Leveson 2 Rejected & The ‘Go Home’ Vote Goes Home
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“Shameful” Vote as Leveson 2 Rejected
Hopes for a further government inquiry into press misconduct were dashed this week as a Labour attempt to bring it back to life was narrowly defeated in The Commons.
Throughout discourse on Leveson 2, the billionaire press has been quick to conflate any attempt to scrutinise their too-often low standards, their bullying, and hate-preaching as “an attack on free press.” As such, their bragging and relief in the wake of the vote were no surprise.
The Media Reform Coalition described the vote as “shameful”, saying it equated “freedom of the press with the freedom to avoid independent scrutiny and the freedom to target vulnerable individuals.”
In essence, the Conservative government, surviving a small rebellion in the ranks, have signaled to their colleagues in elite-owned media that they can return to business as usual.
There’s been a pattern in recent years for scandals to blow up popular revulsion to ensue, horror to be expressed by the establishment (sincerely or not) and assurances to be made about the need and inevitability of sweeping changes.
then, after not much of consequences ultimately happens, it is only the agitators and politics geeks that really notice. Everyone else has moved onto the next thing, and many of those politics geeks didn’t really have the appetite for change in the first place, as evidenced by outcomes.
the banking crisis and the lobbying scandal (that should have been but never quite was) illustrate this pattern just as well as the outrage about press standards that was triggered 7 years ago when we discover that one of Murdoch’s paper had spied on a murdered child.
No matter the sound and fury in these cases, genuine reform scarcely adds up to a row of beans. With so much of what we’ve seen in intervening years, it would be brave to argue that overall standards have improved.
Once more, the challenge is for independent media to produce responsible and balanced reportage when the propaganda platforms of the 1% and other working in their parameters inevitably end up doing the opposite.
The ‘Go Home’ Vote Goes Home (to The Tories)
As the row about allegations of antisemitism on the left continues to rumble on, it’s only fair to review the current state of play in establishment right-wing bigotry and the amount of attention it doesn’t generate on the likes of BBC News output and elsewhere.
There is currently a spate of complaints and allegations against conservatives and supporters for a wide range of nasty opinions. All this is against a backdrop (discussed in the last Media Alert) of a government that has, far worse than sharing dodgy social media posts, knowingly overseen the racist application of policy against Commonwealth migrants and their descendants. But the question of their demonstrable institutional racism has hardly been raised.
PR wonks will probably be right in hope that the Windrush scandal has mostly been out to bed now, with only those uppity blacks and their leftie (terror loving) allies continuing to make a fuss.
Perhaps a backlash can be whipped up when compensation starts to get paid out. In the meantime, the political damage appears limited if the local election results are anything to go by. It seems the UKIP vote returned heavily to the Conservatives (unlike at last year’s General Election when it was more evenly split between Tory and Labour).
The “Go Home” vote has gone home to the Tories, and as if to mark the occasion they have un-suspended Pendle Councillor Rosemary Carroll, who had shared a “joke” on Facebook that would have been below par even in a 1970s Bernard Manning routine.
Ms. Carroll was unsuspended in order that the party could retain control of the council after potentially losing that control in May 3rd’s Local Elections. The posture of political principle is all well and good until it obstructs political power.
While the episode has had some attention from establishment media, it is independent media – notably Skwawkbox – who have worked hard to keep it in the public eye. There’s a distinct lack in the front pages of The Times, Mail et al. or the repeated 20 minute Newsnight segments reserved for when the Labour Party is said to have failed to address bigotry.
Imagine if a left-wing journalist had said the same things about antisemitism. It would probably dominate the news agenda, with Ms. Phillis at the front of the queue to place it there.
These are not attempts to define what Islamophobia, racism or antisemitism are or their prevalence on various parts of the political spectrum. It is only a demonstration of the obvious: that elite owned media deems some forms of bigotry to be less problematic, while others are more politically useful to rail against. The genuine interests of victims don’t seem top of the agenda in either case.
Picks of the Week
Our hand-picked selections from some of the best independent journalism around
G4S Rewarded for Abuse – Corporate Watch
The grim spectre of G4S profiteering hangs over many public service contracts. Their mishaps and vulture-like practices have just been rewarded with a contract extension, as detailed by Corporate Watch.
The Third Degree – Real Media & DeSmogUK
Two Media Fund Partners have come together to produce the first of a series of videos challenging the dominance of corporate-led agendas in the world of environmental spin.
Populism, Trump, and Democracy – Open Democracy
You may think that there’s little to say about Trump that hasn’t already been said, but this in-depth piece from a leading philosopher offers sharp insights into the role of misplaced liberalism in the rise of hard-right agendas.
Media Alert is a weekly bulletin discussing issues impacting on the UK independent media and highlighting some of the best recent work from the sector.
It’s brought to you by The Media Fund, a co-operative of over 30 partners seeking to raise funds and advocate for quality independent journalism.