Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Tory Media Trolls

Yesterday, the Tory mainstream media could not believe their luck.  They were able to fill their programmes by endless loops of Dianne Abbot fluffing her lines on LBC.  But, the fact that they could talk about nothing else, and avoided discussing the substantive issue about the cuts in policing, and consequent rise and crime, and Labour's plans for reversing it, shows that the media are not fit for purpose, when it comes to reporting news.  Over the last thirty odd years, they have become so obsessed with the cult of personality, often their own personality, as news readers have become overpaid entertainment celebrities, that they now live in their own closeted bubble, a million miles removed from the lives of ordinary people.  Their reporting of incidents like that yesterday reduces them to being little different from annoying internet trolls, who pick on any small, irrelevant details that they can blow up into a controversy.

The fact about Abbott's fluff of her lines was actually set about by Abbott herself.  The media, anxious to promote their own celebrity profiles tried to present the incident as Abbott not knowing the figures.  Michael Gove, went as far as to say that it showed that Labour's policy had collapsed on first meeting with reality.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The policy clearly had been though out, because the details, including the costing had already previously been set down on paper!  Moreover, on the basis of that detail, Abbott had already given six interviews that day, where she did not fluff the figures.

Abbott clearly made a mistake in the interview with Ferrari on LBC, by first saying that the cost of employing the additional 10,000 police would be £300,000, when she meant to say £300 million.  She then did what all of us have done at some point in the past, when under pressure, which is to get flustered, and did a deeper hole.  So, what, it simply proves that Dianne Abbott is a human being just like the rest of us.  That should hardly be news, let alone news that dominated reporting for most of yesterday.

Of course, for the media it is much easier to focus on such trivia than have to themselves actually do some research so as to get a deeper understanding of the issues on which they are reporting.  Its much sexier for them to reduce politics to  nothing more than a beauty contest, or a version of some reality TV show, with opinion polls to tell us who will be thrown out of the House next.  Its no wonder that many serious people now look to social media for their information, rather than the trolls of the mainstream media, who seem more concerned with their own personality cults, and celebrity than with actually doing the jobs they are paid for.

It shows why a priority for Labour and for the TUC is to create their own media.  We have the resources, we have the personnel and talent to produce both news, sport and entertainment that would far exceed the dross that the current channels and newspapers provide.  But, Alistair Campbell was also right yesterday, in that we have to realise just what the Tory mainstream media is like, and we should not give them the opportunities they had yesterday.  Watch any of the Politics Programmes, and you will see that it is not a level playing field.

Neill, Murnaghan etc. all have their computers sitting on a desk in front of them, providing the detailed data on the questions they are going to address to their victims.  No one is going to be able to keep in their heads all of the data on detailed questions they are going to be asked, and nor should they need to.  But, as well as having our own media as the first place we go to in getting out our stories, we should ensure that whenever our spokespeople go into bat, they too have their own technology to be able to have those facts at their own fingertips.

In the end yesterday's events come down to this.  Dianne Abbott gave seven interviews, and in only one did she fluff her lines, whilst the details of the policy had already been set out in writing.  It simply showed that Dianne is not a robot.  At the same time, we have no idea how many fluffs Theresa May made yesterday, because she is being studiously kept closeted away from real people and real life.  And the reason for that is clear, in PMQ's, she like Cameron before her never answers the questions that have been put to her, and instead simply parrots endlessly a series of soundbites, and prescripted supposed jokes.  Every time she is thrown something she is not prepared for, she flakes.  So much for the supposed strong and stable leader.

Its why she refuses to enter into a direct debate against Corbyn and the other party Leaders on TV.  To coin the phrase used by her idol Thatcher, she is frit.

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