Prominent journalist and self-proclaimed democratic socialist Owen Jones recently wrote a stunning confession letter admitting crimes against journalism, published by the Guardian under the title ‘We can no longer pretend the British press is impartial’.
According to Jones, the media does not act as an ‘impartial disseminator of news and information’, but is instead ‘a highly sophisticated and aggressive form of political campaigning and lobbying’. He is presumably referring to some of his own articles, such as ‘Jeremy Corbyn has caused a sensation – he would make a fine prime minister’, in which Jones – despite the loss of the Labour party at the general election – described the event as ‘one of the most sensational political upsets of our time’, before calling the victor ‘a wretched dishonest excuse of a politician’.
Jones also gives a bold toot on his whistle, revealing that ‘the British commentariat is by and large a cartel: its members are mostly there because of their views, their backgrounds, and – to varying degrees – their connections.’ He explains: ‘our backgrounds inevitably play an important role in forming our worldviews, determining our priorities and creating our blind spots’, which seems to be a reference to the fact that his parents met through their membership of the Militant Tendency – a Trotskyist group in the Labour party – which would explain his fetish for all things socialist.
Jones’ genius truly shines through in this article, as his exquisite command of irony as a literary tool is revealed. Not content with merely confessing his crimes, he proceeds to exhibit his red-tinted glasses in action: he calls out the Sun, Telegraph, Times, Daily Mail and Daily Express for ‘promoting the partisan interests of the Conservative party’, whilst he simultaneously promotes the partisan interests of his beloved Labour party, condemning right-wing outlets for merely serving ‘rich moguls’ whilst remaining chillingly silent about left-wing outlets such as Daily Mirror and Guardian, which – coincidentally of course – endorsed the Labour party in the 2017 election.
Jones’ partisanship can also be found in a secondary objective of his article: helping his comrade Jeremy Corbyn out with that watertight plan to dramatically move the centre of British politics to the left by merely saying it has. Jones’ contribution to the cause is his authoritative assertion that ‘the country is more leftwing than its press’ and demanding the mainstream press to ‘cater for the growing demand for dissenting views – or be challenged by new media outlets that do.’
This may be a tough task, however, for Jones and Corbyn, with the victories for the Leave campaign in 2016 and the Conservatives in the 2017 general election suggesting the centre is definitively to the right of them. But maybe, if we pray really hard, more of Jones’ terrifying threats might eventually cause those right-wing rags to capitulate and we can all swim in an ocean of red forever more.