Friday 20 February 2015

Not exactly news, but Owen Jones is a hypocrite

If Owen Jones could ditch his socialist dogma there would be the workings of a credible journalist in him. Here he argues that the media is the ultimate political lobbyist for our elite, so evidenced by claims made by Peter Oborne in resignation from the Telegraph.

There's a lot more still to come out about the Telegraph and how it stifles its reporters. Some may follow Oborne's example and we'll really see how grubby it is. Lance a boil and puss will come rushing out. Sadly, Owen Jones is entirely blind to the sins of his own employer, claiming that he has never been prevented from writing what he thinks. The reason for that is The Guardian doesn't have to. Here I am minded to quote Humbert Wolf. "You cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank God! the British journalist. But seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to."

The Guardian routinely runs corporate puff pieces - not least in how it outsources much of its energy content to (or did until recently) - and in my view they are thoroughly dishonest players. If Jones took an objective view of his own employer and then examined its investments he wouldn't be in such a rush to exonerate them. But he wouldn't go looking.

Moreover, much of The Guardian's revenue comes from job adverts, namely from the public sector CEOcracy and quangocracy, with is often treated with a light touch in the Guardian's local government hub. The Guardian isn't very vocal about obscene perks and pay of public sector officials. It has its own groupthink and sacred ground on which it will not tread. It doesn't need to silence its journalists because few among the Guardian would have the wit, or indeed feel it necessary to shine a torch on those grubby little fiefdoms.

Of all the main newspapers, it's certainly the least dreadful, but if like me you consider the upper echelons of the public sector as being very much part of that "establishment elite", the Guardian seems a great deal more selective in what it reports. It's just a bias that conforms to Jones's prejudices which is perhaps why he's unaware it exists and wouldn't recognise it if he saw it.

Meanwhile, that the media is becoming a cynical game of spin and counter-spin by propagandists and lobbyists is merely the market responding to what the public will readily consume. Were Jones to start from scratch, without the prestige of the title he works for, taking more care to be accurate and objective than he does presently, he would find his exposure to be minimal.

People say they want unbiased, accurate and objective media, but in reality they don't, and will flock like sheep to the prophet who sings the hymns they prefer to hear - and insulate themselves from the ones they don't. Running a blog will teach you that much.

Our newspapers are little more crib sheets for the tribalists who would willingly repeat what they say even when they know it to be intellectually dishonest. The practice would best be described as coprophagia. Outside of the main titles, there are a very small number of independent blogs who do more thorough analysis who simply cannot compete because of it.

The only way to break through the glass ceiling is to turn into an obsequious sycophant and write content that fits a tribal narrative. That will get you likes and shares and follows on social media. Accuracy and objectivity does not. Question the narrative of your tribe, or attempt to inject new information and they won't argue with you. They will simply unperson you. It is coordinated and willful ignorance, not just by the titles and their journalists, but also their readers. Frankly, I think we get the media we deserve.

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