apologies for ‘banging-on’ about the failure of those who have ‘assumed ownership’ of The Harrogate Agenda (THA) and failed to promote it, but the foregoing is an example by which they could have promoted it. If one considers that the first principle of THA is that the people are sovereign, then nothing is beyond their concern and control – hence the people could thus ensure journalism becomes truly objective; ie, sort out ‘the wind from the chaff’.
While the incestuous, back-scratching relationship between the political class and the media is entirely self serving and actively prevents the holding of government to proper account continues,then representative democracy is doomed – as it is not true democracy; as is direct democracy, a system in which the people are sovereign and thus are the masters.
Some Brexiteers (those that supposedly believe in Flexcit) make much of the sunlit uplands of life outside the constraints of the European Union and in so doing write and talk about democracy; yet seem not to realise that to escape the first we need the latter. As they themselves admit, what is the point of escaping the clutches of one despotic form of government only to hand it to another? Yet another reason for THA being point #2 of FlexCit? JC! Does not logic dictate that before reclaiming ‘soverignty’ one puts in place a means by which those to whom power is being returned cannot commit the same mistake again?
It seems to this blog that some Brexiteers appear unable to see the wood from the trees? Just saying………………………..
Afterthought: the ‘opposing view’ is offered as I believe it has been said that ‘the gloves are off’?