The media has an incredible amount of control over politics. It is not the people, not the government, that runs this country… it is the media.

When was the last time you read a party manifesto? Page to page. Word for word. To answer the question for you… You never have. ‘I did read my party’s manifesto!’ those overeager, uneducated political commentators – that really know ever so slightly more than nothing about politics – scream at me whilst sitting at home consistently scoring 5-point words playing Scrabble and counting down the days until they can, again, incoherently shout curse words at Question Time in an attempt to sound intelligent to themselves and anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot. Well, Mr Uneducated Political Commentator, did you read every party’s manifesto? ‘No, I am a UKIP supporter (remember they are uneducated), I only read UKIP’s manifesto’, they would answer; presuming they were being honest during our interview, which right now I am ever so pleased is imaginary. The only people that would answer ‘Yes’ to question No.2, the only people that still read party manifestos, either work in politics itself, or work in the media.

Information is power. The lack of interest, time or general motivation that the public have regarding any attempt to read manifestos, means the media has power over the public, our democracy and our country. It is the media that controls that which the public is talking about. If The Sun goes out tomorrow with the exclusive headline that Ed Miliband is actually a clone of David Miliband gone dreadfully, dreadfully wrong, along with a quote from some nutty scientist that supports the headline with some evidence based on science looser than Man City’s grip on the Premier League title (ayoo)… then people would believe the headline! At least some would; and they would consequently never vote for Labour again, citing their reasoning as a fundamental distrust of clone-kind. The media can almost say anything it wants without concern for any punishment, and due to its wide reach into people’s homes and minds, the public will take whatever’s said on board. The media has the power to spread lies about insignificant Z-list celebrities. The media has the power to force people to resign. The media has the power to make you vote.

And it’s not even a secret! Before the 2010 general election The Sun ended it’s 12 year long support of Labour, and instead threw ‘its weight behind the Conservatives’, in the words of two writers for The Guardian. The Sun did this because they knew they’d have an influence. The Guardian writers show that even the media, talking about the media, know of this influence. This power the media has in politics appears deeply troublesome and plainly wrong to me, yet it looks as though there’s nothing to hide! A democracy is meant to be a political system within which the people choose their government based upon their merits. However, the media has become a dangerous middleman within our political system. One that picks and chooses which party merits, and which blunders they will report and how they will report them. They are openly bias! This is a blindingly obvious problem that doesn’t appear to be being addressed by anyone. The media are, or ought to be, there to provide us with unadulterated political information that we, as the public, can then form our own view on. Instead, the media project their own views onto the public, giving themselves the kind of power that would not look out of place in a dictatorship.

I am not saying that the media must be dry, boring and un-opinionated. I too, believe it or not, enjoy a satirical cartoon from time to time with my morning cuppa, like Kipper Williams’ cartoon cited below. However, what I am arguing against is only printing the opinions of one side of the argument. Only printing the good, for example, Labour does, but not the wrong. Readers of newspapers like The Sun will have their vote made for them by their newspaper’s allegiance, not their own. This is wrong. The media should not be in control of our democracy. The people should control our democracy. Something must be done, but unless The Sun prints tomorrow admitting its flaws and promising to forever be politically unbiased, nothing will change. How can it, when the only potential opportunity for uprising is provided by the media itself? We are mere subjects in the dictatorship of the media, and we don’t even know it.

Social-media has emerged as our only weapon against our oppressors. So Facebook, Google+ and Tweet this article now – not to give me some fragile sense of importance, however much of a bonus – but to take back the power of the people, and make this country a democracy again.

 

Sources:

 

http://labourlist.org/2013/02/why-manifestos-still-matter-even-if-nobody-reads-them/

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11803719

 

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/sep/30/sun-ditches-labour-for-tories

 

http://www.theguardian.com/business/cartoon/2014/may/29/drugs