Those on the fringes of political life always need a scapegoat when the electorate fails to embrace their utopian or dystopian visions of how society should develop.
On the far right, these scapegoats tend to be Jews, the liberal establishment and the press. On the far left, they tend to be Zionists, the right-wing establishment and the press.
Seeing a pattern here?
Yes, there is an almost complete symmetry across the spectrum.
It’s become even more marked now with obsession among social media conspiracy merchants with the supposed lies and distortion of the ‘mainstream media’ or ‘MSM’.
Back in the 1980s, the loony left railed against the ‘Tory press’ – a choice of enemy that right-wingers found hard to embrace, for fairly obvious reasons. But now the focus of ire is shared and internationalised with fellow fanatics on the ropey right. Trump supporters across the Atlantic and Le Pen followers across the channel join Corbynistas in a fanatical dislike of all regular newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV channels.
If we look, just for the moment, at Jez’s Facebook and Twitter fanatics in the UK, it’s important to stress that their hitlist of condemned media outlets goes way beyond the usual suspects. It’s not just the Murdoch-owned Sun, or the right-wing Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.
The BBC? Please don’t insult their intelligence. Hopelessly biased against Corbyn.
A brainy and feisty journalist, such as Laura Kuenssberg? She should be sacked.
The left-leaning Mirror and Guardian? Subsumed into the campaign of vitriol against the Labour Leader who amassed the biggest ‘mandate’ in history.
In fact, anything written by a proper journalist, who is paid a salary by a media outlet with corporate owners or advertisers, is condemned.
Any article or media interview critical of the Jezuits’ guru – or perceived to undermine his position as Leader of the Labour Party – will immediately be dismissed if it is published or broadcast via the MSM. The medium disqualifies the source and the message from getting any kind of hearing.
The psychological and political thought process here – which has all the trappings of a religion - goes something like this:
The MSM has an agenda, which is to undermine and destroy Corbyn, because powerful vested interests are frightened of what he represents.
Ordinary people have been ‘brainwashed’ by the MSM to accept a ‘neo-liberal’ ideology.
More and more people have ‘awakened’ from their capitalist-induced slumber and are now challenging the power of the MSM.
They share information on their own networks and websites, which are far more reliable because they aren’t tainted by the vested interests of the MSM.
These are the kind of garbled ramblings of the darker edge of the web, where people have for many years debated the influence of lizards over political and economic life, while pausing very occasionally to consider whether the Moon landings were faked.
But the ubiquity and pervasiveness of this crackpot conspiracy culture forces us to address some of their points.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. No vested interests are frightened of Corbyn.
Why? Because he is completely incompetent and has a popularity rating of somewhere between minus 30 and minus 40 in the polls. He is never going to be Prime Minister of the UK or lead a government.
The vested interests would be far more frightened of a competent Labour Leader who actually had a chance of achieving power.
What the media does is ask Corbyn difficult questions, which he often can’t answer. And they poke fun at him, because the idea of a 1980s socialist with a penchant for jam-making and relaxation on the allotment is intrinsically funny. (Particularly when you couple it with the notion that he has somehow blagged his way into becoming leader of a major political party.)
The whole ‘brainwashing’ argument is probably expressed more elegantly in academic circles than by Corbynistas online. Noam Chomsky, for instance, bears a great deal of responsibility for fuelling the whole MSM obsession and, of course, there is a perfectly legitimate debate to be had over the way in which media helps to construct social , cultural and political norms. It is doubtful, however, that every person who uses the term ‘MSM’ online is intimately familiar with the intellectual discourse that surrounds it.
To most Jez fans, the position is clear. The people – or, God help us, the sheeple – have been fed a diet of poison by the media, which has affected their ability to think rationally and embrace socialism. Even though a return to nationalisation, the eradication of nuclear weapons and the launch of women-only train carriages would clearly be in the proletariat’s best interests, they stubbornly refuse to see it.
Strangely, the supporters of Corbyn are unaffected by the magical rays beamed into people’s homes and on to their tablets and mobiles. With their razor-sharp intellect and incisive socialist analysis, they have erected a force field around themselves to protect themselves from such false consciousness and have no truck with any of the ‘lamestream’ media messages.
So where do the Corbynistas get their impartial news from, then? The BBC is banned. Fox is shot. There’s a complete embargo on the MSM. So what do they do? They go to cranky websites and dubious social media sources, which have an agenda every bit as obvious as that of newspaper proprietors. They share poorly-spelt and garishly-designed memes as if they have been created as handy educational tools for an infant school. By the pupils.
The Canary is a favourite of the Corbyn fans and, believe me, it is strictly for the birds. Breathless would-be newshounds serve up a stories which are purely designed to reinforce the existing viewpoints of the Alt Left brigade. Their stock-in-trade is taking something fairly obvious – far-left activists being suspended from Labour, for instance – and dressing it up as if it’s some kind of revelation or scoop. (When their hacks explain internal Labour politics, I often find reads as if it’s written for people who have only got involved in the past year. By people who learnt about it themselves six months earlier.)
But what’s this I see on The Canary?
It couldn’t be, could it? An advertisement?
For something that I might actually be interested in? A targeted ad on the right-hand side on the page?
How long before The Canary itself is part of the MSM?
The Huffington Post started out as a blog, after all. Perez Hilton used to be a one-man band, rather than a one-off brand.
If enough of us started to sift through the droppings from the Canary cage, would that signal that it was now ‘mainstream’?
One of the profound weaknesses of the MSM argument is that we now actually live in a world of millions of media sources. In the minds of the Corbynistas, these may be sifted neatly into ‘mainstream’ and alternative/underground. But the dividing line is not exactly neat and tidy.
And then it’s worth noting a splendid irony too.
Mainstream media seems just fine for the Corbynistas when it’s the MSM of, say, Russia or Iran. Jeremy Corbyn was happy to present tedious shows on a channel sponsored by the regime in Tehran, while RT – widely viewed as a propaganda tool for the Kremlin – is often referenced in social media debates. But RT (originally styled as Russia Today) is a well-funded channel with foreign bureaux, satellite links, anchors in comfy Moscow studios and plenty of advertising.
Isn’t it time for the Jezuits to be honest? Any media outlet which asks difficult questions of the saintly Jez is dismissed as ‘mainstream’. And any mainstream channel which gives him an easy ride is provided with some kind of Papal dispensation.