Andrew Sparrow and Claire Phipps have realised the tide of public opinion is turning against mainstream media outlets like ITV and BBC News – and even their own newspaper, The Guardian.
In their coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech today, they mention his Q&A with reporters at the end…
…Which takes us on to the way the journalists were treated at the event, the booing after ITV’s Chris Ship asked a question about the claim that Corbyn’s campaigning has been half-hearted and the hissing at the very mention of the name Laura Kuenssberg. This has happened before, and not just at Labour events, and compared to the hazards some reporters face in the course of their work, it is trivial. But it is also indicative of a growing tendency to demonise the media which ought to be worrying if people are still reliant on them (us) to inform the public.
Let’s look at what happened (all from the Graun‘s live reports):
Q: [From ITV’s Chris Ship] If Labour voters are key to winning the referendum, why do only half of them know the Labour party supports Remain. And can you say hand on heart you have campaigned as hard as you can for Remain?
Corbyn says it is partly down to the media, and how they report the Labour party.
This gets a loud cheer from the Labour activists in the audience.
He says he has done a great deal of campaigning. There are no no-go areas for his campaign, he says. He says come the vote no one will be in any doubt what Labour’s views are.
Corbyn is banging his drum loudly about media misrepresentation of Labour. See this report, for example.
Moving on to Ms Kuenssberg:
What else would she expect? Her news reports have been pilloried for gross bias towards the Conservative Party. Is it really coincidence that there were apparently no left-wing commentators in her hour-long analysis of the EU referendum, broadcast by the BBC earlier this week?
It seems clear that the mainstream media, riddled with right-wing influence, is not carrying out its function to an acceptable standard.
But are the social media ready to take over?
This Writer doesn’t think so – and the answer is down to money.
The mainstream media have it and the social media do not.
This means sites like Vox Political cannot cover anything like as much national and international news, simply in the realm of politics, let alone anything else.
And there is so much that deserves better coverage.
Local news reporting is a disaster area at the moment. Mainstream media moguls have been cutting costs for years, as the Internet has eaten into their profits, meaning most local reporters have no time for investigative work and eke out their living recycling press releases.
There is no social media alternative because it would have to be funded by advertising and the returns simply aren’t enough while people think the mainstream is the most cost-effective.
(It isn’t; print press adverts are charged at rates that have no bearing on the results they earn, while social media – Internet – advertising is charged according to the number of people who see the advert, and the number who click-through to the advertiser’s site.)
The tide is turning, though.
In response to inquiries, I intend to launch self-hosted advertising on Vox Political, meaning people will be able to place advertisements directly with the site, rather than going through a third-party organisation like Google AdSense. If you want to be part of that, get in touch via the Comment column and mark your words “Advertising Inquiry”.
It won’t be enough to allow me to expand the site – at least, not initially. But it will help.
And it’s a step towards ending the mainstream stranglehold on public information.
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