The go-to correspondent for reports from the SJW safe space, Sam Hooper, recently published his take on the “post-truth/post-fact” idiom which the political and media establishments in the UK and the USA have pushed since the pro-Brexit referendum victory in Britain and the election of Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, across the Atlantic. The venerable Pete North offers his thoughts on the matter here.
For my part, I find it extraordinary to see politicians and pundits, who still struggle to distinguish between the Single Market and the EU Customs Union, scolding members of the public and the alternative media for challenging the dominance of the increasingly lazy and feckless legacy media old-guard. In spite of being written out of the story (in Britain, in particular), bloggers, YouTubers and other grass roots campaigners undoubtedly played a major role (maybe even a definitive role) in swinging the referendum result towards Brexit.
To that end, this short clip of James O’Brien speaking on LBC distils the deadly combination of arrogance and ignorance which has come to define what some people still mistakenly refer to as the “mainstream” media. O’Brien begins, “What is it, the ten-minute hate? The three-minute hate? What is it in Nineteen Eighty-Four?”
Pause for just a moment. The fact that O’Brien cannot even recall that Orwell’s Oceania has a daily two-minute hate is a tad—I was tempted to say, “ironic”, but I think I shall settle on pathetic. James, if you’re going to lecture other people about publishing inaccurate content it helps if you do some research and get your facts right. Onward.
The amazing thing about Nineteen Eighty-Four is that Orwell presumed that when the totalitarian era began—and he, of course, saw the beginnings of it in Stalin’s Russia—he presumed that the media which just pumps out lies to a completely complacent public, he presumed that media would be built by the government.
At this point, one does begin to wonder if James O’Brien has ever read Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell did not make presumptions about the “totalitarian era” because he did not need to. The book was called, Nineteen Fourty-Eight, until his publisher said that was too controversial. As well as describing Communist tyranny, Nineteen Eighty-Four was a satire on the Hampstead “liberals” and “socialists” Orwell had known and grown to despise; the people of whom Orwell wrote:
Sometimes I look at a Socialist—the intellectual, tract-writing type of Socialist, with his pullover, his fuzzy hair, and his Marxian quotation—and wonder what the devil his motive really is. It is often difficult to believe that it is a love of anybody, especially of the working class, from whom he is of all people the furthest removed.
Back to O’Brien:
He presumed that the manipulative, dishonest media would be created by the manipulative, dishonest politicians. Even George Orwell did not foresee a world in which the population, the punters, the voters would create their own manipulative, dishonest media. Even George Orwell did not foresee how mad things have got in 2016, where an election has been pretty much decided on the other side of the Atlantic, and arguably a referendum has been decided here, based on absolute lies, disseminated by man-made media not government-made media. It was not the state-sponsored, if you will, media that pumped out nonsense.
The polite term for what O’Brien is doing here is “selection bias”. As much as the Vote Leave campaign told tedious, needless and destructive lies, which we in The Leave Alliance called out at every turn and at considerable volume throughout the referendum campaign, the state-supported Remain campaign was no better.
One of the most oft-repeated lies of the Remain campaign was that Norway, a country outside the EU yet inside the Single Market, has “no say” over Single Market rules. This assertion was repeated ad nauseum on BSE literature, on the BBC and by no less a figure than the Prime Minister when speaking to the House of Commons. The essence of the lie is in the use of the word “no”, which denotes a nullity, whereas the fact of the matter is that Norway is an active participant in what is known as the “decision-shaping” process and has full self-representation on global standards-setting bodies.
While the infamous £350 million lie was called out on so many occasions very few people could have been in any doubt that the figure was at best disputed, the “no say” lie, which was repeated with almost equal frequency by the Remainers, was never scrutinised by the BBC or even the government-backed Vote Leave campaign.
There is a phrase among the revolutionaries in the world of Winston Smith, “If there is hope, it lies in the proles”. Citizen-led media is ultimately the only kind that is worthwhile. If the legacy media absents itself from that role, other people will take over.
Once people start making their own media, the next thing you know they’ll be making their own government; of the people, by the people and for the people.