The corporate journalist press pack fell dutifully into line with the Tory government over the outcome of COP26. But their pushing of government propaganda should be seen for what it is: the wilful whitewashing of a disastrous summit and the rich’s destruction of our planet.
COP26: what a shitshow
The COP26 climate change conference ended on Saturday 13 November. It was led by Tory MP Alok Sharma, and the conference was nothing short of a shitshow. As The Canary previously reported, it was attended by fossil fuel lobbyists. And COP26’s own carbon footprint was expected to be twice as much as previous summits. As for its action on the climate crisis, as Greta Thunberg said:
Blah, blah, blah.
Moreover, as The Canary‘s Tracy Keeling wrote, Net Zero is a nonsense anyway:
Net Zero is a plan to keep on polluting, at least up until 2050. …instead of ending pollution, Net Zero ‘climate action’ generally focuses on ploughing money into finding “fairy tale compensatory mechanisms” to miraculously cancel it out.
All things considered, COP26 was a waste of time, money, and carbon emissions. So, enter the corporate press pack to churn out propaganda on behalf of the Tory government.
Spinning for the Tories
ITV News‘s political editor Robert Peston caused particular outrage:
A big moment. The cover declaration, that in theory keeps 1.5 alive, and much of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is also approved. We are almost there. Amazing. #COP26
— Robert Peston (@Peston) November 13, 2021
Many people rightly called out his bullshit. In short, it looks like he was spinning for the Tories and Western governments more broadly. As one Twitter user said:
Amazing? You sure? I know our media is mostly shit, but this is shitter than shit. It’s a total cop out, with greedy rich nations shitting from a great height because they don’t care about those for whom this is a desperate emergency right fucking now. #COP26 https://t.co/zKAZdd3J6N
— Cookie Urch (@Cookieurch) November 13, 2021
The corporate press pack also seemed intent on raising up Sharma as some sort of climate saviour – not least after he made out he was crying at the end of the conference. Sky News‘s political editor Beth Rigby pushed that Sharma was ‘holding back tears’:
COP President Alok Sharma holds back tears as he speaks of his deep sorrow after a key last-minute changes to the Glasgow deal around phasing out coal. ‘Phase out’ of coal resolution weakened to ‘phase down’ after a proposed revision by India https://t.co/2tlAqjVsQz
— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) November 13, 2021
The Financial Times‘s chief political correspondent Jim Pickard also bought into Sharma’s crocodile tears:
emotional moment at Cop26 as president Alok Sharma struggles to control his voice – appears close to tears for a few seconds – after China and India force a change in text to "phase down" coal rather than "phase out" #COP26
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) November 13, 2021
As did BBC science editor David Shukman:
Emotional scene at #COP26 as @AlokSharma_RDG appeared to need a moment to compose himself – the much weakened 'coal' clause is now approved but it's no longer 'phase out' but 'phase down' leaving many disappointed
— David Shukman (@davidshukmanbbc) November 13, 2021
Now, where have we seen a wilfully negligent Tory politician cry before? Oh yes: disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock live on Good Morning Britain (GMB):
Matt Hancock forgot the golden rule of pretending to cry on national television, which is to produce at least one discernible tear pic.twitter.com/NQZSNj9M2H
— TheIainDuncanSmiths (@TheIDSmiths) December 8, 2020
The point being that Sharma and Hancock’s feigned emotion, coupled with the corporate media buying into it, gives the impression that these monsters do actually care about anyone besides themselves and their mates. This is demonstrably false. Hancock presided over a government pandemic response which failed to protect society’s most vulnerable people. Sharma was a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister. On his watch, people were dying either waiting for, or after being denied, social security by the DWP; people like Steven Smith:
12. Stephen Smith was declared 'fit for work' by the DWP despite being terminally ill and weighing 5 stone. He died while appealing his stopped benefits from his hospital bed. The DWP apologised to his family. pic.twitter.com/jXhaYs83B4
— Red North (@RednorthUK) November 11, 2021
A client journalist is a journalist who sees his job as decorating power, or legitimising power, and talking the language of power rather than challenging power, [and] running stories which make power accountable
We saw it throughout the pandemic. A similar thing happened in the run up to the 2019 general election. And now, client journalists are propping up the government – as it presides over rich people’s destruction of our planet.
Propping up catastrophe
Corporate journalists are pushing the line that the UK government did all it could during COP26 (to the point of breaking down in tears) – and that if it fails, its the fault of our perceived enemies like China and developing nations like India.
The reality, of course, is that Western countries are more responsible than the rest of the world for the position we’re in. By protecting the UK government’s credibility (when it has none) and interests (keeping wealthy, Western people rich), corporate journalists must share some responsibility for the catastrophe our planet is facing.
We’re a thorn in the side of the establishment, but we can’t do it without your help
Your fight is our fight. But as many of you will know, speaking truth to power has never been easy, especially for a small, independent media outlet such as the Canary. We have weathered many attempts to silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media. Now more than ever, we need your support.
We don’t have fancy offices, and our entire staff works remotely. Almost all of our income is spent on paying the people who make the Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our team and enables us to continue to do what we do: disrupt power, and amplify people.
But we can’t do this without you. So please, if you appreciate our work, can you help us continue the fight?