Corporate Media is Killing Our Democracy

‘Looking at a newsstand it seemed like the dice were hopelessly loaded against Labour when it comes to the newspaper industry.

The UK’s two highest selling daily newspapers (The Sun and Daily Mail) have used their front pages for a second day to make the case for a Conservative victory. Add the equally pro-Tory Daily Telegraph and Daily Express to that mix and it appears to be a potent force.’ (Press Gazette)

What a shocking state much of our mainstream media is in when it sees itself as no more than a Goebbelsesque pursuit to poison people’s minds.

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The levels of gullibility amongst many of the public is frightening. A conversation can become surreal as people merely repeat back what they read in the Express or the Mail. At what point did they stop thinking for themselves? Is the reader aware that they are being conned and by how much?

This is not new and has been written about on a great number of occasions but when the political landscape becomes a choice between right and left in a much more meaningful way then the corporate mainstream attempt to manipulate and cajole in a much more explicit fashion as we have experienced in this election.

And it is not just newspapers. It is also television and radio news as we have seen with the outrage at journalists like Laura Kuenssberg, Nick Robinson, Andrew Marr, Andrew Neil, Jeremy Paxman, Adam Boulton… and the list goes on. Some have even had petitions with tens of thousands of names signed on them and then ignored and/or ridiculed by the establishment.

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Way back in the 1970’s the Annan Report quoting the Glasgow Media group found

“all media presentations of reality are selective and are therefore impregnated with values, viewpoints and common-sense working assumptions.”

What this means is that by basing the content and context in a specific style different media can convince people that what they are reading is actual reality. The simplicity of content and the editorial values across both the printed and broadcast media suggest that what are in fact very complicated issues are rendered simplistic via language, length and depth.

And not a little dollop of BIAS.

Add to this the public’s primary and secondary socialisation via family, education, religion, peer groups and the workplace and it has the potential for a very toxic mix.  However the more willing we are as a result of that same socialisation to question also plays a very key role. We also witnessed many people buying up The Sun, Mail and Express in bulk from newsstands to protect some minds form the poison.

‘All over the country people competed to buy as many copies as they could and then picture what they did with them. Eclipsethesun, the website created to do just that, was once the preoccupation of a fringe – but suddenly it has triggered a growing social movement.’ The Guardian 

To get a detailed understanding then Greg Philo and his team at the Glasgow University Media Group should be the first port of call. They have dedicated almost 45 years of their academic lives to helping us understand how human consciounness is manipulated by the mass media and I would suggest this recent article as a starting point – What you get in 20 seconds

Since the election it has not ceased with the following another explicit example. The attempt to scapegoat two Tory party staffers for a complete debacle of a campaign and con the readers that the problem is no deeper than two members of a very big team gives the impression that Sun, Mail and Express readers are merely ripe for the take.

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These two staffers have fallen on the sword but only to protect senior party members who took their advice whether it be Cabinet members or the Prime Minister herself. And what was the pay off? Out of the Tory party coffers or the tax payer?

What next?

We have to ask the question ‘do we want this poison to continue? For elections to be decided by toxic news coverage that is nothing but lies and propaganda? Remember Labour did not actually win. Balanced news coverage could have brought about a whole different outcome.

Of course the billionaire power brokers are going to try and protect their system. But should they be allowed to in a democracy? Is it now time that we demand that the likes of Murdoch, Dacre, Desmond and the Barclay Brothers be prevented from trying (and in many cases successfully) controlling our perceptions?

I say yes and if many agree then I suggest we do something about it. NOW!

Douglas James