Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Off Narrative

You remember that poll, don't you?  Of course you do - was that poll of people supposedly eligible to vote in the Labour leadership election.  You know - the one which showed Jeremy Corbyn out in front and which the right-wing press gleefully plastered all over their front pages.  The same poll which the BBC seemingly spent weeks slavering over.  See, you remember it now.  The media had a field day, using it as an excuse to dredge up various 'experts' and Labour right-wingers to pronounce on how this poll, if repeated in the leadership election results, would lead to a split in the Labour party, electoral disaster and the collapse of the British left.  Fast forward to last weekend and another poll, again supposedly of a sample of people eligible to vote in the leadership election, was published.  This time it showed a clear lead over Corbyn for Andy Burnham.  Now, you could easily be forgiven for not remembering that poll.  It didn't seem to get reported anywhere.  Not even that bastion of impartiality, the BBC, could be bothered to cover it.  None of the right-wing press ran articles telling us what consequences of a Burnham leadership might be for the party.

The problem, obviously, was that it didn't fit in with the media's 'narrative' with regard to the Labour leadership election.  Which, put broadly, is that after a 'disastrous' election defeat, the Labour membership 'seeks comfort' in a 'lurch to the left', resulting in its implosion and inevitable decline as an electoral force.  More of a right wing wet dream than a 'narrative' really, but that's how they've decided to frame this whole contest in their 'reporting', despite the fact that it has little to do with the actual facts, (I've gone into the 'disastrous' defeat and 'lurch to the left' elsewhere and won't rehash those arguments here), but that's the point of such 'narratives' - if it doesn't fit, ignore it.  Which effectively puts the media on the same level as conspiracy theorists, who exclude everything which doesn't fit their world view in order to maintain their pet theories.  But that's the problem with the modern media - instead of reporting and analysing the facts and see where that leads the story, they seem to want it to follow some pre-set 'narrative' which reinforces pre-existing stereotypes and prejudices.  Clearly, they think that those who consume their 'news' are too stupid to come to their own conclusions based on the reported facts, (or, more likely, fear that they will come to the 'wrong' conclusions), and need to be 'led' through the news via an artificial 'narrative'.  And what doesn't fit, won't get reported.   

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