Monday, 31 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn and Press TV

I've written a few times about the phenomenon of western European and American journalists and commentators appearing on the state-run media outlets of autocratic regimes, such as Press TV, RT, CCTV 9, and the like, and the moral hazard inevitably involved in doing so. Whilst I'm willing to accept the protests of those who say that appearing on these channels does not mean that they actually support the regimes that control their editorial content, it really is hard to believe that these people were not guilty of (at minimum) extreme naivety and incuriousness.

It is therefore with very little surprise that I read that (left-wing hopeful for the leadership of the Labour Party) Jeremy Corbyn regularly appeared on Press TV in recent years (he stood in for George Galloway), even after Press TV's activities during the Iranian regimes repression of the Green Revolution caused many to question whether it was appropriate to appear on this channel. To quote one journalist who refused to appear on the channel: "it seems to give legitimacy to a regime that treats its own people like sh*t and spreads poison and violence around the world".

The comments made by him when appearing on the channel that have caused the most controversy (that Bin Laden's death was a "tragedy") are actually defensible - whilst few tears were shed over Bin Laden's demise, it would have been better if he had stood trial. What for me is very difficult to defend (or even comprehend) is how Corbyn could have, in good conscience, appeared on a channel that has previously trumpeted holocaust-denial and defended the execution of people for the 'crime' of being gay, a channel that had previously broadcast the torture-extracted 'confession' of an Iranian human rights activist to working with foreign 'spies' disguised as journalists. This, by itself, should cast doubt as to whether he is at all suited to high office in a democratic country like the UK.

Unfortunately, Jeremy Corbyn's supporters seem totally immune to evidence of his unsuitability as Labour party leader, which is legion, so knowledge of his appearances on Press TV is unlikely to shake their resolve either. I totally agree with Alex Massie that the likely outcome of his selection as party leader (which now seems inevitable) will be a total slaughter at the polls in 2020. However, there is always the risk in politics that some disaster will tip one party out of power and another in, regardless of how suited it is for rule, so there is always the possibility, albeit slim, that this man might one day become the leader of the UK - and that would be a disaster compounded by a disaster.

[EDIT: Interestingly, Jeremy Corbyn has declared at least two payments of up to £5,000 in recent years from Press TV for appearances]


justrecently said...

Personally, I don't find journalists or politicians who work or cooperate with zombie media trustworthy. That said, I have seen quite some of them switching between more or less respected institutions and Iranian or Chinese state broadcasters by now, and it seems that it had become tolerable practice to many.

I doubt that James Cameron or Angela Merkel would ever appear on Press TV, but not because they'd be democrats of great integrity - rather, because it would unsettle their constituencies, and because they have more efficient communication channels at their disposal anyway. And both Radio Damascus and IRIB Tehran - neither of them seems to employ foreigners, btw - have become sources of information for me, about things that go unreported or under-reported here in Germany. In fact, at least one retired - conservative - politician who was widely respected in Germany during the 1990s, Willy Wimmer, gives talks on the German service of IRIB fairly regularly - he'd probably prefer to do this through German media, if they were open-minded.

I'm fairly sure that his old peers are aware of that, and that they have not the slightest objections. He's politically isolated for sure, but probably not as a person or colleague.

So, what would I make of a candidate for one of the top jobs in my country appearing on Press TV? Probably no great deal. I think I'd base my choice on the candidates'/their parties' platform, not on character.

Ji Xiang said...

You might be interested in this:

justrecently said...

Some more context here:

Remember what you wrote when a former DW editor gave his account of how justice in Germany worked for him? You wrote, If there’s any justice (there isn’t), this interview should receive the widespread attention it deserves. Well, the editors got no justice either. Labor law had made it too easy to fire them.

One can like or dislike people, their views, or their attitudes. But above all, one should distrust the powers that be.

As for Mr. Corbyn, I have no opinion about the goods and bads of his platform. But if Labour provides the British people with an actual choice - one between Tony Blair and David Cameron wouldn't look like one to me -, I find it difficult to see what should be wrong with that.

justrecently said...

Quote link here:

Anonymous said...

Ah FOARP. You sound like J Edgar Hoover in his hey day. Google his dark side. And yes, your football team Liverpool are a bunch of losers. The Insurgents: Palace, West Ham, Leicester and even Stoke. The new Occupy movement on the paddock.

You write like some reactionary from one of those dreadful Brit sit coms.

I hope Corbyn nationalises your wife and cat.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gilman Grundy said...

Hey KT. Sorry about your comment getting spammed but I'm back getting those pathetic troll messages again and I didn't know for sure whether yours was one of those or a legit one.

As for Liverpool being losers, well, 3-1 against Chelski says something a bit different.

Ji Xiang said...

To be fair, KT's comment above sounds a lot like a troll's comment to me.

Gilman Grundy said...

Well, just so you have an idea about the kind of genuine troll comments that are left on this blog:

"LOL you just make matters worse blaming your enemies and other people for all your fuckkery, prepare for several writs for libel you cunt. See YOU facing writs in court dude. You should never have left Poland. In the UK you cannot hide."

If you've been following this blog long enough you'll probably know who the writer of these posts likely is. The thing is, unlike him, I actually know something about the law, and I know that a true statement cannot be libel, and that also the limitations statute on libel is one year. I therefore have nothing to fear from him.

Whilst KT may be a bit cantankerous on occasion, he's generally well-meaning and that comes out in his comments. Stuff like the comment quoted above, on the other hand, is clearly the work of a psychopath.

justrecently said...

I hope Corbyn nationalises ...

Anonymous said...

using oil from saudi kingdom is not equivalent to those stance of supporting dictator regime , oppressing human right.

being ally to US is not equivalent to "bombing civilian, hospital, torturing foreigner"

but appearing on foreign media give rise to the idea that they are supporting dictatorship.

which Uk media is not state propaganda,a state mouthpiece?

maybe it is owned by corporate (private) ( but it had close ties with Uk military)

stop living in a glass house.

Gilman Grundy said...

"but appearing on foreign media give rise to the idea that they are supporting dictatorship."

- That would be media widely acknowledged to be state propaganda outlets, and not just appearing on them, but hosting programs for them.

"which Uk media is not state propaganda,a state mouthpiece"

- That would be all of them.