The BBC tried to defend a media “blackout” on Jeremy Corbyn winning an international peace prize. It didn’t go well.
On 8 December, the Labour leader received the Séan MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau (IPB). Founded in 1891, the IPB is one of the world’s oldest peace organisations. But not a single mainstream media outlet seemed to report on Corbyn winning the award, sparking allegations of institutional bias.
Enter the BBC
On BBC Daily Politics, host Jo Coburn was grilling [0.05] Corbyn ally Chris Williamson MP:
Why do you think there is a conspiracy amongst UK mainstream media to suppress positive stories about Jeremy Corbyn?
The Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services responded [0.11]:
Well, you tell me. But it’s pretty clear that there was a media blackout… Let’s remember, when… there was a photograph of Jeremy wearing a tracksuit, it made front-page news. When Theresa May put a star on the top of a Christmas tree, there was wall-to-wall coverage, as there was of William and Kate being awarded a Blue Peter badge. And here we have the leader of the opposition being… awarded a prestigious peace award being completely ignored.
There was indeed wall-to-wall media coverage when royals William and Kate recently won a Blue Peter badge. And as Williamson says, there was apparently nothing on the leader of the UK opposition winning an international peace award.
While Corbyn received the award on 8 December, the IPB announced it in September. With this in mind, Coburn later suggested [2.12] that the media didn’t cover the award because Labour didn’t speak up enough:
None of the official Labour media accounts or even Jeremy Corbyn himself actually publicised it. Do you think that is the problem?
The MP for Derby North pointed out [2.20] that the story went viral on social media:
No. I think the problem is very clearly with the mainstream media who simply ignored it, even when it went viral on social media.
Williamson also noted that even foreign news outlets reported on Corbyn receiving the award.
Enter Channel 4
Meanwhile, Channel 4 FactCheck argues that there was no coverage of Corbyn winning because the media doesn’t generally report on the award. But Dave Webb, vice-chair of the IPB board, points out that the people who win it are rarely mainstream figures. They do tend to be distinguished anti-war and anti-nuclear activists, who the media has a history of marginalising. They do not tend to be among the most high-profile people in Britain.
Still, no mainstream media outlet covered it. So Williamson called out the “blackout” on the BBC. Apparently, we have a media that values a royal couple winning a Blue Peter badge far more than the elected leader of the opposition winning an international peace prize. The topsy turvy coverage would be funny if it didn’t have such far-reaching implications.
Watch the exchange here:
– Read and support independent news outlets that hold the powerful to account. Here are some we recommend. Please add more that you like in the comments:
The Canary, The Intercept, Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella Caledonia, Vox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine, The Bristol Cable, The Meteor, Salford Star, The Ferret.
Featured image via screenshot
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?