107 MPs from all UK political parties are finally doing something about the Murdoch problem.
They’ve signed a scathing letter to The S*n’s editor, calling for the scalp of the journo who wrote their most recent incendiary, racist article. The article in question plumbed new depths for the S*n’s depravity and has been likened to nazi propaganda.
The letter was organised by Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West and details precise examples of how the S*n’s increasingly racist content correlates with spikes in hate crimes.
It follows a joint complaint about the article to the press regulator, IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation), issued by Jewish and Muslim organisations last week. IPSO have received a further 150 complaints about the article so far.
Given that IPSO are famously toothless and Murdoch is notoriously powerful, letter writing and complaining might appear like futile gesture politics at this point.
Here’s why I think it might not be just that.
Firstly and most broadly, gesture politics are not in and of themselves futile. They are a means to an end. An end to the beginning. Doors opening to new possibilities. Politicians from all parties, people of all faiths and none are uniting against racism and Murdochian propaganda. This marks yet another significant milestone in the struggle for real democracy.
During Occupy Democracy‘s occupations of Parliament Square in 2015-16, we heard from numerous ‘insiders’, including politicians and ex-politicians that they and their colleagues were terrified of the tabloids’ power to snoop, smear and blackmail. The corrupting influence of the media was then and is still now one of the fundamental pillars of corruption in Westminster’s Prostitute State and beyond. No politician would propose or support legislation to meaningfully reform the media, for fear that their character and career would be assassinated by the gutter press, such was the reputation of the billionaires behind the curtain.
Reforming and democratising media ownership became one of Occupy Democracy’s principle demands. During these occupations, some of us co-founded Occupy The Media Billionaires working group. One of the core objectives we set ourselves was to embolden and empower good politicians to end the tabloids’ stranglehold over our democracy.
Two years ago, a gesture like this letter from such a large number of the political classes seemed impossible.
The fact that the letter has cross-party support might also prove to be significant in terms of the progressive alliance for electoral reform, which continues to evolve backstage, regardless what the various party leaderships say. (Jeremy Corbyn’s signature was notably absent from the letter of condemnation, though he has warmly welcomed it’s contents).
Out of all the hatred and fear, does this cross-party political faction represent real hope?
Murdoch’s power and influence is not to be underestimated. His empire is vast. We must not be complacent or naive, but we should certainly celebrate the victories when they come. We can also celebrate (but not overstate) the fact that newscorp suffered another loss of £629m (2%) in the first quarter of this year.
Two years ago, corporate 1% media held the monopoly on information and the way in which it was shared.
They were ignoring, censoring or distorting social media and citizen journalism.
Over the last year or so, #PostTruth, #AlternativeFacts and #FakeNews was them laughing at us, trying to distract, divide, demoralise and disempower everybody with infantile astroturfing, gaslighting, flame wars and worse.
Now they’re so desperate that they’re literally printing nazi propaganda, blatantly inciting violence. They’ve been fighting citizen journalism since long before social media arrived. The internet offers us the edge we have desperately needed.
This letter marks another significant win in the struggle for a truly independent media, a real democracy and a fairer, more truthful and compassionate world.
This was only the politicians’ first hurdle though. Next, they should be bringing criminal prosecutions against all the Murdochian, Machievellian hatemongers masquerading as journalists.
If they can introduce some meaningful, strong legislation to democratise media ownership then that would be the cherry on the cake.
Here’s the full letter, as originally published by the independent.
Sincere thanks to all the MPs involved, even the Tories and Blairites.
if you enjoyed reading these musings, you might also enjoy the Alternative Media List. Over 100 more credible, interesting and challenging alternatives to the 1%’s corporate media.
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