Category Archives: Media
Extract from the latest article:
In his outstanding essay, ‘The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real)’, Norman Finkelstein, Jewish author of ‘The Holocaust Industry’ and the son of Holocaust survivors, comments:
‘The degree of anti-Semitism infecting British society has been the subject of numerous polls over a sustained period of time. These surveys have uniformly, consistently, and unambiguously concluded that anti-Semitism:
(1) has long been a marginal phenomenon in British society, infecting under 10% of the population,
(2) is far less salient than hostility to other British minorities, and
(3) is less pronounced in the UK than almost anywhere else in Europe.’
Finkelstein argues that Jews have considerable power within British society. Indeed, the intensity and longevity of the campaign targeting Corbyn’s ‘antisemitism’ in part reflect that influence:
‘Jews are incomparably organized as they have created a plethora of interlocking, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing communal and defense organizations that operate in both the domestic and international arenas. In many countries, not least the US and the UK, Jews occupy strategic positions in the entertainment industry, the arts, publishing, journals of opinion, the academy, the legal profession, and government. “Jews are represented in Britain in numbers that are many times their proportion of the population,” British-Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer notes, “in both Houses of Parliament, on the Sunday Times Rich List, in media, academia, professions, and just about every walk of public life.”‘
As Finkelstein says, ‘it cannot be right to deny (or suppress) critical socioeconomic facts’ of this kind. Noting them has nothing to do with ugly, racist fantasies about Jews controlling the world.
‘Jeremy Corbyn is the democratically elected head of the Labour Party. His ascendancy vastly expanded and galvanized the party’s ranks. Corbyn has devoted a lifetime to fighting racism; like eponymous labor organizer Joe Hill, where workers strike and organize, it’s there you’ll find Jeremy Corbyn.
‘By British and even global leadership standards, he cuts a saintly figure. On the opposite side, mostly unelected Jewish bodies have dragged Corbyn’s name through the mud, slandering and defaming him. They have refused to meet with Corbyn, even as he has repeatedly extended olive branches and offered substantive compromises. Instead they issue take-it-or-leave-it ultimatums.‘
Finkelstein summarises accurately: ‘The transparent motive behind this cynical campaign is to demonize Corbyn, not because he’s a “fucking anti-Semite,” [the words of former Labour minister Margaret Hodge] but because he’s a principled champion of Palestinian rights’, although ‘a broad array of powerful entrenched social forces, acting on not-so-hidden agendas of their own’ are all seeking to destroy Corbyn.
Indeed, no rational observer can see this as anything other than an extension of the relentless establishment attack on Corbyn, the mild socialist threatening to let democracy loose from its box. The objective of the antisemitism moral panic is obvious, writes Lindsey German of Stop the War:’removing Corbyn from the Labour leadership and his replacement with someone much more amenable to the needs of British capital, whether in the arena of foreign policy or in terms of domestic policies’.
David Hearst, a former Middle East editor at the Guardian, concurs: ‘The Labour leader’s opponents don’t care about anti-Semitism. They’ll just do anything to remove Corbyn.’
Hearst argues that Corbyn’s opponents are using: ‘the tactics of fascists – smearing, libelling, intimidating: ‘Unable to put up a candidate capable of defeating him by democratic means, at the ballot box, unable to attack him on his polices for which there is majority support in the country, Corbyn’s detractors have methodically and consistently set about the task of character assassination.’
We asked Noam Chomsky for his view on these issues. He replied: ‘The charges of anti-Semitism against Corbyn are without merit, an underhanded contribution to the disgraceful efforts to fend off the threat that a political party might emerge that is led by an admirable and decent human being, a party that is actually committed to the interests and just demands of its popular constituency and the great majority of the population generally, while also authentically concerned with the rights of suffering and oppressed people throughout the world. Plainly an intolerable threat to order.’ (Noam Chomsky, email to Media Lens, September 9, 2018
Edited extract from a site run by Unite activist Steven Walker from Liverpool. The site’s address comes from his initials.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke in Edinburgh about his plans for changes to the media landscape. The full address may be seen on YouTube or read here.
‘MSM’ coverage of the event has tended to avoid reference to Corbyn’s question session with journalists and members of the public and the extensive ‘Q&A’ with actor Maxine Peake.
Dignity and understatement
The telling and moving segment of the Q&A came when Corbyn was asked about his experience of mainstream media attacks since he became Labour leader – and he responded with dignity and understatement, describing a ceaseless campaign of smears against him as “The papers being somewhat unkind about me”, before going on to make a steadfast defence of the need for journalists in a ‘vibrant democracy’ and to pay tribute to journalists who have risked and even lost their lives in the pursuit of truth.
About the many: for the poor and for our children.
When asked what he thinks it’s most important for the mainstream journalists to do now, his answer – as it has consistently been throughout his leadership – was all about others and their needs.
Others would add his policies on nuclear power and weapons, military intervention in other countries and on projects such as HS2, privatisation and the third Heathrow runway.
The article summarises: “No self-pity. No drama – in stark contrast to the behaviour of some Labour MPs who have suffered far less for far more cause. Just, as ever, a self-deprecating and completely authentic concern for others – especially those left vulnerable and deprived by our broken economic system and our skewed, dysfunctional mainstream media landscape”.
On the Cornwall Live’s website Tom D. Rogers wrote: “It seems that despite renewed predictions of doom and gloom for the Labour Party from the usual mainstream media pundits, and despite the best efforts of the right-wing media to portray him as some kind of jam-making, allotment-tending, left-wing reincarnation of Hitler, Britain hasn’t reached anywhere near ‘peak-Corbyn’ yet. On the weekend, a staggering 18,000 festival goers in Cornwall staged a completely spontaneous and staggeringly unified show of solidarity with the much-maligned Labour leader”.
ICM’s polling last week also had Labour ahead and the latest polling by BMGResearch shows Labour with a two percent lead over the Tories, up by two points on BMG’s last poll, with the Tories falling by a similar amount.
Roger’s continues: “It has been a summer of relentless smears against Jeremy Corbyn, his team and his supporters as the Establishment desperately tries to bring him down before the Democracy Review rule changes and Labour’s annual conference next month put the party beyond the reach of the Tory-Lites indefinitely. But those smears appear not to be cutting through. At the Boardmasters festival in Cornwall last weekend around 18,000 young people were participating in a huge ‘silent disco’ when the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ played through their headphones. The result was electrifying – and suggests that enthusiasm for the Labour leader has not dimmed even a little . . .
They know where hope lies”.
Jeremy Corbyn is speaking this evening at Stoke City’s ground – indoors rather than a stadium gig – and the room is already full: a capacity of around 600.
This is the scene outside as people queue out of sight to get in – his popularity appears undiminished, as the latest polling seems to indicate.
Today’s Times poll results defang its five anti-Corbyn artlcles, prompted by fear of ‘corporate capture’
The findings: eight out of ten Labour members are impervious to propaganda
Longstanding Labour activists are snapping membership cards, cancelling direct debits, throwing up hands with a despairing “I’m done here” writes Janice Turner – under the headline ‘Labour lost to fools and crackpots’.
In Newcastle, one of the areas which have suffered intensely from corporate capture
True, as she says, there has been (simulated?) escalating anger among careerist Labour MPs over Mr Corbyn’s failure to tackle antisemitism. But as her Times colleague, Deputy Political Editor Sam Coates writes, the findings of the latest YouGov poll for The Times, “are likely to make bleak reading for Labour MPs who have tackled Mr Corbyn on antisemitism, including the 41 who signed a letter challenging him on his views”. He summarises:
Yesterday Mr Corbyn tweeted: “As Jews across our country start to prepare for #Passover, I would like to wish everyone in the Jewish community a Chag Sameach.”
Coates reports that the Labour poll says antisemitism row is exaggerated. Nearly eight out of ten Labour members believe that accusations of antisemitism are being exaggerated to damage Jeremy Corbyn and stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.
The leader was still overwhelmingly backed by members, with 80% saying that he was doing a good job and 61% saying he was handling the antisemitism crisis well. Some 69% supported his response to the Salisbury poisoning.
- 47% saying antisemitism was a problem “but its extent is being deliberately exaggerated to damage Labour and Jeremy Corbyn or to stifle criticism of Israel”.
- 30% said that antisemitism was “not a serious problem” and was being used to undermine Mr Corbyn and prevent legitimate criticism of Israel,
- and 19% said it was a genuine problem that needed addressing.
Tony Blair said that it had become an issue because the leadership and its supporters did not think it was a problem.
He told The Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4: “They think it’s something got up by people who are opposed to him for all sorts of other reasons and are using antisemitism as the battering ram against his leadership.”
A reader commented: I think we can guess what you (Ms Turner pp The Times) fear and how you and your colleagues have pushed the boat out to encourage it.
The real fear of a Labour Victory under Mr Corbyn is not the anti-semitism that the media have done so much to exaggerate, but rather, the prospect that a Labour government is intent on ending the corporate capture of our democracy and that some very powerful interests, including those who dominate the media and formulate government policy from the comfortable chairs in the gentlemen’s clubs of St James’ and Pall Mall are likely to lose their influence over the way in which government conducts its business.
Another wrote: “I look forward to voting Labour. It is important to stand up to the rabid warmongering right wing press, who don’t bother with minor details such as evidence and international agreements before escalating situations with nuclear powers”.
On Friday’s night’s Newsnight programme, author Owen Jones impressively took Newsnight’s Evan Davis to task about the ‘disgraceful framing’ of the narrative around the poisoning of Sergei Skripal. He listed many cases in which Corbyn and Labour had taken a stand against Russia when the Tories, who avoided doing so, were taking huge donations from Russian oligarchs.
Jones also referred to the observation of sharp-eyed Twitter user that Newsnight had not only added Corbyn’s image to a backdrop the Kremlin skyline but also photoshopped his cap to make it resemble a Russian hat.
Presenter Evan Davis stoutly and persistently denied the accusation – even pausing the discussion to repeat his claim that the image added to the skyline was authentic.
Rachel Johnson, far from taking the position of her brother, the Foreign Secretary, said “I think Jeremy Corbyn was right to point out that we needed some proof before we escalated what could be a very dangerous international situation. I think a lot of the country agreed with him on that. We had eight years of the war in Syria and 1500 civilian casualties in Yemen.”
On Saturday’s Any Answers programme listener after listeners made points similar to those made by Rachel Johnson.
But the mainstream media fail to highlight these viewpoints which contradict the preferred narrative.
To see the video clip, go to https://skwawkbox.org/2018/02/22/video-neil-does-a-paxman-on-squirming-tory-minister-over-corbyn-smears/
The right-wing press, neoliberal politicians and corporates in Britain such as Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, Tory MP Mark Pritchard and Labour MP Frank Field, are firmly attached to the US-led global order which attempts to impose its will by propaganda and force – generally in oil rich countries like Venezuela. As MP Chris Williamson pointed out in his recent Newsnight interview, the US has a track record of interference at all levels, including military overthrow of inconvenient governments, in Latin America.
They have led repeated attacks on an absent Jeremy Corbyn for failing to cheer the US-led destabilisation of Venezuela. Labour List, which is clearly backing the Blairite wing, referred to ‘Nicolas Maduro’s violent suppression after a dirty election’. The Sun’s dig:
On his return, Mr Corbyn said: “I’m very sad at the lives that have been lost in Venezuela. The people who have died, either those on the streets or security forces that have been attacked by people on the street — all of those lives are terrible for the loss of them.” Repeatedly pressed to condemn Mr Maduro’s actions, he said: “What I condemn is the violence that’s been done by any side, by all sides, in all this. Violence is not going to solve the issue”, adding:
“We also have to recognise that there have been effective and serious attempts at reducing poverty in Venezuela, improving literacy and improving the lives of many of the poorest people.”
Using record-high oil revenues of the 2000s, his government nationalized key industries, created participatory democratic Communal Councils, and implemented social programs to expand access to food, housing, healthcare, and education. Venezuela used its oil revenue to make improvements in poverty, literacy, income equality, and quality of life.
James Tweedie effectively put the record straight in an interview on Radio 4’s Today Programme on 7th August, with the usually combative presenter failing to challenge even one of the facts he presented. In that and a recent article he made many points. Some of these are published here.
True socialism has been advancing in Britain over the past two years with Labour’s gains in the June election on an anti-austerity manifesto and the increasing public respect for Corbyn as leader. We can see, on the horizon, rejection of the current form of Western intervention which has gained adherents for extremist groups, destabilising many of the world’s regions, followed by collaboration with others to undertake the monumental task of rebuilding and reconciliation.
- Angela Smith – noted for her place in the 2009 expenses scandal – backed the vote of no confidence in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn which led to the leadership election, in which Corbyn was re-elected as leader
- Graham Jones on record as saying he could not serve under Mr Corbyn as he was from the “extreme left” and did not hold Labour’s “true values”
As the Times and some Labour MPs try to provoke Jeremy Corbyn over the situation in Venezuela – ‘damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t’ – it must be galling for them to see that public favour has never been higher.
Right wing media grudgingly acknowledges Corbyn’s power to draw huge crowds and hundreds of website readers from 36 other countries visited (left – a record number): “Jeremy Corbyn rocks Glastonbury’ – Murdoch resumes the ‘bashathon’ “
Crowds again turned out in Hastings, Southampton ( below), Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, the Durham Miners Gala and London.
And even more striking because less transient, news forwarded by Felicity Arbuthnot, that an 8ft-tall artwork depicting North Islington MP and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been unveiled on the side of a pub in Archway. The artist, Sam Collins, spent a month on the mural, crafted by putting together A3 plywood squares painted at his studio.
Tony Cullen, the owner said “I’ve never seen someone so honest and willing to be accountable. I love that he’s changing the political landscape, moving it to ordinary people away from elites . . . Jeremy seemed very embarrassed, but he said [he] appreciates the quality of the art – it really captured him.”
Too much saccharine? Turn to the readers of the Times, who say that JC draws ‘Fake crowds’, is a cult leader, IRA-lover and supporter of Islamofascist terrorist murderers.
A more understated reaction: ‘The face of honest politics’.