The Throes of Creation, Leonid Pasternak
PRESS 1 FOR PROPAGANDA, 2 FOR PROPAGANDA, 3 FOR…
While you may not want James Delingpole on your tug-of-war team, he is a dissident journalist who has successfully bridged the gap between the MSM and the contrarian press. A busy bee, Delingpole seems to be everywhere at once, like the cartoon character Billy Whizz, a boy who was so fast he could race around a ping-pong table and play against himself.
Delingpole makes an almost undeniable point in today’s Breitbart, that the UK media are superannuated, well-fed, pampered and loyal lapdogs to the political class. The current inquisitorial pursuit of literal egg-head Dominic Cummings, the lockstep fear-mongering over COVID, and the unquestioning media championing of Delingpole’s long-standing target, green politics, all exemplify a subservient press for whom objectivity is whatever the government says it is.
It has long been the case that sales figures for the dead wood media have been taking a leisurely glide downwards, and the consensus seems to be that this is due to the newspapers’ inability to adapt to online publishing in anything but a clunky, ham-fisted way, as though they were still typesetting hot metal and stone-subbing on an actual stone, but Delingpole emphasises the inevitable.
The print media have committed the greatest media faux pas; they have bored their readership. People are becoming tired of a hive media acting like Pravda. Perhaps they are – finally – becoming tired of reading about what celebrities – including the journalists themselves, in many cases – are doing with their vacuous lives. Possibly they are beginning to realise they are being messed around – the British hate that – with regard to the truth. And, more than anything else (and Delingpole does not make this point), they are slowly coming to a state of awareness concerning the media, one which co-exists across the herring-pond in the USA.
The media are now the opposition party.
This ‘proxy opposition’ is far more obvious in the States, where the Democrat party are a much use as a chocolate teapot, but in the UK, the print press – along with the BBC, perforce – do a far more effective job of harrying the government than the Labour party, who are beginning to resemble Banquo at the dinner table, sort of there but not there.
To say that journalists are Left-wing is becoming a tautology on a par with ‘all bachelors are unmarried men’ or ‘2 + 2 = 4’. The press leaven the bread with the occasional Douglas Murray or Mel Phillips or Peter ‘Prince Andrew’s stunt double’ Hitchens, but the workaday, meat-and-potatoes journo had better not have conservative sympathies if they want to stay warm and snug in the nest.
What is equally true is that the only right-of-centre press that exists in the UK is now the dissident press, the onliners and YouTubers and bloggers. The MSM’s loss ought to be their, our, gain. But many people still like their comfort zone, their ‘paper and the Beeb and a cup of tea and an impertinent ’72 Château Lafitte. Perhaps the last one is just us.
An enterprising newspaper magnate just at the moment could make a killing starting a genuinely conservative newspaper, but there seems to be some unwritten rule that thou shalt not publish anything unless it is conformist, one-size-fits-all-cerebellums (cerebella?), flat-packed, politically correct mental orthographics, a sort of intellectual equivalent of tapioca.
Vinnie the Virus, when he gets bored with earth and sods off elsewhere, may turn out to be a catalyst. If it turns out that the lockdowns and second waves and masks and ‘social distancing’ – what a glum oxymoron that one is – were all a mixture of hysterical over-reaction and government propaganda delivered via its provisional wing, the media, who will hold that media to account? Not the media, you can bet – as Barry Shand, our security man, would artfully phrase it – a pound to a pinch of shit that the media questioning itself would be like one of those internal police enquiries where no one turns out to have done anything wrong despite a trail of weeping and broken families.
No, it will be the dissidents, the refuseniks, the outsiders and contrarians and kick-against-the-pricks merchants. As we have said before and will say again ere the cock croweth, most journalism now is op-ed, and although opinions are like buttocks in that we all have them but it is not necessarily a good idea to air them in public, the MSM do not have a monopoly on informed opinion. I have read journalists openly bemoaning the fact that citizen journalists exist because ‘they haven’t been properly trained’. Yes, and dolphins exist that haven’t been trained to carry a fucking beach-ball on their nose.
So, as Byron instructed us, battle for freedom wherever you can. A free press, to paraphrase the Blair it’s okay to like, George Orwell, means the right to show people what they do not want to read.
To end today’s sermon on a lighter note, the Dominic Cummings fiasco has been described, inevitably, as a ‘witch-hunt’. This may seem like a deleterious thing, but bear in mind that it does give real witches a breather.
Image - Wikimedia Commons