The idea of the media is simple; an event happens in the world that we, the ordinary citizens, do not know about, and we thus rely on media outlets to inform us of that event so that we, the ordinary citizens, know what is going on. Simple.
The role that that the media plays in the global political system is somewhat extravagantly huge. And fair enough, whatever is going on in politics and current affairs is the most important and essential thing that people need to know about, more important than sport, celebrities, and people getting filmed having sex in the bushes at Royal Ascot. Therefore ideally, the media would use their power in politics to respectively report current political affairs with complete neutrality; tell us the truth about what’s going on, who’s saying what and who’s doing what, so that then we, the ordinary people, can then use the information given to form our own political opinions.
If only the media could be like that!
Instead newspapers and news channels use their political power to try their absolute best in influencing people’s political opinions to coincide with the opinions they have themselves. The Daily Mail will always criticise Jeremy Corbyn and ‘normally’ have praise for Theresa May, because they would prefer a Conservative government. The Guardian will always criticise Theresa May and ‘normally’ have praise for Jeremy Corbyn, because they would prefer a Labour government. It isn’t as bad with the televised news channels, but despite the BBC for example being supposedly independent from the government, they are hardly independent from the establishment and the political elite.
Media outlets simply ‘have it in’ for certain politicians, certain political parties and certain political activists. Lets look at a few examples starting with Donald Trump, who is perhaps at the biggest war with the media and is doing his best to highlight everything that is wrong with the media. Trump was not supposed to win the American election because it was not in the establishment’s interests. Hillary Clinton was supposed to win the election so that therefore the status quo of global politics could continue; American global dominance with imperialism and neo-colonisation, and a continuing tense rivalry with Russia. The fact that Trump won the election means that the media have done everything in their power to scrutinise every move Donald Trump makes. People on the left are jumping on this bandwagon, and Donald Trump’s numerous ‘controversies’ are now part of common knowledge.
Back home, we can see a similar pattern to that of ‘Donald Trump Vs the Media’ with Jeremy Corbyn and his battle against media scrutiny. The reason both Corbyn and Trump face a ‘bigger’ war against the media is because both of them position themselves far away from the centre on the political spectrum, albeit both on different edges of that spectrum. Therefore both do not fit in to the norm of neo-liberal political-economics that has dominated Western politics since the Reagan-Thatcher years.
The best example of ‘unfair media scrutiny’ against Jeremy Corbyn is the media’s labelling of him as a ‘terrorist sympathiser’. Corbyn is in fact quite the opposite seen as all of his political career has been about the campaign for peace. He has never supported the IRA he has just simply attempted at finding peaceful solutions through dialogue with certain IRA members. It’s the exact same with Hamas; Corbyn has just simply ‘never picked a side’. The media have twisted the story of Corbyn being a peace campaigner so that they could attempt to anger patriotic Brits. They have so far done that well. (I must state that I do not agree with Corbyn’s so called ‘terrorist sympathising’, I think there is always a side to pick, and the fact that he’s British and now wants to be the Prime Minister of Britain means there is surely only one side to pick).
Sticking with Corbyn, you could see extra scrutiny placed on him by the Media just last week when he did not bow for the Queen before her speech. I think it’s hardly a news worthy story someone not bowing for the queen. Big Deal. The right-wing press was all over that one, but when 10,000 football fans from London’s major rival football clubs march peacefully together against Islamic extremism just this weekend, it doesn’t get a second in the news! I think it was pathetic the way the media ‘pounded’ on Jeremy Corbyn for not bowing to the Queen, although again I must state that I did not agree with his ignorance and disrespect. We all know that Corbyn is a republican against the British monarch, but he does want to be the Prime Minister of her country. I’m not much of a loyalist myself. If I saw the Queen in Asda I doubt I’d bow to her, but if I wanted to govern her country I’d show some respect.
Finally when looking at political activists, the same pattern from the media can be seen as is seen in ‘the media Vs Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn’ battle, when activists are positioned away from the centre to the edges of the political spectrum. Russell Brand has for some time been calling for a socialist revolution against capitalism and the political establishment. The Media has never given him a chance to have his voice heard, scrutinising him at every opportunity, the Sun for example once ridiculously labelling Russell Brand a hypocrite because he has wealth and can afford to rent a London property. The same can be seen with Tommy Robinson who campaigns against Islam and the effect that the religion has on British society, and again the media never gives him a chance. Only today the Mirror showed an online Video of Robinson fighting at Royal Ascot labelling him a violent thug. After exploring the story further I found that Tommy Robinson retaliated after being physically harassed whilst trying to peacefully leave a potential confrontation and board a bus. Most people retaliate and get into fights now and again, especially when being physically harassed.
As you can see the media pretty much do what they want and they don’t do their job properly, that job being to inform people of news and current affairs without a biased opinion. A ‘free press’ sounds good, it emphasises the freedoms that we have in Western democratic societies. But I think a free press is dangerous and harmful to politics in general. I think the only way to solve this issue would be to have more regulation on the media, but Western governments are unlikely to enforce that with the fear of being seen as having similarities with Stalin like communism.