Why I Didn’t Buy ‘Private Eye’ Yesterday | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

'Eye' editor Ian Hislop. Has he been spending too much time around the kind of person standing next to him here? [Image: Wingspan Productions Ltd.]

‘Eye’ editor Ian Hislop. Has he been spending too much time around the kind of person standing next to him here? [Image: Wingspan Productions Ltd.]

The Beast is right – Private Eye is hopelessly biased against Jeremy Corbyn.

Personally, though, This Writer enjoys the fact that – knowing all about the magazine’s editorial bent – Mr Corbyn chose to be photographed reading it while sitting on the floor of that Virgin Train. What a mixed message that sends out!

The anti-Corbyn slant really is unreadable, and young Mr Hislop might have paused to consider whether it is wise, as it calls into question the validity of other, weightier, articles within the magazine. If he’s determined to be wrong about Corbyn, why can’t he be wrong about dodgy dealings at Sports Direct?

Many of those weightier articles have – as the Beast points out – exposed activities that Mr Corbyn opposes, so it is contradictory to attack him as well, especially with no balancing reportage on his opponents in the Labour Party and beyond.

It would be a shame if I were to have to drop it, as the serious articles offer – or at least, claim to offer – useful insight into the hidden dealings at the black heart of Britain.

But what are we to do, if this rag continues to reject its duties in favour of dogma?

I regularly buy Private Eye, but for the first time in a very long while, I didn’t buy it. I’ve put up a couple of pieces here talking about the very pronounced anti-Corbyn bias there is in the magazine. The ‘In The Back’ section, and its predecessor, ‘Footnotes’, before that exposed the privatisation of the NHS by the Tories and Blair, along with the sell-off of the buildings owned by the Tax Office, the transformation of the schools into increasingly expensive academies and the privatisation of the Royal Mail. The magazine has also attacked the Work Capability Tests, benefit sanctions and workfare. This has all been excellent, but I’ve found this outweighed in recent weeks by the space it gives the Blairites to smear the Labour leader, with no attack on them. There’s a regular strip, ‘Focus on Fact’, which is supposed to expose the dirty dealings of Corbyn and his supporters. This mostly seems to be a rehash of events 30 years or so ago in the 1980s. There have also been pieces attacking The Canary, and smearing the various YouTubers, who didn’t buy Angela Eagle’s lie about the Corbynists throwing a brick through her constituency office window. The Eye attacked them as ‘conspiracy theorists’.

This fortnight’s issue had on its cover a piece about ‘Traingate’, with a headline about Corbyn lying. Now I might be wrong, and the magazine could have been making a critical comment instead about how Corbyn was maligned by the papers yet again, when they reported Virgin Trains’ claim that there were spaces available for him to sit. But I didn’t think so at the time. It looked to me like another in the magazine’s long list of smears. And so I didn’t buy it. I spent part of the money I’d saved instead on a big bar of chocolate. And very nice that tasted too.

Source: Why I Didn’t Buy ‘Private Eye’ Yesterday | Beastrabban\’s Weblog


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12 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Buy ‘Private Eye’ Yesterday | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

  1. rupertrlmitchell

    When the Tories try to privatize “our” national assets I consider this to be tantamount to stealing “our” assets as the real reason for wanting to privatize them is to give them to their Tory pals in order to make them even richer at our expense. Whenever has a privatized industry become more accessible to the general public at a price people can afford?


    I couldn’t agree more: I get PE on subscription (I used to say “prescription” – as it was a refreshing antidote to the status quo of mainstream media) but have been hugely turned off by their nonsensical antipathy to Corbyn, dredging up non-stories from 30 years ago, as though that should inform current positions. A bit like if Nelson Mandela had been continually maligned for having been a terrorist, instead of one of the 20th century’s greatest statesmen.

    The most annoying thing is, though: they are missing / ignoring the manifest corruption of the PLP, the NEC, the gerrymandering, etc. If (flying pig time) Corbyn fails to be re-elected look out for the next few issues when they miraculously discover all of the skulduggery of the Smith campaign.

  3. Florence

    This weeks was my last purchase. The inside section on the revolving doors between politicians and commerce is in fact a good example of what they have done very well. But it’s the satire section that has lost it’s way, and has become little more than prime establishment Corbyn spite dross. Totally agree, as long as it has lost the plot, I won’t be buying it anymore. I will miss the crossword though.

  4. Roy Beiley

    Oh no! Is Hislop a covert Tory posing as an anti-Establishment oik? Wondered why BBC allows HIGFY to be broadcast. Speaks volumes.

  5. Joan Edington

    I’ve been thinking the same for some time now. The Eye seems to have gone steadily downhill since Paul Foot died. Perhaps he was able to rein in the pompous, public-school Hislop. I find I skim most of the articles these days rather than reading every word, as I used to do. It is all cartoons, supercilious music, book and TV reviews with a spattering of indignant letters. Their attitude towards Corbyn is worse than the BBC’s and reminds me of their scathing opinions of the SNP after the 2015 election It was, in fact, similar to your own attitude after the 2014 referendum, so I don’t suppose you would have referred to the magazine as a rag then.

      1. Joan Edington

        “But what are we to do, if this rag continues to reject its duties in favour of dogma?”
        Your words above those of The Beast.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I must have been having a “senior moment” when I wrote my last response.
        If it acts like a rag, it can expect to be called one.

  6. Alan Crerar

    You took a while to decide that! Hislop is the Establishment’s court jester. If you doubt this has been going on since long before we’d ever heard of Corbyn, go and look at your backnumbers and count the anti-Scottish Independence pieces. There were plenty of opportunites to expose the MSM’s lies and double standards without being ‘for’ Scottish Indy, but there were none as far as I know (because I stopped buying it early on – enough was enough). Peter Cook would never have let the newspapers get away with their venal behaviour, Unionist or not.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I haven’t taken any time to decide anything about it! The piece was written by someone else.
      I still buy the Eye because – crass ‘satirical’ pieces or no, it carries important and serious work elsewhere.

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