Mainstream papers are stuck in a groupthink bubble of their own making — which is why voices like ours are so important, writes Ben Chacko
AS WE enter another general election campaign it will be obvious to all that media coverage of the different parties isn’t fair.
Most of Britain’s biggest newspapers are owned by a handful of super-rich white men — most infamously US-based tycoon Rupert Murdoch, whose bid for ever greater control of the news that we are allowed to hear is assessed in a special Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom pullout in today’s paper.
A free press is supposed to hold power to account, but a press owned by the likes of Murdoch, the mysterious Barclay brothers, Lord Rothermere and fat cat pornographer Richard Desmond is more interested in protecting the wealth and privilege of people like themselves.
The same applies to broadcasters — even the publicly owned BBC, where an ingrained prejudice against anything that threatens the status quo has resulted in Labour’s socialist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, being constantly belittled, misrepresented or slandered on our TV screens.
Some say those of us who want to change the world should avoid the press altogether and use new social media techniques to communicate our ideas — and there’s no doubt this is an impressive and effective tool.
But social media audiences can be self-selecting, creating online echo-chambers which can dupe us into thinking we’re making more progress than we really are.
That’s not to mention the frequent difficulty of assessing how reliable the information we see on social media is.
Not that what we see in the mainstream media can be counted on either, in a world which has lived through Blair’s dodgy dossier on Iraqi WMD and a host of more recent media-concocted scandals.
Socialists need to use every weapon at our disposal to counter the overwhelming advantages possessed by an Establishment which will always have “lawyers, guns and money” at its service.
Part of that means having our own media. That’s where the Morning Star comes in.
Founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, then the paper of the Communist Party, it’s been a co-operative since the 1940s and now answers to its owners — not some offshore billionaire in our case, but thousands of ordinary readers who own equal shares and elect its management committee.
We’re also the daily paper of the labour movement. We have nine national trade unions and one trade union region represented on the committee, accounting for a majority of Britain’s organised workers.
We publish six days a week, bringing you the stories the other press won’t — the struggles, strikes and victories of working people, the misery created by a system designed to maximise profit for the bosses, the views and debates of our movement and the culture and history of our class — including a uniquely class, gender and raceaware sports section edited by our award-winning sports editor Kadeem Simmonds, the first black sports editor of a national paper.
We’re the only English-language socialist daily in the world and the only British daily to support Jeremy Corbyn — there’s no other paper like the Morning Star, and we think it’s needed more than ever in the cruel new Britain the Tories are set on building.
But life for a little title like us is a constant struggle to survive in an industry where many papers are going to the wall.
We’ve increased our readership over the last two years, but not by enough to keep the wolf from the door and we really need more people buying us daily — either in print form from your newsagent or supermarket or by subscribing to our e-edition, which includes an app to let you read us on your mobile phone (visit morningstaronline.co.uk/subscribe to find out more).
The Morning Star is constantly evolving and on these pages we’ll tell you a bit about that — and how you can help!