Is the Media Mickey Mouse Degree tide turning?
One thing has been made obvious by the welcome knock-back of the “sure winners” the Tories. The media has been exposed. The journalists who have vested interests in pleasing Murdoch daily with even more rancid headlines have been outed.
I know this is the case for one primary reason. In the way miners used to bring birds down the mines to let them know that gas was present, I talk politics to my parents. This can be painful for a Socialist – my parents are Daily Mail/ Sun reading pensioners who worked hard all of their lives. They come from a generation who grumbled about politicians and in fact had no illusions (they live in Northern Ireland) – but every year were fooled by the scare politics of the unionist hegemony in the province. This year, in Northern Ireland is a little different. Unionism is shattering and a beleaguered UUP is being bolstered by a desperate Tory Party.
But it isn’t Northern Ireland politics that my parents have noticed is rotten – they knew that many years ago. No – it is that their usual Daily Mail and Sun line has slightly changed. They still say unreasonable things straight from the pages- but last night, when I spoke to them on the phone, both said to me, more or less in the same words, “the papers told lies about Nick Clegg.”
Let me expose my partisanship – I am a socialist. I want a fair society. I just don’t want you to get the wrong impression… but…
Last night Ann Leslie appeared on BBC Question Time. This experienced old tory hack was also a miners bird (not literally – she did her very best back during the Thatcher years to destroy that industry and those peoples lives). Leslie started her usual less than subtle Tory diatribes with the sentence, “As someone who votes tory, but is not a member of the tory party – I don’t hold with journalists belonging to political parties…” - an unprecendented admission on a populous political programme. With most of her points there was a knowing audience titter and certainly on Twitter as her name, surprisingly trended, the twitter-atti were certainly not fooled by her.
This morning on asking Gordon Brown a question about honesty, a Sun reporter was openly laughed at by the press and Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Mandelson joined in the laughter, Brown saying, “That’s rich from the Sun, the sun should give people more credit,[and be honest] and allow people to make their own minds up.”
Yesterday the Independent Newspaper was confronted by James Murdoch (Rupert’s son who advised his dad to back the Tories) openly at a press do. His objections were because the Independent dared to say, “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election, you will,” in a promotional ad. This shows the flakiness and panic setting into the Murdoch empire as they are feeling the pressure of the fact they have pumped millions of pounds behind a Tory campaign that seems to have ran off the rails. If the Tories fail, that would be millions of pounds wasted on both sides of the Atlantic as President Cain and Vice President Palin failed to reap the Fox News dividend. Murdoch had also met with the Daily Mail pre-the attacks on Nick Clegg – exposing that short lived and transparent joint strategy. The Murdoch’s are under pressure because of the seeming imminent failure of their support for the Tories and their want to place online news print media behind a paywall. Is an empire unravelling?
Press owned by self interested billionaires
Johann Hari sums it up in an article today saying, “The British media is overwhelmingly owned by right-wing billionaires who order their newspapers to build up the politicians who serve their interests, and marginalise or rubbish the politicians who serve the public interest. …Only a tiny spectrum of opinion was permitted [by the Murdoch’s according to ex-editor of the Sun, David Yelland]. Everyone to the left of Tony Blair (not hard) had to be rubbished – even when their policies spoke for a majority of British people.” (full article HERE )
Hari believes the TV debates have been one of the biggest factors in the changing of the public’s ability to be fooled. I nearly agree. I would say it ruins slightly deeper. Thatcher’s nightmare has come about. She used to attack Media Studies as a Mickey Mouse course – but those educated into how the media works seem to have spread the word. Not only that, the ability to blog, twitter, youtube etc has brought different views to people – showing there is more of a view than through the Murdoch/ Rothermere looking glass. The internet has shown people they can make a difference in controversial issues (Trafagura/ Iran/ Haiti etc) and also make little changes to what is accepted will happen (Rage Against the Machine as the very festive number one instead of Simon Cowell’s latest singing cash cow). The people have been educated, and perhaps slowly (a move to the Liberal Democrats is hardly revolutionary!) consciousness is creeping into elections – and these are going to be more than an X-Factor glamour contest.
I predict it will be less of a “It was the Sun wot won it,” than the trending Twitter hashtag this morning of “#itwastheSONwotlostit”.
After the upset this election promises, watch out for an even more colourful Scottish Parliament in 2011.