Corbyn’s Battle with the Media

By Shane Flanagan

That Jeremy Corbyn is a figure of derision on the right goes without saying. This is the “as you were” mode of political dichotomy, yet what is less commented upon is how Corbyn is viewed and presented by the mainstream media, aka the centre left. A perfect illustration of this was Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr Show for the BBC in recent days. Marr conducted his interview with the Labour leader not as if he was interviewing a man with many years of political experience, leading one of Britain’s major parties who could potentially become prime minister in the coming weeks, but as if he was interviewing a Martian who had simply fallen to planet Earth some minutes previously instead, such was the hostile nature and political implications of Marr’s questioning.

Look, Corbyn like any elected official should be questioned but Marr’s line of questioning inferred that were Corbyn to become the next British prime minister that not only the country but the world would become loosed with anarchy. I’m not exactly his biggest fan, I certainly disagree with his many views coming from the sharp left of socialist ideology, however in presenting Corbyn’s outlook as outlandish Marr showed himself and the BBC to be slavish in their devotion to the orthodoxy of the centre.


First, Corbyn’s ambitions of nuclear disarmament seem silly to me and belong firmly to the age of the cold war, and as wrong as he may be– and he is wrong of course– at least he is honest about his opinion on the matter, a virtue scarce in Westminster. By contrast, I have never seen Theresa May being interrogated about the dropping of the bomb, she was politically prudent in the House of Commons in saying that in a case of emergency that she would pull the trigger. But isn’t the truth of all this that it is merely a colossal bluff? In the age of Trump, his actions and not just his rhetoric, if anything the views of Corbyn become even more admirable. Other lynchpins of conventional political thinking that Corbyn was attacked upon was the Trident missile programme as well as Britain’s continued involvement in NATO in such an active capacity. These topics are usually regarded as being in the province of conservative thought, but are they really? In a country with deep inequality (another Corbyn theme) Trident seems more like the most expensive piece of propaganda than an actual military necessary.


As for NATO, there is a reasonable argument that the international body has become more of a danger to the West than anything else with its expansive military ambitions in Eastern Europe. Also, one of NATO’ s biggest members is the anarchic Turkey, a country about as far away from Western Europe as you can get and led by a man who locks up journalists and intellectuals, has recently been awarded with sweeping constitutional powers in a dodgy election and threatened the nations of Germany, Holland and most dangerously of all Russia. Being wary of such international bodies makes Corbyn’s politics seem less “outlandish” than they are often presented as being. Corbyn’s views on the EU seem to cause the media angst too, partially because he is not too bothered about their sacred cow in that he has correctly realised that the EU in practice is often an austerity machine and that the importance of “free movement” so beloved of the young has been vastly overstated. Granted one should question Labour’s plans for a negotiating position with Brexit, but it seems to me that the implications of such a plan in being more cooperative with the EU than combative as the Tories will be is just as hard to prejudge as the prime ministers is, and I certainly haven’t seen her interrogated as Corbyn has been about it.

Fair Chance

This is quite the pickle for the media with their natural sympathies of the left, they are usually the ally of the Labour Party. But Corbyn has changed Labour and taken the party back in time as much as he is leading it forward. The media miss the Blairites who will eventually take Corbyn down, they were socially liberal and distrusted the very idea of the nation-state, in other words, they were suitably “progressive”. There has even been talk of The Guardian of all newspapers actively backing the Liberal Democrats in the election rather than Labour due to their utopian ambition of holding another EU referendum. It probably doesn’t matter anyway. I believe that after the disaster of New Labour, that media influence on public opinion is now more useless than ever. The people know what they want and that is Brexit. However, if people listen to the decent man that is Jeremy Corbyn they may just hear ideas which they agree with, even if it is from such an unlikely source such as the Labour leader. Let’s hope they get the chance to properly hear him.


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