Jeremy Corbyn spoke yesterday in Edinburgh about his plans for changes to the media landscape. ‘MSM’ coverage of the event has tended to focus on two areas.
Either we’ve heard fake news about cameras not being allowed in and Corbyn not allowing journalists to ask questions – both untrue – or equally fake news about Corbyn wanting to rig the media in his favour. One senior press journalist even appeared on Newsnight last night to claim that Corbyn wanted to put ‘placemen’ into the BBC – at which point irony meters across the UK exploded, because that’s exactly what the Tories have done since 2010.
Corbyn didn’t only take questions from journalists. He took a number of them from members of the public in attendance, as well as participating in an extensive ‘Q&A’ with actor Maxine Peake. And one part of that Q&A hasn’t been much featured on even friendly independent news sites.
The telling and moving segment of the Q&A came when Corbyn was asked about his experience of mainstream media attacks since he became Labour leader – and he responded with dignity and understatement, describing a ceaseless campaign of smears against him as the
papers being somewhat unkind about me
before going on to make a steadfast defence of the need for journalists in a ‘vibrant democracy’ and to pay tribute to journalists who have risked and even lost their lives in the pursuit of truth.
But after years of smears, when asked what he thinks it’s most important for the mainstream journalists to do now, his answer – as it has consistently been throughout his leadership – was all about others and their needs.
About the many – not him:
No self-pity. No drama – in stark contrast to the behaviour of some Labour MPs who have suffered far less for far more cause.
Just, as ever, a self-deprecating and completely authentic concern for others – especially those left vulnerable and deprived by our broken economic system and our skewed, dysfunctional mainstream media landscape.
For the poor and for our children.
If ever a lesson is needed in why the UK needs Corbyn in Downing Street – and why the Establishment is so desperate to stop him – this provides it.
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