The British mainstream print media has been struggling for years against a gradual decline in sales figures, which are the guarantee of advertising revenue, which in turn is the life-blood of the industry. As an institution, the United Kingdom’s press is fundamentally Left-wing, with even its purportedly conservative-leaning newspapers (The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun, and Daily Express) being nothing of the sort. It is easy to maintain the illusory Pepper’s Ghost of conservatism, however, just by occasionally agreeing with the political party which has shanghaied the Tory flag. Something is definitely rotten — not in the state of Denmark, but in the fourth estate in Fleet Street.
An incoming journalist intern at one of the big eight British newspapers who have conservative sympathies would be well advised to keep quiet about them, and to hope that his fingerprints on social media do not give him away. One of the first things any British company does now, even before the interview, is to check the interviewee’s social media past.
There may be a reason why the British mainstream media (MSM) cannot keep their ABC figures (sales statistics from Britain’s Audited Bureau of Circulation) buoyant. With so much information freely available, and so much of the “news” now op-ed, perhaps readers are beginning to wish to be entertained as well as informed, and perhaps also want to be offered a diversity of opinion to match the much-trumpeted diversity of culture foisted on a wary nation. Stylistically, newspaper journalism is a turgid affair corralled by strict orthographical and political guidelines and with no room for flair or panâche in its writers. That lies elsewhere.
One of the great joys of writing for sites such as Counter-Currents is that you only have to please the reader. The MSM hack has to please the head feature writer first, who in turn has to satisfy the editor, who has to please the publisher, who ultimately has to satisfy the advertisers. Thus, style and genuine openness of enquiry can go hang, and the reader can wait patiently until that process is over. Then, when the sausage factory is ready, they can read the anodyne sludge that passes for contemporary British journalism. When I worked in magazine publishing twenty years ago, I saw pieces pulled because they implied criticism of a product whose parent company ran ads in the publication.
Then, of course, you have the new strictures imposed by Cultural Marxism now that the Frankfurt School has had its prom night and moved on to greater things. Western MSM journalists are about as free to criticise what is effectively an ideological regime as they would be in Turkey, Iran, or China, although the UK hasn’t started jailing journos. Yet. And the Leftist MSM has become this monolithic, jazzed-up version of Pravda largely because it has no opposition. Or, at least, it didn’t for a long time. Incipit the internet.
I remember when the internet first took off in the UK, and I was working for the National Health Service and tasked by my manager to investigate this new phenomenon, struggling even to get on it and aided and abetted by a smart Pakistani kid who was on what the British call (but are reluctant to try) “work experience.” He was anxious to enter this strange new portal, as was I. He was 19. I was 36. This was 1997. It would be a little while before I put down my books, newspapers, and magazines and began using the internet regularly, both to gain information and to write myself, when I starting the first of several weblogs.
In those early days of the UK internet goldrush, I noticed that every politician wanted a piece of it. It was cool, it was hip, it was happening, and politicians are attracted to fairy dust. Remember how they clustered around Obama at those international shindigs? They all wanted you to know about their websites and how in touch they were.
Then something happened. Politicians — in the UK, at least — began to realise that the internet gave a voice to the people, the very last thing that the quasi-autistic, non-empathic, above-average-IQ yet goombah political class wants. Some politicos kept up mostly dull Twitter accounts — posted by some other poor intern being paid nothing — but they stopped singing the praises of the one cultural revolution that actually counts. It is of more use to you, in terms of your democratic presence, to have a weblog than to have a vote.
(At this point, a word from our sponsors. My weblog can be found at The People’s Republic of Traumaville.)
Nowadays, there exists a Dissident Right-wing, broadly conservative media online whose readership is gradually rising as that of the MSM founders. You’re reading some of it now. I have been pitching a piece to the UK MSM for a while about the curious fact that familiar newspapers routinely ignore the existence of this shadow media. As you might expect — and I suppose proving my point — my pitches and submissions have been ignored. The MSM won’t, as the English of a certain stripe are fond of saying, touch me with a shitty stick. There are two main reasons for this.
Firstly, I am not “trained.” Journalistic “training” is, of course, intended to do two things. The first is to train the journalist, like an organ-grinder’s monkey, to adhere to a set of rules which are not specific to any one newspaper, but multilateral. The second is to iron out any traces of either originality of thought or stylistic flair. You won’t see another H. L. Mencken in the newspapers. You won’t even see another Mark Steyn. To paraphrase a song by The Who, to be a journalist, you have to join together with the bland.
Secondly, and as noted, if I pitch a piece about Right-wing dissident media to The Times, say (where a good friend of mine works and so has to use social media under a pseudonym), I won’t even get past the gate-keepers. Again, as mentioned, the UK press think that there is nothing on the other side of corporately-controlled “woke” centrism save the modern cultural pieties. They are undoubtedly aware that there is an active and genuinely vibrant Right-wing media — I also write for Taki’s Magazine, VDare, New English Review, and The Brazen Head (the latter pair more literary and cultural but still conservative) — but the map of the media just says of that region, “here be dragons . . .” I would be willing to bet that no mainstream, office-based journo in London would dare to even look at TakiMag or VDare.
All of which means that my entry late in life to the world of MSM journalism is as likely as my being called on to add my (at one time, long ago) feisty midfield skills to the English soccer team. And, after much ado, this leads me to the reason I have gathered you all here today: pack rejection.
This natural phenomenon, common among pack animals and particularly, it seems, in wolves, helps to explain much of what is happening at the moment, both in the media and among the “normies,” concerning whom Nicholas R. Jeelvy (of this parish) wrote a very good piece here recently. Pack rejection means that the ostracised wolf who cannot find another pack to accept him will very likely die, as rejection is often attendant on physical deformity or handicap of some sort, and all the protection once provided by the pack is gone. For some of those on the Right –and this is the fear that haunts the “normie” — what counts is the risk is of dying socially and professionally, along with the gradually increasing risk of incarceration for Wrongthink.
Personally, I feel no pack rejection by the MSM because I was never a part of that pack. I was never a kid pushing his face up against the sweet-shop window because I knew free speech was on the way out in print media, and along with it stylish writing allied to provocative thinking — writing that cares if its readers are delighted in a phrase or sentence, or entranced by an idea or theory.
The Dissident Right have experienced a rather different rejection by the old and toothless steppe wolves of the MSM. I recently read a piece in what I believe is the world’s most successful MSM website, Mail Online (something else the UK MSM were slow out of the blocks about was the new technology), about a wolf in a Chinese zoo who had been rejected by one pack and failed to be accepted by any other. He spent his days pacing round in a circle, and this seems to me to be a gravely appropriate image for the Right at present, which is still as disparate as ever, more interested in factional differences than the fact that because they are at least unified, the Left currently have the keys to the kingdom.
The third type of pack rejection concerns the Left themselves. We have all seen the Left eat their own. J. K. Rowling is possibly the most famous example in recent memory, straying dangerously off-message and claiming against the scriptures and Holy Writ that there are but two genders. She received a virtual stoning in the idiot’s agora of social media, although this did not of course harm her vast wealth.
But those “normies” unprotected by money and undecided in themselves whether they are creatures of the Left, Right, or Centre, do not have anything like freedom of choice when deciding on this matter. Twenty years ago, when I last worked in an office, my political views merely raised eyebrows. They would almost certainly get me fired today.
In passing, there is a psychological reason for the fear of pack rejection among the millennial praise-junkies who will be running things in a few years’ time. Firstly, this generation is hyper-narcissistic, and simply cannot take criticism. Secondly is a strange, post-modern phenomenon among the in-betweeners currently at large. They have been convinced that their correct thoughts — inculcated and immutable, like the three laws of robotics in Asimov’s famous series — are just that, true a priori. Therefore — and it is sound reasoning if you are mentally unstable — to criticise a millennial is to disagree with him and therefore, by extension, his correct beliefs. Again, the Left require wrinkle-free conformity. A single wrong note will lose you your place in the choir.
In the UK, the Left run everything, there are simply no conservative public institutions and, as mentioned, the MSM are Left-wing enough to be, if not fully supportive of the ideological freakshow that is “woke” culture, then certainly absolutely uncritical of it in any meaningful way.
The British media readership seem to have absolutely no interest in diversity of thought, least of all in the media. Otherwise, they would exert market pressure and effectively demand it by stopping buying their breakfast newspaper (although an indicator may be that people are increasingly cancelling their BBC licenses). But that may change in the event of a serious economic and social collapse, the day on which, to quote Guillaume Faye, we wake up and all the magic is gone. Until then, the only diversity of opinion available is over here on the Dissident Right, in the hinterlands, where largely unpaid, sometimes pseudonymous (for reasons noted), occasionally doxed or threatened writers enjoy a freedom the MSM can no longer have, the freedom to write with your conscience, and in a style whose only criterion for success is that it is well-written; not that turgid MSM linguistic styrofoam which resembles nothing so much as the braille-like ribbon of paper which feeds into an old player-piano, producing exactly the same notes in the same order.
On the subject of censorship and attacks on dissident sites, Greg Johnson was kind enough to answer some questions on the subject of doxing, threats, Denial-of-Service attacks, and the rest of the malicious behaviour of the dummkopf Left. I was honestly appalled to see the lengths to which these witless marionettes will go to silence dissenting opinion. Perhaps they just envy those who can write. Writing is much like driving or sex in that, although everyone thinks they are good at it, many are not.
And to finish on the subject of writing — the crafting of information that is at the heart of journalism — we don’t need some weird Freemasonic diploma to write, not now that we have the internet, possibly the greatest leap forward for the written word since Gutenberg. Journalists need to be observers, people who see what the MSM writer may see but is not allowed to acknowledge, and they also need to entertain — not, or not only, with verbal slapstick and pyrotechnics, but to make the words swing on the page, pulling the reader in like an old jazz song that has you tapping your toe before you realize you are doing so.
So, here’s to the Dissident Right-wing media. We are a raggle-taggle band at times, but still, I believe, not on the right side of history — a childish phrase since, in future history, it will either be written by the Chinese or the Muslims — but correctly and reasonably located in the present. We may be virtual samizdat and we may be hounded and harried at every turn, but I believe we make the MSM look like the dull, conformist stringers they are.
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 Until quite recently, I believed that “op-ed” stood for “opinionated editorial.” In a way, it does, but literally it is short for “opposite the editorial page,” which really means the same thing as my assumption. Curiously, the first person I remember –several years ago — who pointed out that the majority of modern journalism was op-ed was a genuine bad guy, Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s thuggish media enforcer and the man who co-authored the British “sexed-up” dossier that dragged my country into Iraq. It is interesting to note that sometimes even The Devil tells the truth . . .
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