The media and Corbyn

BLACK CAMPAIGN / What was the biggest obstacle for Jeremy Corbyn when he came close to winning the election – and thus becoming the Prime Minister of Great Britain? A smear campaign and branding as 'Russia's henchman' or 'anti-Semite'?


In 2017, the BBC and The Guardian were not very positive about Jeremy Corbyn despite being among the more 'liberal' media in the UK. The conservative papers were, as expected, worse. I ask how, in Corbyn's words, the media functioned in the pre-election process:

“Well, the hostility I was met with in the media from the moment I was elected Labor leader was unbelievable. And then there was the extent of it, as I was personified as 'evil on two legs'. My family was exposed. My house was besieged by the media for five years. On election day in 2017, one of the more right-wing newspapers had as many as 14 pages of incitement against me, page up and page down."

Corbyn thus requests: "We must try to get past all this media frenzy, by campaigning, mobilizing people, using social media and everything else. To some extent it succeeded, and in 2017 the left in Britain received the highest turnout of this century, but the incitement was significant.

I often complained about with the BBC for their obvious bias. For example, they ran a 45-minute long debate on Newsnight, a major news program, where they had a picture of me wearing a Greek sailor cap, with the Kremlin in the background—behind the discussion about me, suggesting that I was a Russian henchman (see above).

But the only time I've ever been to Russia was actually with a human rights delegation to support the people of Chechnya. And much later, on a vacation in St. Petersburg with my two sons. So that's what we had to deal with from the BBC – which sees itself as a paragon of all journalistic virtue..."

What about The Guardian, which is perceived as a respected centre-left newspaper?

“Sorry, but this is not my experience of The Guardian at all. They had more baseless attacks on me, without citations, than almost any other newspaper. And always with the finest language. But I'm not asking for favors from the media – I'm just asking that they report what we're actually saying and what we're actually trying to do.”

From the outside of politics, one can always be skeptical of what happens in the political scenes. In Norway, for example, Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Thorbjørn Jagland was overthrown by the aforementioned Stoltenberg (later NATO secretary) and his circle. What about Corbyn, does he have suspicions about what his Labor opponent Keith Starmer (who later rose to the party leadership) was doing behind the scenes?

"In 2017, the left in Britain received the highest turnout of this century."

“I'm always a bit skeptical about going into conspiracy theories, because it can lead to all sorts of strange notions. But there seems to be a commonality and a collectiveness in the attacks on me. And after I left as Labour- leader in 2020, the new party leadership has treated me quite badly. I don't want to claim anything personally, but when you attack people who are publicly elected, you actually attack the democracy of the party and society. I have been elected to the British Parliament ten times for Islington North. I am very proud to represent this in my district in the north. And that's exactly what I'm doing now, I'm representing my local community."

As a political activist all his life, Corbyn emphasizes: "I don't go my way. I'm not going to disappear.”

See the main interview here .

Subscription NOK 195 quarter