While Watson postures on #fakenews, McDonnell tells it like it is

The SKWAWKBOX has covered in some detail Labour deputy leader Tom Watson’s transparent attempt to silence inconvenient, independent news sources by smearing them as ‘fake news’.

In appointing one of Corbyn’s most shameless opponents in the Parliamentary Labour party (PLP), sometime S*n and Daily Mail columnist Michael Dugher, to head an inquiry that it is doubtful Watson has any authority to instigate and by naming one of the most reputable independent news sources in the UK, The Canary, as a source of fake news, Watson couldn’t have telegraphed his intentions and motivations any more clearly.

To continue his ‘Anaconda’ project to strangle Corbyn’s leadership.

In stark contrast to Watson’s posturing and scheming, John McDonnell gave an object lesson in straight talking on the subject on Saturday.


Speaking at the Media Democracy Festival, on a panel alongside The Canary and Novara Media, McDonnell was direct in a way that you will not hear from Watson or Dugher on the subject, including calling out Watson’s ‘inquiry’/hatchet job (emphases mine):

I congratulate those who have looked at establishing other kinds of media, but again, what was seen in recent months, with the inquiries into fake news and all the rest of it, is a very assault on those media outlets because they’re challenging the distortion that’s taken place in the mainstream media itself.

The bizarre post-truth situation and post-truth political debate have been founded upon the media distortion that’s been talking place, exemplified by the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, and coming semi-directly from the concentration of ownership [of media].

The good thing at the moment is that there is now a growing backlash [against something] people now see as an elite establishment and I think increasingly the media elite establishment is seen as a part of that.

We’ve moved into this bizarre situation where no-one trusts any media outlet, or any politician, though I can understand that.

McDonnell’s plain-speaking analysis exemplifies what is attracting people to the Labour’s ‘new politics’ and the media that are not owned by billionaire tax-exiles, or suborned by the Tory party in the case of the BBC, are vital to getting that message out – because the ‘establishment media’ are too busy shoring up the status quo to give it page space or airtime.

This blog congratulates John McDonnell for telling it like it without fear or spin – and urges every reader to support the independent media we all – including the genuine Labour party – increasingly rely on.

The SKWAWKBOX is offered free of charge but if you feel able to support its work via the ‘donate’ button above, please do.


  1. Why have these people who are openly plotting and even fund raising for a party within a party not expelled? Many members were suspended without any evidence in an attempt at vote rigging. Jeremy has to get tough.

  2. What’s frustrating is that there IS a problem with fake news – not “fake news” – which is put out purely to drive clicks and create ad revenue. And yes, there probably is some overlap with individual stories in the tabloid media. But even the worst tabloids aren’t set up SOLELY for that purpose.

    It is a huge problem if we cannot tackle the real problem of fake news because a bunch of political opportunists are going to muddy the waters by declaring any news source that they simply don’t like “fake”. The Canary does investigative journalism, holds people to account who should be held to account, and generally does what we want our media to do. It is generally clear enough when it is editorialising rather than reporting – unlike some of the tabloids – so really doesn’t fit the definition at all.

    Fake news sites exist and we should be aware of them, and my hope is that Facebook and Twitter can be persuaded to mark these stories as False at the point of sharing them – because that’s where this stuff is doing the damage. Shoving a headline in front of people’s faces affects public discourse, far more if people *don’t* read the rest of the story than if they do. And that’s true of Old Media as well.

    Maybe, as a result of this, press regulation could pursue those who use misleading headlines in the press?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: