Sep 18, 2015

September 18, 2015: Media Gone Apoplectic, Losing Their Grip, Recovering Lost Souls

In an essay by Adam Johnson, originally appearing on the website ALTERNET and republished on the website, American mainstream media—the collective guardians of the modern corporate order—have gone apoplectic over recent political developments in the United Kingdom.

“Yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn won the vote for Britain’s Labour leadership election – basically the equivalent to the American Democratic Party primary – in a blowout, garnering almost 60% of the vote while the runner-up, Andy Burnham could only muster 19% of the vote. Jeremy Corbyn, a self-described socialist, outflanked his opponents to the left on many issues, including militarism, immigration, unions – breaking ranks on a whole host of centrist orthodoxy that Labour had embraced since the mid-90’s.
The American media, perplexed as to how someone labeled with the dreaded “s” word could not only capture a major party nomination but do so with the largest mandate in the history of the party, went into full smear mode:

First up, Reuters who led with tabloid “Karl Marx Admirer”:

This headline was used everywhere form NBC News to Yahoo News who reprinted the story.

Centrist conventional wisdom factory the Daily Beast circled the wagons, inexplicably lumping Corbyn in with Donald Trump and accusing him of spreading the politics of “hate” and “spite” despite being unable to cite a single example of Corbyn demonstrating either.

Time magazine, another centrist conventional wisdom factory, insisted Corbyn couldn’t win the general election. Mind you they cited no polls showing this, only spouted the same old trope that “hard-leftists” couldn’t win. You know, the same argument peddled by those who said he wasn’t going to win the Labour party leadership.

Neoliberal Vox, insisted on calling him “radical”:

Even though someone with a large swath of mainstream support cannot, by definition, be “radical”. The LA Times, Slate, CTV in Canada, and ABC10 Los Angeles went with “Divisive far-left” entirely on their own

It’s mystifying how a man who had the largest mandate of any party leader ever can be called “divisive” but so it goes in a corporate media which conflates elite conventional wisdom for the will of the people. The reality is Corbyn’s win isn’t just a rejection of standard neoliberal orthodoxy — it’s an indictment of it. For years we’ve been told the will of the people is to be anti-union, pro-austerity, and pro-corporate takeover of pensions and education. Now the tide is shifting dramatically and the cognitive dissonance of those in charge of our media is too great to compute. They must at once report on Corbyn’s record victory while insisting he’s fringe.

The goal of cheap smears like “Karl Marx admirer” (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the goal is to red-bait) and “far left” and divisive” is the same as those leveled against Bernie Sanders: “unelectable”, “socialist”, “far left”. Though Corbyn’s positions are demonstrably more to the left of Sanders’, both pose an existential threat to the pro-corporate position of the establishment left of the UK and US respectively and thus, must be dismissed as anomalies. Increasingly however, it appears they are anything but.” (1)

The movement by Britain’s Labour Party to reject the legacy of Tony Blair, and the concurrent movement within America’s Democratic Party to purge itself of the discredited legacy of Bill Clinton’s Democratic Leadership Council, are indeed encouraging coming along with news that Australia has just ousted its Murdock-backed prime minister in favor of someone within the conservative movement seen as less noxious by the voting public.  The nascent trends in industrial countries toward the rejection of the tired old neo-liberal (or neo-conservative depending on the country), ideologies in favor of more community and ‘collectivist’ oriented proposals, programs and leadership, demonstrate perhaps the beginning of a world-wide movement that will finally bring to heel the riot of greed and avarice that has come to plague this planet in recent decades.

It will take a coordinated world-wide movement to accomplish this task, for capital has long since ‘flown the coop’ and is now beyond the reach of mere national governments.   Already the Catholic Church—long a bastion of conservatism and bulwark against social justice—now finds itself led by a pontiff who has taken the moniker “Francis”—after St. Francis of Assisi, and is now advocating world-wide redistributions of the planet’s wealth.  Elsewhere we find now in Britain, Australia, Canada, and the United States the re-awakening of long dormant populist movements rising to challenge the entrenched establishments.   

The elites have been caught off-guard, not knowing and not possessing the language with which to respond.  Labeling these movements ‘extreme’ and ‘out of the mainstream’ now only further confirms their legitimacy among the long alienated and exploited working classes throughout the world. 

Meanwhile Hillary responding with vague ideals is met with a truly populist response that is now demanding specific actions.  On the conservative side, establishment candidate JEB Bush tells his audience that the woman he would chose to put on the U.S. ten dollar bill is none other than  Margaret Thatcher, forgetting that the ‘Iron Maiden’ had become so onerous that she was toppled by her own party in favor of a former circus barker. 

One senses that the high tide of conservatism has passed, that the global grip about the throats of those who produce the wealth as represented by the Reagan-Thatcher political tryst is finally weakening as conservatives seek a reassurance and the Labour and Democratic parties move respectively to recover their lost souls. 

(1). Johnson, Adam “America’s mainstream media freaks out after Socialist wins UK Labour leadership”

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