Social media is abuzz today with the confirmed news that the Tory government used public money to pay a company staffed by former military intelligence officers to conduct online smear campaigns against the leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, in what it laughably termed the ‘Integrity Initiative’:
It is a huge democratic and constitutional scandal – as well as confirmation of what Labour supporters have known all along: the Establishment is coordinating smears in desperation to undermine the Labour Party and its leader.
Such a scandal, in a genuinely democratic society with a genuinely free media, should be headline news – in fact, not merely headline news but the kind that makes governments fall and generates rolling coverage as the media’s talking heads and experts pore over every detail, cutting away occasionally for footage of the latest government minister being led away in handcuffs.
Here are the BBC News channel’s half-hourly headlines:
Not a single mention. Old news gets recycled and there’s room for opinion and trivia, so it’s not like the news agenda was brimming over with other breaking items.
But not a single word about the fact that the UK’s government misappropriated taxpayers’ money to pay former intelligence officers to conduct a clandestine operation against the leader of the UK’s main opposition party and likely next Prime Minister.
Labour MP Chris Williamson’s parliamentary written question led to the exposure of the scandal:
He told the SKWAWKBOX:
This is an enormous democratic scandal and political dynamite. Of course, the left has been able to intuit all along that this has been happening, but now it’s confirmed – and it’s tempting to just be appalled rather than shocked, because we’re cynical about the behaviour of this government.
But we should be shocked, because we’re told we live in a democracy – and if £2 million is known about, how much else has gone over the years on similar misuses?
It’s utterly unacceptable – and we should be just as shocked that most of the mainstream media are not covering it. What are they there for? This shows again how essential the alternative media and social media are – without them, the vast majority of us wouldn’t find out about it this and similar scandals.
The revelation of the government’s abuse both of public funds and of democracy manages to be shocking even while being entirely unsurprising.
But it’s the silence of the BBC and many other media outlets that piles scandal on top of scandal – and puts beyond reasonable doubt that the Establishment’s political and media arms collude to obscure or minimise the impact of the government’s corruption, incompetence and dishonesty.
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