By Jonathan Cook
May 10, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – This is the first British general election in decades in which there is anything approaching a real political choice. For that reason, even the most liberal elements within the corporate media are jettisoning the pretence of neutrality and objectivity. The stakes are simply too high.
In fact, their bias has become so overt that even a veteran BBC and Channel 4 reporter like Michael Crick is becoming exasperated and letting vent on Twitter.
What shocks me is reporters collaborate with May press team by agreeing to reveal their questions to them in advance
Theresa May in York right now, addressing Tory candidates, councillors & activists, not local York voters
Crick’s outrage has been triggered by the media’s complicity in allowing British prime minister Theresa May to stage-manage her election campaign. The media are submitting questions for vetting (without admitting the fact to viewers), and failing to report that in most cases only hardcore Tory party supporters, not members of the public, are being allowed near her.
One should not be surprised that the Conservatives want to rig the campaign trail to make their candidate look good. The problem is that the corporate media are conspiring to help them do it.
Why would the media be so willing to mollycoddle May and keep her from embarrassing herself? Doesn’t the media feed off the high and mighty being brought low by gaffes and pratfalls?
That might be true if nothing was really at stake, as has been the case in the last few decades of elections. But if May loses, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be in power instead. The elites are so sure they are firmly in control of everything that they are determined to make sure that doesn’t happen.
May, it is clear, is a weak public performer. That is why she has refused to debate Corbyn, and why BBC interviewers are giving her softball questions. She is even pampered with an interview on the BBC with her banker husband, Philip, posing as though they are royalty.
In contrast to May, the Labour leader makes a good impression when he is able to speak about policies rather than being battered by not just hostile, but openly disparaging, questions from BBC interviewers like Laura Kuennsberg.
During the independence referendum campaign in 2014, many Scots started to understand that they lived in an ostensible democracy only. The media, and most notably the BBC, worked so strenuously to deny them any information that might encourage them to make the “wrong” choice that the mask of neutrality slipped off. In a sign of the desperation, as the vote looked to be nail-bitingly close, even the Queen was roped in to bolster the case for staying in the union.
As the UK media all but declare fealty to May, this may prove to be an Indyref moment for the rest of Britain.
Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism