18 Sep 2015

Write your own news

This week has once again demonstrated how much of an agenda there is in the media. Only a matter of days in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party and the press has stepped up the misinformation that it was forking out during the leadership campaign. This was identified by another article on this blog on 16th September.

We need to make a change in how we consume the news and current affairs and we need to write our own news.

Another Angry Voice - click image for link to article

What’s good about this week’s spin?

In some ways I think the spin this week has been useful because normally the slant of the right wing media is hard to identify. Thomas G Clark has dedicated a whole section of his phenomenal blog ‘Another Angry Voice’ to Political Myth Busting. AAV digs directly at the myths that are pedalled out by the right wing media. There are lies in there that many of us just take for granted as true which are skillfully dissected, for example;

·         The “maxed out national credit card” fallacy; through which we have all been made to think, incorrectly, of the national economy like a household budget
·         The spending cuts vs tax increases false dichotomy; in which we are told that the only two options available are to either have cuts in spending or rises in taxes
·         The unpatriotic left fallacy; as it says, it is something we have seen directed at Corbyn and his new Shadow Chancellor this week

So this week it has been refreshing if only in the sense that the spin and propaganda has been so obvious. Even Tory supporters, maybe even Mr Cameron himself, must have cringed at the anti-Corbyn video that the Tory press office put out at the beginning of the week. This video, if you didn’t catch it before it was taken down for copyright infringement, heavily edited to be made grainy, black and white with eerie music, stated that the new Labour leader was a threat to national security and had referred to Osama Bin Laden’s death as a tragedy.

Only it is not quite what he said.

I agree completely with Corbyn, and I think most people would ; that Bin Laden’s death actually was a tragedy. I remember TV footage of Americans celebrating in the street because Bin Laden had been assassinated and felt very uneasy. Cheering in the street about anyone’s death can’t be right. Although we might feel that revenge is sweet and certainly many of us wanted Bin Laden to pay for what he had done; should you have a death sentence without a trial? Dispense with public accountability? This is why we have established the systems we have in society; it is part of why we are proud to be British. You can’t just kill people; you can’t do to someone the act that you have condemned them for.

It is glaringly obvious that the media is swamped by right-wing bias. We have begun to ask “hang on a minute, whilst I look at this grainy horror spin-off rubbish, what am I missing?”

Well whilst we were listening to the various reports about how Corbyn had “snubbed the Queen” by not singing the national anthem, we were not paying attention as the government voted through £4.4bn in cuts to tax credits; a loss of around £1,300 to the poorest, working families even after any other measures like an increase in minimum wage.

What a kick to working people in Britain. Hang on! Didn’t the Tories say that Labour were now a threat to working people? That’s weird.

Write your own news!

It has been clear for some time that we need to find alternative sources of news, or at the very least, multiple sources of the news. But also, we need to create and participate in our own news.

This blog is not about supporting Jeremy Corbyn, but I wanted to use his treatment this week, which is the same that Green Party suffers often when it is thrown in to the media’s eye, to highlight the point. Also, Corbyn’s success highlights the importance of social media which Corbyn’s campaign team used to their enormous advantage creating an alternative narrative to the one put out by the mainstream press of the “radical left wing rebel”. For Corbyn’s team, social media and online campaigns got out the message that they wanted to get out. This is much like the success we saw with the #GreenSurge .

So take to facebook, litter your friends newsfeeds with things you care about, ‘hashtag’ the crap out of everything you hold dear on twitter, comment on and challenge ridiculous propaganda posts, write a blog, step out on a protest march, attend a Calais refugee coffee morning, change someone’s mind over the water cooler at work, read different newspapers.

What follows is not non-bias news or blog; it is simply what I would call an alternative to the mainstream narrative. But given that none of the following are bankrolled by billionaires who also happen to be mates with the Tory Prime Minister, they certainly feel more authentic. Try some of these and please suggest your own in the comments section;

Stroud Against the Cuts http://stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/
Molly Scott Cato MEP http://mollymep.org.uk/
Community R4C (alternative to the incinerator at Javelin Park, Gloucestershire) http://communityr4c.com/

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