A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad – Albert Camus
Two events came to my attention over the weekend which would appear to be another example of certain peoples insistence that the only messages or news to be heard are the ones published in the Guardian or The Socialist Worker.
The first was that on Sunday Marine le Pen, leader of the French National Front party, was interviewed on the Marr Show. The reaction from some quarters was as predictable as ever.
Accusations of fostering bigotry was thrown at the BBC for daring to interview her, first at all, and then mainly due to the fact the interview was taking place on remembrance Sunday. Many portraying it as an insult to those that laid down their lives fighting fascism.
Because of course, everybody the left disagrees with is a fascist xenoislamaphobist.
Marine Le Pen is the head of a party that gained 28% of the nationwide vote in December. Marine Le Pen is second favourite to win the upcoming elections in France 2017. Marine Le Pen has a bloody good chance of being the next French president. One would assume that under any pretence of impartiality and responsible reporting, it prudent that she be given some kind of media coverage.
Apparently not. Not because she is a racist, not because she is a bigot, not because she is a fascist. These are the labels that the left love to throw around at anyone or anything that they don’t agree with. Unfortunately for them, we are all becoming a bit bored of it all.
The actual reason for demanding Le Pen be sidelined, is simply that they don’t want any views except their own “acceptable” ones to be aired. All other viewpoints need to be shut down, not debated. Debating is too difficult.
Despite the clamour The BBC did press ahead with the interview, but not before Marr gave a speech before hand, stating:
‘Now I know this morning some people are offended and upset that I have been to interview Marine Le Pen, and that we are showing this interview on Remembrance Sunday. I understand that but I would say this – Le Pen could, under some circumstances, become the next French president in the spring. This week, in the immediate aftermath of the Trump victory, she has declared that the whole world has changed and that her brand of politics is on the march. What does that mean?
‘In the end we are a news programme and I don’t think the best way to honour the fallen is to fail to report on the next big challenge to Western security.’ – Andrew Marr
Because of course making sure people are not offended and upset is the main goal of the BBC. It certainly isn’t giving a fair and balanced view of the current political landscape. Especially when she is the “next big challenge to Western society”. Give me a bloody break.
I have said it before and will reiterate it again. The lefts insistence that all voices that do not chime with their own need to be silenced, is one of the reasons for the surge in right wing politics across the globe.
If you disagree with her politics surely it is better to let her speak, and then challenge her on those view points. Scrutinise and offer a decent alternative. Not just shut down any and all discussion by repeating “racist” and “fascist” over and over? Surely that seems like the better plan? Maybe I’m hoping for too much.
The second thing that came to my attention is an ongoing campaign that has gained a lot of traction over the last week.”Stop Funding Hate” is a campaign that is aiming to starve certain right wing newspapers of commercial revenue by lobbying prominent advertisers to stop being so.
They have managed to gain their first scalp in the guise of Lego ending their “partnership” with the Daily Mail. Not too much of a scalp really, seen as Lego have only spent less than £2,500 on advertising with the DM over the last two years, but according to the BBC and Guardian its big news and the point is that the intent is there.
There is actually an alternative angle to this campaign which I could get behind. If the campaign focused on inaccurate sensationalist reporting, of which the likes of the Sun, Daily Mail and Express are the main offenders I could certainly see the merit – as long as it was a campaign to lobby changes in conduct and penalties for breaching it. Not attempts to influence companies marketing spend just because you don’t like what the papers write about.
A campaign to increase the penalties for the press for publishing clearly false reports, would have some real benefit. Of course that would need to count for all of the press.
However this campaign is one aimed at particular news outlets, just because they report on stories the campaign organisers don’t agree with. The campaign ties in the reporting of uncontrolled immigration, incidents at Calais and the faults of the EU in with “hate”. I would just call it reporting the news. We could just as well do a campaign against The Independent and Guardian for not reporting on these stories. “Stop Funding Ignorance we could call it.
The people that are supporting the complete blackout on reporting of Le Pen are the same people supporting the Stop Funding Hate campaign, slightly different purposes, for exactly the same reasons.
They would rather the world centred around a controlled narrative that only chimes with their accepted world view. That anyone who differs from their politcal or moralistic viewpoint shouldn’t get the time of day. If recent events have taught us anything, its that this attitude just wont wash. Surprisingly, people don’t want to live in the actual incarnation of 1984.
If people want to tackle these areas that they see as peddling hate, they need to set out their stall and argue the other side. They need to get on a platform and make their case, not try and silence everyone and everything by hurling labels – that just isn’t going to work anymore.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go and return some Lego I bought for the boys Xmas presents.