Paper tigers

Nesrine Malik in The Guardian on fearmongering and culture wars:

It is about order. The threats to order are always present, and always held at bay, just barely, by conservative leaders valiantly fighting the imminent deluge. This authoritarian populist strategy is founded on an essential fiction: the pretence of powerlessness among politicians, and their voters, who are very much in charge. The weak and the marginalised, and especially their fragile movements for racial and economic equality, are cast as a terrifying force, influential and deeply embedded – a shadow regime that will bloom into tyranny the instant the Democrats are elected.

In Britain, we watch this American political horror from behind our fingers, with the bewildered bemusement of a country far from this madness. But we are there too. The right in the UK now is following the same playbook.

Malik focuses on the fictional Black Lives Matter ban on singing Land of Hope and Glory, entirely invented by the Murdoch press. There are many more, all of them designed to distract you from the incompetence and corruption of the people running the show.

Things are bad now, and they’re going to get worse: we’re apparently going to get not one but two new broadcasters who hope to bring Fox News-style partisan reporting to the UK in order to combat the supposed lefty wokeness of the BBC.

Journalist Mic Wright:

While Sky News has become more pluralist and delivered higher quality output since it slipped the yolk of Murdoch, these new outfits will likely push the impartiality rules to their very limits, enabled by a government that looks certain to abolish those restrictions altogether for commercial channels, while keeping the BBC firmly leashed to them.

…Like Times Radio, TalkRadio, and LBC, the new UK Fox News-style channels will succeed. Not simply on a ratings level — that matters less — but by pushing the overall discourse in the direction of their right-wing owners and forcing BBC News into ever more difficult corners.

In the culture war — constructed whole cloth by the right-wing news operators and their associates in the think-tanks — the BBC has a pop-gun and the right-wing broadcasters and newspapers have heavy artillery.



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