Sunday, 4 August 2019

Brexit: British media for dummies

For no particular reason, save for my own entertainment, I thought it worth recapping on where we stand with the perpetual decline of UK media - with particular focus on Brexit. So in no particular order:

The Spectator

If you want to know what the Tory bubble is thinking (using the term loosely) then you need to read the Spectator. If you don't then there is no reason to read it at all, ever. It's the Tory court circular.

People who read the Spectator mainly get their views from The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph and nowhere else. Occasionally there's a decent essay on conservative fundamentals but mostly it's an establishment rag that will go to bat for the incumbent Tory power whoever they are, but especially so for Boris Johnson.

Fundamentally it subscribes to all the classic Tory nonsense up to and including a no deal Brexit but occasionally allows self-important dickheads like James Kirkup column inches to give it an air of respectable impartiality. But essentially, it's a propaganda rag that exists to tell Tories what they want to hear. Always was, always will be.

The Daily Express

Generally read by the Ukip fraternity and the Tory right membership. It is pure propaganda. It has constructed a worldview where the EU is essentially the Fourth Reich, it's out to get us, but Britain holds all the cards. It's a daily paranoid delusion. As a rule, if the Daily Express is reporting it then it either isn't true or is so badly misrepresented that one may as well disregard it. I habitually ignore it and you should too. It's not a vessel for anyone with an interest in what is actually happening.

The Guardian

Essentially the bible of the snobby progressive middle class. Famous for its highly ridiculous commentary written by metropolitan leftists with their heads so far up their backsides they can taste their own tonsils. News wise, it actually does a pretty good job of reportage but it's wise not to trust it entirely in that they've learned the story of the boy who cried wolf; If you lie sparingly, you can get away with it.

The Independent

Essentially a left wing, pro-EU version of the Daily Express. If they're reporting it then it probably isn't true. Like the Guardian they still make an attempt at being a serious newspaper and it's run by the same sort of demented cosmopolitan leftists, but not actually as bright as the folks at The Guardian so when they do plant a lie inside the truth it's immediately obvious to anyone who isn't as mental as they are.

The Daily Telegraph

The DT used to be a serious newspaper but only just. Since 2006 it's been on a slow decline to become a broadsheet version of the Daily Express, designed largely to feed the Tory right their own opinions back to them. It's more subtle in its derangement than the Daily Express but it would still have us believe that the EU's collapse is imminent and virtually every week they retail a story on how the Euro is about to implode in the vague hope that one day they will be right.

In recent years it has become less relevant to the national discourse by way of going behind a paywall much like The Times. The Telegraph is so predictable, though, that one need not part with money to hazard a guess what it's saying about any particular issue. Whatever it is, it's the EU's fault and hooray for Boris Johnson.

The Times

The Times is still cashing in on its legacy prestige and its long standing status as a newspaper of record. Unlike the Telegraph it does not specialise in any particular brand of idiocy. It will publish virtually anything so long as the author has a degree of establishment prestige or a fancy title. That's their sole marker of quality. Now behind a paywall, it is only occasionally relevant to the national discourse when a minister or prime minister gives it exclusive access, so that we have to part with money to know what our politicians intend on doing to us. These articles really should be free to view but this is Britain, not a democracy.

The Daily Mail

By far the most read British news vessel - which is expert at what it does; generating clickbait and turning it into revenue. For this reason I choose to ignore it to the point where I even forget it exists. Headlines usually say the exact opposite of the article but they'll say virtually anything that panders to the idea that Britain is being taken over by Muslims and London is turning into Soweto while a decadent PC establishment allows foreigners to rape and murder with impunity. It works because it's partially true. A daily dose of hate bait gets the blood pumping.

The Sun

Tits and arses but more arses than tits these days. Influential yes, but substantially less influential than the left imagines. They still think our exposure to Sun front pages on supermarket and garage forecourts warps our tiny little brains and that's why we vote for the Tories and Brexit. That they think this is actually why we vote for Tories - and Brexit.

The Mirror

Brexit and all things evil that happen in the world a result of Tory austerity. Millions upon millions of Brits are living in poverty and destitution and Tories wake up in the morning dreaming of new ways to stick it to disabled people on benefits. It's a view I suppose. Quite a popular one with Corbynites. Nobody serious pays any attention to The Mirror.

The Financial Times

The FT is essentially the mouthpiece of what is described as "neoliberal capitalism" therefore it is mouthpiece of the EU - which can do no wrong in their eyes. I stopped reading it when I noticed their penchant for plagiarism and inability to conceptualise a world view other than their own. Very occasionally they turn up something useful but I won't read or retweet on principle. I will look for the blog they nicked it off. 

The Economist

Progressive left wing dribble which is neither written by or read by economists. Mostly run by teenagers. Were it not a legacy title it would have vanished years ago.

The New Statesman

Basically a Blairite version of The Speccie. Essentially TNS is to the Graun what the Speccie is to the Telegraph. Lots of progressive forelock tugging over Brexit. Of no real value.

Spiked Online

Once a revolutionary communist outfit, and despised by just about everyone on the contemporary left, Spiked has long been a contrarian rabble-rousing rag run mainly for the greater glory of its editor. Having been attention starved for so long it has now become a paid up member of the Tory disinformation network, salivating for a job destroying no deal Brexit. Essentially written by children for children.


Accused of bias by both sides so it must be doing something right yeah? No. Their idea of balance is to pit equally stupid talking heads from each extreme of the debate against each other, but where Brexit is concerned they use a remainer from the Institute of Well Spoken Telegenic Wonks and a leaver conforming to the Horace McBigot, cobwebbed colonial tory stereotype.

But supposing we looked past that and wrote it off as inherent institutional cosmopolitan bias, the greater sin of the BBC is being generally crap at what it does. How well I remember in the early days of the referendum the BBC sending Carolyn Quinn off on a jetplane to do a bit on Greenland's departure from the EEC as though that could tell us anything whatsoever about the Brexit process. That was then followed by a lamentably poor examination of the Norway Option by Jonty Bloom, trotting out all the usual bilge about "fax democracy". If these people are there to inform us, they are having a laugh. Course, I could write volumes on the failure of the BBC but we'd be here all week.

Sky News

If there is a distinction between the crapness of the BBC and Sky News I don't see it. They are essentially the same thing and its personnel are infinitely interchangeable. Its only apparent merit is that it isn't the BBC, which ought to count for something but it doesn't.

Channel 4 News

Credit where credit's due. If you are going to be an unhinged leftist news vessel you might as well go all the way out -and this they have done with distinction. Take all the worst traits of the Guardian, Independent and Mirror and roll them up with an additional dose of bile and you have Channel 4 News. Sometimes I think it exists only so that the BBC can point to it as an example of what left wing bias actually looks like.


British media is crap. If any of these vessels were post-internet startups they would not last six months and many of them would be dead already were it not for an injection of private cash to keep them pumping out agenda driven bilge. You are no better informed for reading any of them and they would not be missed were they no longer a thing since most of their actual news content is rehashed agency copy and Private Eye might be the last remaining vessel doing any serious journalism. For what that's worth.

We now live in an age where much of the primary material is already available to us without the legacy media adding their own ignorant spin, and in many cases the legacy media creating white noise around difficult issues actually clouds our collective understanding - especially so when some like The Telegraph, Express and Spectator are seeking to deliberately misinform.

Though our political class has utterly failed us, resulting in Boris Johnson as PM and a no deal Brexit on the cards, British media has also played a unique part in our downfall by way of it being incapable of quality journalism or treating news consumers as adults. Especially so the BBC which still, depressingly, dominates much of the national debate.

When it comes to British media there are really only two approaches. Either read all of it and draw your own conclusions or read none of it and take a wild guess. Either way, you'll be closer to the truth than staying loyal to any of them. 

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