On the Sunday 13 September of the Andrew Marr Show the corporate media got a knock-out blow. Because an Irish politician inadvertently put the host in a similar position to one Noam Chomsky did several years ago. And it exposed a huge problem that persists with the corporate media.
A classic truth bomb
The infamous clip where Chomksy drops a truth bomb on Marr is well-known. He broke down the fact that corporate journalists are often inadvertently responsible for peddling establishment propaganda. As Chomsky noted, he didn’t think journalists like Marr “self-censor”. But that:
if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.
Now, Marr was subject to a similar ‘light bulb moment’ thanks to an Irish politician.
Ireland’s foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney was on Marr. He was discussing the chaos over Brexit and the internal market bill. As The Canary previously reported, the government is planning on breaking the law over it. It’s to do with the fact that it wants to renege on some of the original deal it signed with the EU. On Sunday 13 September, Labour said it would “not vote” for the bill if it broke the law.
Coveney was not happy with the UK government’s proposed actions. But he also made an interesting point about the media coverage of the issue. He said to Marr that:
Andrew, you’ve been following these negotiations for more than three years now, and you’re a pretty good detail person. And you know that that is a completely bogus argument.
He then laid out why the Tories’ argument is bogus. Marr repeatedly interrupted, putting the Tories’ side of the story across. But Coveney wasn’t happy with this. He said to Marr that:
You seem to be suggesting that there are two sides that are equal in this disagreement. There aren’t. There is one side that is breaking an agreement that was signed by both.
Marr ‘OK’d’ and ‘but’d’ his way through Coveney’s take down, going back to put the Tories’ side across again. And Guardian political commentator Peter Walker latched onto this.
it’s a conundrum for UK journalists, as faced in US with Trump: how do you discuss what your leaders say when it it obviously, demonstrably not true?
And this is [the] case whatever side of the Brexit argument one is on: No 10’s argument that it’s EU suddenly threatening NI peace/moving the goalposts is not only untrue, but obviously so. Makes it tricky to present it with BBC-style “balance”/they said-you said. It’s a new world.
But Walker’s point that it’s a “conundrum” for journalists to say that political leaders are lying sums up the problem with the corporate press.
Wedded to the establishment
It’s what Chomsky previously called Marr out on. And it’s also what Media Lens highlighted in the ‘five stages of mainstream journalism’:
— Media Lens (@medialens) August 25, 2017
It’s that corporate journalists are essentially wedded to the establishment. They cannot bite the hand that feeds them. So instead they have to placate rather than agitate. Marr presenting the Brexit situation as a story with ‘two sides’ is a prime example of this. In the interests of ‘balance’, the truth is no longer relevant. Even if that ‘balance’ presents lies as fact or opinion.
Walker said that this is a “new world”. But it’s not. It’s the same one that has been operating for decades. It’s refreshing for a politician to effectively call it out, live on TV. But regardless of whether Marr ‘got it’ or not – him and the rest of the corporate press pack will continue with their subservient behaviour anyway.
Featured image via BBC iPlayer – 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?