Corbyn Pours More Fuel On His Fire Of Media Hatred

Jeremy Corbyn could never be accused of courting the press. From the moment he became Leader of the Labour Party, seeing him walk away from cameras and refusing to speak to journalists was a common occurrence. It's his right, of course, but anyone with an ounce of media savviness knows it makes a politician look shifty and evasive.

Yesterday, in his speech to the Labour Party conference, he took another swipe at the media, claiming press freedom is used to spread "lies and half-truths". His remedy was to encourage left-wing activists to "challenge the propaganda" and take to social media and oppose the news coming from billionaires. The irony of this inevitably meaning posting articles on Facebook, owned by billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, appeared to be lost on the applauding crowd.

John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor, has similarly attacked the press at the conference, as had union leader Len McClusky. To be blunt, it was open season on the media from a party that feels the press, particularly The Daily Mail and The Sun, give Labour and its leader too hard a time.

One only has to think back a month or so to remember Jeremy Corbyn setting out plans for how to deal with the power of Facebook and Google. Although his antidote to the national press is to rely on activists using sites owned by the US tech giants, he suggested they need to be held back by a new broadcaster funded by the public, perhaps with an online streaming service to take on Netflix. Yes, that's right -- Jeremy Corbyn is suggesting something we already have in the BBC and iPlayer is launched. It beggars belief.

As for the stories that get Corbyn so hot under the collar, I don't think anyone would say the UK press always gets it right. I remember the attack on the Milliband brothers (Ed was previously Labour leader) over their father's views expressed decades ago was one where The Daily Mail got it particularly wrong. There is history between some parts of the media and the Labour Party.

However, one only has to think of the stories surrounding Corbyn attending a ceremony at a Muslim cemetery to realise how he just doesn't get it. Like you, I have no idea who else is buried there, what the point of the ceremony was and whether Corbyn laid a wreath and if so, for what purpose. 

The thing is, Corbyn's rage at the media meant he gave a series of bungled explanations, meaning that he ended up having to admit there was a wreath-laying ceremony on the day, after all. This had two results. First, he just kept giving the story "legs" by giving and withdrawing and adding to explanations. Secondly, it made him look a bit shifty.

Let's add a third result. It demonstrated how his dislike of the media clouds his judgement on how to deal with the press.

This rage and his inability to, dare I say, play the media game, will seriously impact what the public thinks of him, but it only shoots himself further in the foot. The more he has a go at the press, the more petrol is thrown on the fire, and the more the press will oppose him.

Corbyn could really do with taking a leaf out of Tony Blair's book, the deal-maker who even managed to get The Sun to support him as he swept to power. 

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