May was an interesting month for the SKWAWKBOX. The blog appears to be well and truly on the political map, with mentions in the Financial Times, The Economist and The Guardian.
Not all of these mentions were complimentary, of course, but hey ho – contempt from some just means you’re doing the job properly. If you want to see what others say about this blog, its standards and content, you can read comments here.
The SKWAWKBOX also, of course, featured significantly, alongside great sites like Another Angry Voice, Evolve Politics and The Canary, in a Buzzfeed article that has already been covered on this blog.
The Evening Standard had lined up an article after a lengthy interview, but word is that George Osborne may have killed it from his new position as editor – and the BBC was in touch about a possible documentary.
Interesting times. Even surreal.
The culmination came with a short spot on last night’s BBC News at Ten, as media editor Amol Rajan looked at the impact of blogs and social media on the General Election contest:
The piece featured a short excerpt of a very interesting discussion with Rajan about the aims and methods of the blog – the part that was shown was well chosen but left out some parts this writer would have liked to see featured, such as the journalistic standards the SKWAWKBOX sets for itself and the efforts taken to cultivate good sources.
There was no mention of the ‘seesaw’ principle (you don’t balance a seesaw with everyone sitting up one end by perching in the middle) – although this was described in rather more emotive terms later in the piece by Buzzfeed‘s Jim Waterson, who said that ‘a lot of these sites” ‘entire purpose is to destroy the status quo, they don’t want to give a fair hearing to both sides’.
No mention was made either about a key fact that seemed to be of considerable interest to the BBC man – the status and funding of the blog. So it’s an oppportune moment to make clear that the SKWAWKBOX does not take its editorial line from Labour, the Labour leader’s office or any union leader.
Nor does it receive any funding from those or any other entities – the blog exists to ‘get the word out’ and is a labour of passion, with nothing but the occasional kind donation from a reader to help.
Also discussed, but not featured in the programme, was the absence of advertising. The SKWAWKBOX has been accused of being ‘click-bait’ by someone who should have known better, but by definition click-bait exists to attract advertising clicks and there is no advertising here. In fact, we pay extra to WordPress for a premium package to eliminate even WordPress’ own advertising to improve the site’s readability.
Rajan’s description of the SKWAWKBOX as ‘hard left’ was amusing and frustrating in equal measure. It’s certainly the default term used for anything left of centre these days – but what’s called the ‘centre’ has moved so far right that the term is meaningless – but tends to be dismissive.
It’s also inaccurate, since neither the SKWAWKBOX (nor Jeremy Corbyn) are remotely ‘hard left’ – in Scandinavia, its politics would be considered moderate and entirely mainstream. But that’s the distorted political landscape in this country.
The blog’s brief mention on the UK’s flagship news programme did not go down well in some quarters. The Guido Fawkes site seemed particularly upset, with one of its journalists tweeting his annoyance and Media Guido mentioned the blog twice.
One of those mentions even recommended the SKWAWKBOX as an outside prospect for the Daily Mirror‘s soon-to-be-vacant political editor’s seat, although marching to someone else’s editorial beat is not of interest. The other can only be considered a howl of outrage.
Under a blaring title, Fawkes writes,
The BBC has taken the inexplicable decision of promoting fake news site Skwawkbox on the News at Ten. Skwawkbox is not simply a left-wing or Corbynista news site. It deliberately peddles knowing untruths with the aim of going viral and misleading its audience – it is the definition of fake news… What on earth is the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan thinking giving this nutter the platform of the News at Ten?
Ironically, he states a number of false ‘facts’ in his tirade, but there you go. The executive editor of Conservative Home was similarly up in arms, so it seems this blog is upsetting the right people.
The SKWAWKBOX is making an impact, but this would not be possible without the support of its readers, who share articles and provide a large part of the information that contributes to them.
So, as we enter the month in which the General Election will be decided to the benefit or detriment of this country, thank you for your support – and please continue.
The SKWAWKBOX is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers. If you found this information helpful and can afford to, please do click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your support so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.