Establishment escalating attacks on SKWAWBOX and other left media

The Establishment and its media allies have long had the knives out for what might best be termed the ‘new left media’ (NLM), such as the SKWAWKBOX, Canary, Evolve Politics,  Another Angry Voice and others. Small wonder, since we’re a major inconvenience for them, often disrupt their attempts to control the political narrative – and were an integral part of Labour’s General Election surge.

The last few days have seen a significant escalation in the nature of the Establishment’s attacks.

First, Guardian pontificator Jonathan Freedland launched into a vilification of those whom he blames for the lack of trust in the ‘MSM’ (mainstream media), directly linking independent news sites to the vile murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The article was originally titled “Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder shows where hatred of the media can lead” but later changed to “Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder shows why hatred of the media is wrong“, as the Guardian began to realise what a pile of nonsense it had published and conducted a series of edits. In the original version, Freedland wrote (emphases and bracketed comment added by this blog):

But the MSM is a favourite target of the left too: witness the Corbynite attacks on the BBC and its political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, who famously required the protection of a bodyguard to attend the Labour party conference. [REALLY?]

Now we have brutal evidence of where this loathing of the media can lead. On Monday, Malta’s most prominent investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was murdered when the car she was driving was blown sky high, scattering her body parts across a field.

(For details of all the edits made to the article, see this NewsSniffer tracking article.)

Since the consensus is that Ms Caruana Galizia was murdered by right-wing/Establishment figures whom her fearless journalism had inconvenienced – making her more like the independent left that Freedland attacked – the article’s attempt to smear the left by exploiting her death is, frankly, contemptible.

But Mr Freedland wasn’t the only figure to take a similar tack. Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green made a very similar attack on the NLM during a speech to journalists at Westminster – the only material difference being that he decided to exploit the death of MP Jo Cox in a set of comments that were as cynical as they were disgraceful.

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In his speech picked up by the Telegraph, S*n and Sky News, Green told his audience of journalists (emphases added by the SKWAWKBOX):

The point is that our political discourse needs to be better than it currently is, an argument that will not be lost on many people in this room whose livelihoods are under threat from unscrupulous blogs and websites that have no regard for any attempt to check the truth like the Canary, Breitbart, SkwawkBox.

If mainstream politicians and journalists start to behave like Twitter trolls and then democracy is in danger.

I know there is a long history of insulting our leaders from Gillray cartoons onwards and I have no expectation or desire to go back to the era when journalists politely asked prime ministers if they wish to add anything else at the end of an interview.

But I do think that we need to respect each other [sic] motives, and treat each other’s views with courtesy, whether we are on either side to the Commons chamber or even on either side of the much bigger chasm of politicians and journalists.

If we don’t, then we risk feeding an atmosphere of increasing hatred which at the most horrible of extremes led to the killing of Jo Cox.

Shame on Mr Green for exploiting the memory of a murdered MP in what undoubtedly represents a clear escalation in the Establishment’s attacks on the NLM that regularly embarrass and inconvenience it by highlighting its lack of honesty and its misdeeds – as well as routinely outdoing the MSM in integrity and coverage of news that affects the lives of ordinary people.

A SKWAWKBOX spokesperson provided comment to the Telegraph, which the publication added into the article:

The SKWAWKBOX takes every care to ensure correctness and if we get something wrong we publish a correction of equal prominence to the original, which is a lot more than the so-called MSM offer. We are also regulated by IMPRESS, the UK’s only independent, Leveson-compliant press regulator.

The SKWAWKBOX absolutely does not condone violence or abuse. However, Mr Green like many politicians and commentators, needs to learn to distinguish between legitimate, robust criticism and abuse – or to be less sloppy in the way he categorises.

To suggest that criticism of political dishonesty will lead to violence against MPs is beneath contempt – and a blatant attempt to discredit criticism of the dire political behaviour all too common in Mr Green’s party. He was presumably aware that a speech to journalists is not covered by parliamentary privilege when he made such scurrilous accusations.

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Editor in Chief of The Canary, which was also smeared by Green, commented:

The Secretary of State does a disservice to himself and his office with these appalling comments.

Jo Cox lost her life due to bigotry and intolerance – she was killed by a racist man with Nazi sympathies. For decades, such hateful ideas have been actively promoted by mainstream outlets like The Sun and The Daily Mail.

Every day, these outlets are attacking ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBT+ communities and people who rely on the welfare state.

Instead of speaking out against these billionaire-backed peddlers of bigotry, Mr Green is attacking one of the few independently-owned, progressive outlets in the UK. An outlet led by a gay woman of colour as Editor-in-Chief.

The truth is that we set up The Canary precisely because of the one-sided reporting already happening in the mainstream media – we are presenting the other side of that story. And we do that as probably the most diverse media outlet in the whole country.

Our mission is to disrupt the hateful messages of the right-wing UK press, reminding people that we have more in common than the superficial differences. By disrupting those messages, we have helped changed the public conversation. This will always be threatening to those who benefit from an unjust status quo.

This escalation indicates that the NLM are ruffling the feathers of the Establishment even more than was already apparent. For a politician to be making such defamatory comments outside the protection of ‘parliamentary privilege’ is unusually reckless.

Well-known social media campaigner released a video with her own thoughts on the significance of this new Establishment tack:

Such ‘desperate measures’ by Green and others show how much the NLM’s increasing stature and influence are disturbing and disrupting the Establishment’s attempts to control the political narrative and keep our population in ignorance – and how vital the independent voice of the left is to the proper function of our democracy. 

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  1. If the Omen is so keen on respecting the views of others, when can we see the Tories stopping the roll-out of UC after the 299-0 Commons vote against it?

  2. Jonathan Freeland and Damian Green are both guilty of using the murder of women to score cheap and completely misleading political points.

    Their behaviour is obscene and both disreputable individuals are an utter disgrace to their professions.

    1. Bit like Alastair Campbell then, he only stole an essay, used it as justification to invade Iraq and drove a respected scientist to suicide

  3. Utterly and completely morally bankrupt Damian Green & Jonathan Freedland. They would love us all to believe every word they say. It is just as Orwell averred:
    ‘In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.’
    ‘War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.’
    ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’

  4. I haven’t picked up a lie infested package of paper since 1997. Whilst entities like the Daily hate and s*n exist to peddle their lies and hate I hope Sqwawkbox Canary Evolve media lens and all the other online independent news providers go from strength to strength, Mr Green is really unhappy that you all unpicked the MSM media lies about Jeremy and reported his rallies etc & now Jeremy is one step away from number 10. To use Jo Cox in his speech the way he has is disgusting

  5. “The point is that our political discourse needs to be better than it currently is, an argument that will not be lost on many people in this room whose livelihoods are under threat from unscrupulous blogs and websites that have no regard for any attempt to check the truth like the Canary, Breitbart, SkwawkBox.”

    Hahaha….What a snivelling little ‘el blend’.

    In realspeak: “You’d best find a better way of churning out ours & yours billshut and continue fooling the masses because sites like this are telling it as it is, and less people are buying the dead tree press or paying the Tv licence.

    …Or they’ll remove the trough”

    “If we don’t, then we risk feeding an atmosphere of increasing hatred which at the most horrible of extremes led to the killing of Jo Cox.”

    No…YOUR causing division betwixt young & old, employed and unemployed, corporates & unions etc; YOUR treatment of the mentally ill, YOUR callous treatment the poor, YOUR cavalier attitude towards the disabled and unemployed – basically your disregard of anyone who hasn’t got a few bob – will drive people to extreme measures.

    You’ve been told. If an MP IS murdered, I’ll know where my finger will be pointing…

  6. “To suggest that criticism of political dishonesty will lead to violence against MPs is beneath contempt…”

    Indeed but there may also be a darker side, such claims can be suggestive to a tiny minority of highly politically charged individuals who may act once an expectation of violence is suggested in the public domain. For me such claims are also highly irresponsible.
    It is also another way of trying to silence criticism.

    Free speech is under a severe and concerted attack.

  7. Sqwawkbox and The Canary etc should sue Damien Green for slander and defamation. The right-wing corporate press has been subverting democracy for decades with its lies and fabrications and distortions, along with its hate-mongering and fear-mongering concocted and designed to manipulate the thinking of millions of people. When you have so-called newspapers that label and refer to Tony Benn as ‘Barmy Benn’ and Ken Livingstone as ‘Red Ken’ and Neil Kinnock as ‘The Welsh Windbag’ and to Ed Milliband as ‘Red Ed’, you are witnessing fascism at work – ie the black propaganda of the fascist elite.

    Please ascertain from Green himself the names of all the independent news websites he was referring to, and then start crowfunding to raise the money to collectively sue the socks off of this fascist.

    Expose them for what they are.

    1. Well said, Allan, you took the words right out of my mouth but much more eloquently. The toady Torey is also a Luddite so it seems, ‘new technology threating our/your jobs’ So the free market entrepreneurial, t system doesn’t apply to the Toady Torey hacks. Any quality competition
      they will try to close down. As the AAV said none of them are fit to lick a decent and honest journalists boots. Allan is right, sue the R sole via a crowdfunded class action. I will donate a fiver to this right now since the R sole is slandering all of us by default. Keep up the good work Squakbox, Canary, AAV and Media Lens, You have made this grumpy old git have some hope for the future of my children and grandchildren

  8. A more general comment including links again.

    I suggest that the dominant media and politicians look in the mirror and develop some self critical skills. Like H. Clinton and D. Trump the ‘main stream’ media and many politicians are blaming everyone/anyone else without any substantive self reflection and asking if their own actions and bias are a big part of the reason for the push back and search for other narratives by increasing numbers of the public.
    MSM and so called ‘centrist’ political classes are driving people away and new media is springing up to service a need and thirst for news and comment that makes sense to them and is relevant to their lives. People are fleeing the old ‘consensus’ not being pulled away by new media.

    Dr Tom Mills of Aston Uni. interview on “Media and mistrust”.

    and Prof Piers Robinson inaugural “From propaganda to fake news”.
    1 hour 11 mins.


  10. I think Ghandi’s timeless quotation rings true here. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I think Skwawkbox is well into stage 3 of that process now.

  11. IMO Just keep on doing what you are doing that , I believe , is by far and away the best response . There is a thought that perhaps it maybe time for the publications mentioned Canary / Evolve etc to think about combining under a loose confederation grouping to support each other as no doubt the establishment will only increase it’s attacks as more and more of their power is eroded by the truth exposed by these blogs.

  12. The Guardian, which some people actually think is a paper of the Left is nothing of the sort. Like some MPs in the Labour Party, it is masquerading as a being on the left whilst promoting neoliberalism.

    A good assessment here:http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/how-guardian-became-flagship-for-false.html

    And check this out for an in depth picture of Jonathan Freedland:

  13. The “Straw Man Fallacy” seems the favoured Method of argument amongst the privately educated elite in the Tory Party (and Mainstream Media journalists as well, 80% of whom were also privately educated).

    But this is hardly surprising as it’s an integral element in the subject of Public Speaking and Rhetoric; a subject they teach in posh schools but not in ordinary schools:

    The “Straw Man” is a logical fallacy that occurs when a person argues against a misrepresentation of an opponent’s position rather than the actual position of the opponent.

    In effect, the person is building a false opponent (the straw man) that is easier to knock down than the actual opponent.

  14. Damian Green the man who loves to band about the word Democracy when his Govt is anything but and loves to block people’s opinions on social media that tells you all you need to know

  15. They are using the same tactics as are being used to smear the left with accusations of anti semitism. Close debate down to control the narrative by whatever means possible.

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