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The incident initially began when the writer and political activist Owen Jones tweeted about his experiences inside the ‘cult’ of the mainstream media, tweeting:
“The main thing I’ve learned from working in the British media is that much of it is a cult. Afflicted by a suffocating groupthink, intolerant of critics, hounds internal dissenters, full of people who made it because of connections and/or personal background rather than merit.”
Following Jones’ tweet, he was immediately set upon by numerous mainstream journalists – whose virtually identical replies, ironically, completely proved his point:
However, the S*n’s Westminster Correspondent Harry Cole then went on to slam Jones, tweeting a screenshot of his initial tweet and replying saying:
“No, that’s what he learned from working at the Guardian. Endless tedious contradictory columns.. and bitter sniping at working hacks. The man couldn’t break a window let alone a story. And the realisation that the Corbyn team will never, ever forgive him seems to be eating him up”
No, that's what he learned from working at the Guardian. Endless tedious contradictory columns.. and bitter sniping at working hacks. The man couldn't break a window let alone a story. And the realisation that the Corbyn team will never, ever forgive him seems to be eating him up pic.twitter.com/tzDFHIZgpJ
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) April 20, 2018
Soames’ remark clearly breaks the Tories’ so-called Respect Pledge – a promise which was proudly unveiled by Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis just last month, and which implores all Tory MPs to:
“Refrain from making abusive or offensive attacks … on social media or verbally”
Democracy has always been robust and oppositional but a line is crossed when this becomes abuse and intimidation. pic.twitter.com/bWcrDEfWkB
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) March 3, 2018
Just imagine if this disgusting abuse was dished out by a pro-Corbyn MP towards a right-wing commentator. Do you honestly think the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media would be silent? Of course they wouldn’t – it would be the top story.
But because it is a Tory MP doing the abusing, the media has given them a free pass to do as they please – even if what they’ve done completely annihilates a promise the Tories made just a month ago.
Furthermore, it was just over a week ago that Lewis also called on Labour to sign the Respect Pledge, going on to demand they “Step up and do the right thing“:
Agreed. As we made clear with the Respect Pledge. We will deal with unacceptable behaviour. Robust debate is right, abuse is not. Labour must step up & do the right thing.
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) April 4, 2018
Well, Mr Lewis, it seems that one of your MPs has completely broken your so-called Respect Pledge. So when are YOU going to “Step up and do the right thing” by sacking them?
We won’t hold our breath.
As ever with the Tories, they’re all talk, and absolutely no action.
And as ever with the mainstream media, it’s one zero-tolerance rule for anybody who supports building a fairer society, and a completely different set of rules for everybody who doesn’t.