This week, the BBC cleared itself of any wrongdoing for presenting the leader of the opposition as a Russian stooge. But viewers remain unsatisfied with the show’s tone and approach to covering Jeremy Corbyn. And archive footage shows how presenters and guests reacted on-air to news that Corbyn might win the Labour leadership election in 2015. The contempt began there.
Just before going to air on 21 July 2015, news broke about the election. It turned out that ‘joke’ candidate Jeremy Corbyn was a country mile ahead. Presenter Kirsty Wark, Newsnight political editor Allegra Stratton, and former Blair advisor John McTernan giggled over the news. When Stratton tells McTernan that it must be “scary” for Labour, McTernan responds by condemning “the moronic MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn to have a debate”. This refers to the MPs who gave Corbyn the minimum party nominations required to stand in the election. He continues:
They should be ashamed of themselves… They’re morons, right.
While the three continue to chuckle, Wark suggests maybe there are Labour activists and voters who like Corbyn. McTernan responds:
Political parties are full of suicidally-inclined activists.
The segment is a reminder of the contempt held in establishment circles for left-wing views and those who share them. Corbynism is the 21st-century version of democratic socialism; the ideology that brought us the NHS, universal education, workers’ rights, and the welfare state. It is a school of political thought that made a vast contribution to Britain and the world. Yet BBC Newsnight treats him like a candidate from the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Ever since, the BBC and other broadcasters have failed to temper this underlying contempt. Of course, the reaction from establishment media is that ‘Corbyn fans’ can’t handle any criticism. Nonsense. The job of any news organisation is to hold power to account and put every political leader’s plans for the country under scrutiny. But as repeated studies show, the media is acting as an attack dog rather than a watchdog when it comes to Corbyn.
It’s unhealthy to dismiss anyone to the left of Tony Blair as part of a supposed ‘Corbyn cult’, rather than accepting they hold legitimate and proven political views. It’s dangerous for democracy, which at its core is a battle of ideas. This means there might be more than one idea with some merit behind it.
– Support the Stop Funding Hate campaign. Demand that advertisers withdraw funding from newspapers and websites which promote hate speech.
– Support the work of Hope Not Hate.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
– Read and support other independent media outlets:
Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Red Pepper, New Internationalist, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella Caledonia, Vox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine, The Bristol Cable, The Meteor, The Skwawkbox, Salford Star, The Ferret.
Featured image via YouTube screengrab
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?