Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Traingate - The Tory Media Just Don't Get It

The Tory media have seized upon the CCTV images released by Virgin Trains to try to once again smear and undermine Jeremy Corbyn.  In fact, all they have done is to further undermine themselves, to illustrate just what is wrong with the mainstream media, and to show that they just don't get it. Like the establishment politicians that belong to the same elite, they just have not understood that the world has changed.

Like everyone else interested in politics, I watch all of the mainstream programmes like Newsnight, Marr, Murnaghan, Dateline, Peston, and the nightly Press Previews.  But, all these programmes indicate what is wrong.  They are all programmes where very highly paid, middle class journalists invite others, from within their own elite bubble, to come along and confirm their own middle class prejudices.  Often those invited on to the programmes are simply other journalists from within that bubble.  Its a bit like what happened before the Iraq War, when information from one intelligence service was passed on to another, which was then picked up by another and so on.

So, the British government and intelligence services justification, after the event, was "We were not alone in believing that Saddam had WMD".  The trouble being that the basis for believing that was that it was based on what others thought, and what others thought was simply wrong, and unfounded!

And that illustrates another problem.  Despite being extremely highly paid, most of the journalists from within this bubble appear to be extremely lazy and ill-informed.  Why would you go out and actually do real research, when you think that is a bit beneath you, and there are lackeys to do that, and when all of the others within your elite, in any case, confirm your beliefs without having to go out and do tacky things such as obtaining evidence.

A case in point has been the claims of entryism into the Labour Party.  Any journalist worth their wages should know that the claims are ridiculous, because the numbers of people involved in the sects are miniscule, and when it comes to the larger scts like the SWP or SP, that may have several hundred members, they are actually opposed to such entryist work, and too busy trying to build their own parties.  Yet the mainstream media continue to talk as though all of the tens of thousands of people that have joined the Labour Party can be accounted for by such sects!  The same is true about the kinds of people they invite on to their programmes when they want a token representative of views outside their tight spectrum.  For example, they invite along Ben Chacko from the Morning Star.

Thirty years ago, there might have been some justification for inviting along representatives of the Communist Party, but the well paid journos don't even seem to have noticed that the Communist Party split into the Communist Party of Britain, an insignificant rump of Stalinists, and the CPGB, an even less significant group of politically more healthy individuals, which by their own account amount to only about 40 people!  Of course, inviting on people like Chacko, whilst demonstrating that the elite simply do not have a clue what is going on in the world around them, also enables them to continue to present a world as they continue to see it, rather than as it actually is.

The problem for them is that, not only has the world moved on, and no longer conforms to their view of it, as it might have been 20 years ago, but the world has moved on in terms of people's ability to understand and view that world, not filtered by the lens of the mainstream media, as they were once forced to do.  Many people not involved in politics simply graze the mainstream media for news, and so the attempts to smear Corbyn are unlikely to have much impact on them.  But, for anyone who is interested, the mainstream news is almost a source of annoying entertainment, a bit like all those programmes about anti-social neighbours.  Its somewhere you go to just confirm your own belief of just how bad and biased the mainstream media is; its somewhere you might go to graze news stories, before going to search the Internet, for the real story.

So watching the Press Preview programmes on Sky and BBC News last night, and watching the discussion of #Traingate on Newsnight simply illustrated that point.  The really annoying, middle class journalists they had on simply followed the newspaper headline writers in lambasting Corbyn, finding him guilty without trial, and without any attempt to provide a balanced account.  They took the account provided by Virgin Trains, that there had been empty seats on the train, as good coin. They, of course, came out to say that Corbyn supporters would attack them for having criticised their man.  But, that was just inoculation on their part, trying to immunise themselves from the inevitable criticism in advance.

The fact, is that, earlier in the dayc others who had been with Corbyn on the train had explained the CCTV pictures.  Some seats had kids sitting on them, who could not be seen; others had bags and other bits of luggage deposited on them, and so on.  Yet, the journos seemed unaware of any of this information, as they rushed to accept the Virgin account, and smear Corbyn.  Nor did they mention that the TSSA, whose members are employed on the railway, had come out to defend Corbyn's account.

But, demonstrating that the Tory media simply do not get the way the world has changed, they also seem to have simply missed the other decisive point.  It is that Corbyn was not alone in sitting on the floor.  There were lots of other people on the train doing the same thing, with no connection to Corbyn.  So, if as Virgin claim, there were plenty of empty seats, why were all these other people sitting on the floor as well?

In years gone by, it would not have been possible to know this, and to check the biased information that the mainstream Tory media feeds us everyday, but today it is.  Many of those other passengers on the train who also had to sit on the floor have already come forward and tweeted their own accounts. In fact, many had done so yesterday, but, once again, the mainstream media ignored it, because it does not fit within their version of events, and the narrative they wanted to create.

And, of course, there was no shortage of Blair-right representatives happy to come along to chip in their three penn'orth, to show that this just illustrates that Corbyn and his team are just not up to the task of managing the media.  This from those Blair-right spin doctors who brought us the "Mrs Duffy" incident, and who then compounded that by having Gordon Brown make a grovelling apology rather than use the opportunity to make a spirited opposition to bigotry; this from the same professionals who advised Ed Miliband to produce the "Ed Stone"!  But, of course, the political memory of these people is like that of a goldfish.  They come to each event as though it was unconnected to the past, and throw out their soundbites with only concern for scoring immediate points without any regard for the collateral damage.

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