French left independent media operators Mediapart have a new film out in French cinemas tomorrow titled ‘Who killed public debate?” (translation mine)
As with the UK, only a few people own the French national papers, magazines, and TV stations.
But unlike in Britain, France is capable of hosting a televised discussion to talk about it.
The far right candidate Eric Zemmour is a product of the French media machine in the same way the Daily Express, Mail, Sun, Telegraph, BBC and LBC created Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and ‘Tommy Robinson’.
The big French media owners were recently forced to testify to a parliamentary committee on the highly concentrated state of media ownership in France.
Regardless of how lightly they took their obligations, the billionaire owners all at least turned up.
Why can’t the UK openly discuss media concentration and anti trust issues?
Has every independent group that you might have expected to push for such discussions been infiltrated spycops style?
Or is it a question of funding?
Could it be that Brits are too individualist to be able to come together to discuss the issues which really matter?
Maybe the UK political left is too riven with jealousy and status seeking to produce heavy hitting platforms that permit near real time political discussion?
The Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking and the Daniel Morgan Inquiry were supposed to look into the corruption of the press and the police.
Sadly both inquiries were stymied by the powers that be.
The light that was supposed to demonstrate how these amoral institutions operate was never allowed to shine.
Last week the New York Times Daily podcast did an episode on Joe Rogan.
You can tell from the tone that the hosts are under instruction to trash their rival.
At one point they even declare that as he gets far more hits than they do (Rogan’s is the world’s most popular English language podcast while the NYT’s Daily is second), Rogan shouldn’t be labelled independent compared to the NYT Daily which gets categorised as Mainstream Media ( MSM ) but gets only a fraction of the attention.
The hosts at least acknowledge how many people are involved in making their podcast and how few people make Rogan’s.
If you have a team of fact checkers, lawyers, PR people, scriptwriters, researchers, producers, and editors then of course what you produce will be slick, but will that guarantee that you won’t mislead the public or feel even slightly authentic?
Of course not.
With all those professionals involved you have to water things down to please your advertisers and the powers that be.
How else could you afford that slickness?
Maybe there are viewers out there who are prepared to trade slickness for authenticity. For trust.
There are various independent media researchers and publishers in the UK.
I’ve been part of “the scene” at times.
Actually I suppose there are many UK scenes.
Some of us know each other.
And it’s true that campaigning journalism and pure campaigning often converge.
How else would genuine campaigns get coverage?
Certainly not automatically from MSM.
Turning the public need to be properly informed of things as they happen into a reliable digital information stream is not as easy as it sounds.
The Canary have done it, Byline have done it, Declassified and Novara have done it.
Each focuses on a different demographic and a different set of communicative and political principles.
Open Democracy have also been historically good. Though they have been highly professionalised to the point of doing joint investigations with the Sunday Times.
Joe.co.uk and Private Eye are also worthy of mention, but far higher up the food chain.
Though I rarely watch it, let’s not forget the excellent albeit right wing UK Column
I’m also taking a keen interest in anything by Whitney Webb and Johnny Vedmore.
I was part of Real Media from 2016 to 2018.
We did some good work and collaborated with many campaigners, academics, researchers and other outlets, but we also argued over direction, funding and editorial control – I was pushed out, but the thing still going.
I didn’t feel embedding with Extinction Rebellion was a good idea. They did.
You can’t argue with the people who were pulling the strings.
A lot of other stuff went on but the investors and managers have their motives and nobody else, ie me or the community count.
I’m proud of the work I was involved in, what we achieved as a team, and what I learned.
But where is the energy now?
Where is the scene going?
Have lots of new people entered that I don’t know about?
Am I even conceptualising things in the right way?
Since covid the fracturing of left and right over civil liberties instead of economics has led to the rise of Telegram and other alternative platforms and, in a way, to further balkanisation of the alternative left.
Which means the need for better curation, aggregation, editorialising, and presentation is even greater than ever.
Not because the left needs to be policed or herded.
Because it deserves to be heard in the same way the corporate fascist finance capital media is.
For the sake of balance, I must include the point of view that Joe Rogan is part of Peter Thiel’s epicentre of influence.
Barrett Brown pointed this out last week.
Peter Thiel’s Palantir is a far bigger part of the military surveillance puzzle than the also controversial NSO Pegasus firm and software.
Byline and the Good Law Project have done good work on the Palantir penetration of UK health departments and therefore its access to public money.
Just like NSO, Google, Microsoft, Apple, & Amazon, Palantir will be deeply embedded in the US UK Israel military and police methodologies.
I would have hoped for a wider crowd sourced collaborative ethos re: research into Palantir, but I guess when it comes to investigative journalism, especially when in the public interest, old habits die hard.
Egos exist, and so does blacklisting.
Masonic type in group outgroup behaviour trickles from the top all the way down to the bottom!
I’d love to say I’m above all that, but we live in communities, and groupthink doesn’t suddenly magic itself away.
It is better to take a crash course in collaborative networks & group dynamics before easily threatened networks pre-emptively deplatform you.
Maybe I’ve got off lightly. Be careful what you wish for.
To paraphrase Enoch Powell, whenever the Gods wish to destroy you, they start by driving you mad.