The UK’s tabloid media are currently up in arms about Jeremy Corbyn. Numerous outlets are condemning the Labour leader for “praising” rather than criticising the Venezuelan leadership; a country experiencing significant civil and political unrest.
But their heavy-handed criticism of Corbyn came on the same day people chided these outlets for completely ignoring contemptible actions by Prime Minister Theresa May.
In the world of tabloid media, there’s only certain people in positions of power they aim to hold to account. And their behaviour in just one single day summed that up perfectly.
Venezuela is currently the focus of much media attention due to the political and economic crisis unfolding in the country. And according to The International Business Times, Corbyn tweeted support for the country’s previous leader Hugo Chávez in 2012 and 2013. But as The Canary recently reported:
Venezuela is in the middle of a political crisis. And the US – which has sought to destabilise the government of the oil-rich country for many years – has been egging on the unrest… far from exposing this interference, the world’s mainstream media has actually been echoing the anti-government line.
Now, the world’s mainstream media (including Britain’s tabloids) want Corbyn to join them in “echoing the anti-government line”. But Corbyn, who is on holiday, hasn’t jumped at the opportunity. His party, however, has put out a statement urging “everyone in Venezuela, on all sides, to end the bloodshed immediately” and highlighting the government’s “responsibilities” in particular.
But Corbyn is still facing the full wrath of the media for not immediately toeing their line.
Yet on 1 August, another story hit the headlines. British Gas has decided to raise its electricity prices by a massive 12.5%. The rise will come into effect in September. And while the tabloids did go on the attack about this development, they attacked the company rather than any particular politicians; despite the fact that the latter group has the ability to legislate against energy price hikes.
And one particular politician should have been on the media’s radar with this story. Because in the lead-up to June’s general election, May pledged to introduce a price cap if elected:
Another betrayal by Theresa May's Tories to Million's of families with energy cap pledge U-turn, as British Gas hike up prices by 12.5%. pic.twitter.com/upENSrvaeu
— C0RBYNAT0R (@Corbynator2) August 1, 2017
The Daily Mail acknowledged May’s pledge – and the fact she’s already watered it down. But it also said the move by British Gas “is at odds with PM’s concerns” over high prices and “flies in the face” of the UK government. The Sun directly called out British Gas’s “greedy” and “indefensible” decision, urging the government to become “the consumers’ champion” and reinstate its broken promise.
But where were the scathing critiques of May? Because she pledged to do something in order to get people to elect her, and then scrapped that promise once she got the vote.
Those critiques, of course, don’t exist. Because corporate media outlets are abjectly failing to hold our government to account, whatever it does wrong. Instead, they use their power and reach to pile into politicians who might threaten the comfortable (for them) status quo. And Corbyn is a regular target. Only last week, for example, the media tried to smear the Labour leader by claiming he’d made a non-existent pledge on student debt.
But as the general election result showed, these rags no longer have the same influence over people as they used to. And that’s no wonder when they produce such bile as this.
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