Sunday, 5 June 2016

Media Spotlight - Jeremy Corbyn: the Outsider

For all their differences, Jeremy Corbyn and the British press have something in common; an unforgiving contempt for each another.

Last week VICE released a fly-on-the-wall film documenting the inner-workings of the Labour leader's operation, and the reviews were mixed; not for the quality of the documentary (nobody particularly cared how good the film was) but for how Jeremy Corbyn presented himself.

In light of the fascinating relationship between Corbyn and the media, I figured that instead of reviewing it myself it would be more appropriate to collate what his biggest fans - those inside, and camping on the fringes of, the Westminster bubble - made of it.

Will Self, Vice: 'Bathetic and pathetic': Corbyn's normcore shtick is utterly ineffectual
What I mostly felt watching the documentary was anger − an anger which, as bathetic and pathetic scenes alternated, muted into annoyance, before finally curdling to become mere... pity, which is hardly a vote-winner.

Gaby Hinsliff, the Guardian: The media don't hate Jeremy Corbyn. It's more complicated than that 
Having been a lobby reporter for 12 years, followed by observing Westminster from a safer distance for the past six, I do think bias is part of the answer. But not the bias you think. Journalists are not out to destroy Corbyn because he threatens to bring down the neoliberal elite, or because they’re all Tories, or because they live in a bubble of groupthink.

Iain Martin, CapX: Corbyn is getting worse. The man is a total twit
If you think personal abuse is uncalled for then please don’t read on. Personally, I want there to be a proper opposition. I think the leader of the opposition should be a serious person. Prime Minister is still a pretty important job. People putting themselves up for the post had better be good. That Corbyn is so useless but persists is an act of supreme selfishness and self-indulgence. He deserves everything that is coming to him from the electorate.

Matt Chorley, the Times (£): Corbyn cameras capture a new David Brent. Fact!
The beard, the self-delusion, the pseudo-proverbs used to convey great insight. Jeremy Corbyn is the David Brent of our day... Seems easy: invite in a journalist who is a paid-up Labour member from a website from outside the hated “mainstream media” to secure positive coverage. This is no stitch-up. It’s worse than that. Like Ricky Gervais’s spoof, it just holds the camera up to Mr Corbyn and shows viewers what he says and does.

Peter Edwards, LabourList: Corbyn film underlines risk of letting cameras in to the leader's office
There was no clear message from the film beyond Corbyn’s hostile attitude towards the BBC and a Guardiancolumnist who wrote about anti-Semitism – but this would not be what you want the public to take away from 30 minutes up close with the Labour leader. It was confirmation, if any were needed, that Corbyn and his staff do not attempt to stage manage his interventions in the microscopic manner that initially proved so successful under New Labour.

There are some moments of humour worthy of The Thick Of It, provided apparently unintentionally by the interviewees. At one point Corbyn, who is signing photographs at the time, explains that in the autumn he will be signing the fruit from his allotment: "I’m gonna sign the apples. We’ll have signed apples."

Catherine Bennett, the Guardian: Jeremy Corbyn's male-only retinue will never tell him he has no clothes
Like Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown before him, he shows a firm preference for a male-dominated team, its mission to sustain the fantasy that the chosen oddball can prevail: a skilled operation that would evidently be jeopardised if any woman were allowed a speaking role. Women’s freedom to sit silently, even to clap, is, however, one of the key respects in which life inside Corbyn’s office can be seen to differ from arrangements on all-male Mount Athos.

John McTernan, the Telegraph: Why Jeremy Corbyn despises the liberal media even more than the Right
Luckily for Cameron, Corbyn only brought his trademark tone of sanctimonious petulance to the Chamber. Unluckily for Corbyn, documentary filmmakers from Vice TV were in the room when he told his team that he was going to give the day to Cameron. The brief shot of Seumas Milne’s face shows two thoughts fighting for dominance: "Did he really just say that? Again?" just loses out to "Why did I agree to the camera crew?"

Tom Peck, the Independent: Why won't they just let me fail on my own?
Vice’s "fly-on-the-wall" documentary took months to make. Flies are attracted to one thing, and whenever the smell coming off that thing turned so overwhelming as to be unmaskable even by the aggressively perfumed Seumas Milne, Vice was sent packing til the whiff had subsided.

I've embedded the divisive documentary below. It's definitely worth a watch. You can, and should, make up your mind over it.

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