For those who have followed either of us the last ten years or so, you’ll know that we’ve been featured in a fair amount of press for our political activism and community initiatives.
Jane’s work was quoted by The Independent, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal, and she has been interviewed by BBC radio, while Jay has been a regular guest on BBC radio and was a columnist for a Johnston Press newspaper, to name a few examples.
We’ve decided to stop doing so.
Establishment media – be it state-sponsored or corporate-controlled – has become a major obstacle to the progress of our communities and democracy itself. We have both blogged for years about the role of establishment media in providing propaganda for capitalists, and the way it has actively scuppered social movements in part due to the disproportionately unfavourable coverage given to the groups and parties representing such movements.
The turning point was at the Chris Williamson event in Sheffield – where an entire room of Labour activists was demonised and threatened with expulsion from the party – when we were photographed and then subjected to gaslighting so badly that Jane’s mental health has been deeply affected and Jay felt the need to write about the entire experience, and meanwhile ITV News were contacting us asking us for an interview.
Given the quite universal approach by establishment media – to smear pro-Palestine campaigners critical of Israeli apartheid, by tarring them with the same brush as vile anti-Semites – we most certainly dodged a bullet by refusing to speak to ITV News, and incredibly we almost considered doing it, naively wondering for a moment if our opposing viewpoint to the smear campaign would raise awareness about the witch-hunt against pro-Palestine “Corbynistas” (quite ironic too, given Jeremy Corbyn’s own history of fighting fascism and anti-Semitism). Fortunately, we came to our senses quickly enough, and realised that no matter what we said in such an interview, no matter how quickly and articulately we constructed our sentences to get across our points, ultimately we would be a piece of footage in a gigantic barrage of media narratives to the contrary – even worse, by giving such an interview, we’d be legitimising such establishment media’s absurd claims to be “balanced” in their coverage, which of course is a complete lie due to the establishment interests they serve.
As a result of that, we realised we should never speak to establishment media ever again. Because no matter how much we want anything highlighted or promoted, it will never be worth it – for whatever amount of exposure you gain, you’re paying for it by continuing to provide such media with stories to fill their full function, which is to represent the establishment itself, whether it be lords or oligarchs or big business bosses in general; there is a capitalist class and they’re waging war on the rest of us. The way to fight back isn’t to continue to consume this media, any more than it is to contribute to this media. We have to “be the change,” as we’ve said before, and that means a complete boycott of this media.
This is also why we’ve committed to helping develop SilenceBreaker Media as a counter to establishment media. With the decline of newspapers and television programming in an internet age where we can pick and choose what media sources we utilise and when we consume them, we really have little excuse not to better inform ourselves via the plethora of sources out there. We’re hoping SilenceBreaker Media will play its part.