An article in this week’s New Statesman (“In the Post-Corbyn World, What Next for Alternative Left Media?“) spurred Guido to do some research into their traffic and how they are performing generally. The short answer is not very well in terms of raw audience size. In comparison to right-of-centre political news and opinion sites they are well behind. Like-for-like The Spectator has double the New Statesman’s readership. To give you an idea how much worse they are faring after the Corbyn-era glory days, consider this, Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic alone had last month more online readers than the New Statesman, Novara Media and Morning Star combined!
Even the upstart newly launched GB News website has more traffic than most left-wing websites and those same websites say GB News is failing. The question that needs answering is why are right-of-centre news and views outlets out-performing – in terms of audience reach – left-of-centre news and views websites? Some of them will argue that we’re looking in the wrong place – the audience is not just on their website. The Canary and Skwawkbox generate engagement on Facebook which outstrips their own native website audience by a multiple. Novara Media’s videos and podcasts are apparently seen by far more viewers and listeners than will read their articles. Owen Jones has his own lucrative YouTube channel. Of course GB News has a television channel so can’t be compared like-for-like, it also has an active online video audience, as do the Spectator and Unherd. They match the left for reach, similarly they tend to preach to the converted. The only place where the left-wing media seems dominant is on social media, Twitter in particular.
Is the left’s supposed dominance of Twitter entirely true? The left are are certainly more active on Twitter, in terms of followers however @GuidoFawkes has more than any of the left-wing politics sites. Academic research suggests that left-wing Twitter is more active and that activity is mainly preaching to the converted and engaging with other left-wingers. The left is more active on Twitter undoubtedly and it gives the micro-blogging site a hostile atmosphere for right-of-centre users, however election after election shows that, in the words of David Cameron, “Britain is not Twitter”. As the SNP’s Cyber-Nats demonstrate all too loudly, ferocious activity is not evidence of numbers.
Is it money? The New Statesman is backed by Mike Danson, a billionaire willing to bankroll the millions in annual losses of the magazine without flinching. Novara Media got funding from a foundation backed by millionaire philanthropists, Tribune Magazine has the backing of an American publisher. The healthy tradition on the left of funding publications from readers’ donations means Novara Media and Owen Jones have six-figure revenues and paid staff, on the right only Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic is funded likewise. The Spectator and Guido Fawkes are profit-making commercially competitive media enterprises that stand on their own two feet, they are also read in droves by left-of-centre readers who don’t share their editorial line for the news, gossip and entertainment, whereas few right-of-centre readers would enjoy reading the dreary ideological output of most left-wing publications. Funding isn’t the problem.
Perhaps the answer is simply that the likes of the Guardian, Daily Mirror, Buzzfeed News, Huffington Post and the BBC provide most left-of-centre news consumers with satisfactory confirmation of their prejudices such that they just don’t have to venture out to the alt-left for content that appeals. Is it just that in the wider media context it is harder for the alt-left to appeal beyond an ideological core readership?
The front page headline of today’s Morning Star is a bold lie. Following the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact the Morning Star wasn’t anti-fascist. It was, as it is today, dismissive of the capitalist Western democracies, opposing rearmament and undermining the war effort until 1941. We should never allow the communists to forget…
Whereas democratic socialists like Aneurin Bevan unequivocally backed the war, Communist Party members were resolving their own stances in the wake of the Stalin-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact in August. On instructions from the Communist International’s Moscow headquarters to regard the war as one between imperialist powers for imperialist objectives. The Comintern put the Soviet national interest of the “first socialist state” ahead of the policy needs of individual communist parties and nations elsewhere. Palme Dutt, the Party’s leading theoretician, headed the majority of the traitorous central committee who took the Comintern’s line, of not supporting Britain in an “imperialist war”. The Morning Star’s editorial line reflected the central committee’s diktat, declaring in December 1939 that the war against Hitler was not “a people’s war.”
It was not until the Nazis attacked the Soviets in 1941 that the paper’s editorial line changed. The true history of the Morning Star newspaper is not one of forever fighting fascism.
There’s anger from different wings of the Labour Party today as both antisemites and Momentum members accuse each other of stitch-ups preventing them from voting for candidates of their choice. Whatever happened to democratic socialism?…
In Momentum land, any premise of a voice of the membership has been thrown out of the window as they are asked to merely confirm their support for Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Rayner with a yes or no response – something described to the Independent by one member as ‘ludicrous’ and ‘a joke’, and a farce even Owen Jones and Paul Mason are blasting. Imagine how they’d have lobbied to run the next general election if Corbyn had won…
On the other hand, all five candidates are receiving abuse from antisemitic Labour Members who are outraged that they have all signed the British Board of Deputies’ reasonable pledges
The list of demands – which includes radical anti-Corbynite principles like ‘provide no platform for bigotry’ and ‘deliver anti-racism education’ – has been slammed by the usual suspects, including the Morning Star, and other far left Corbyn fans who have naturally pivoted the debate to one of Israeli foreign policy and said they don’t want an outside organisation interfering in the Labour Leadership election. That’s the kind of outward-facing attitude that’ll win them the next election…
Tory MP Mark Francois has made a formal complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards regarding undeclared trips by Jeremy Corbyn based on his – or more likely some lucky researcher – trawling through back copies of the Morning Star. To forget one or two over the years would be unfortunate. To forget to declare this many is suspicous;
Who knew the Morning Star could be so informative? He’ll no doubt just get a slap on the wrist…
UPDATE: Co-conspirators are contacting Guido with even more undeclared trips made by Mr. Corbyn. Here he blogs about observing elections in Gaza in 2005, but such a trip never appears on his register of interests…
Not so much a dog whistle in this Morning Star editorial, and more of a foghorn. Apparently “wealthy and powerful circles” are traducing the Palestinian cause and exploiting “the bogus anti-semitism furore” surrounding Jeremy Corbyn. The editorial then goes on to attack the Munich widows. Who could they possibly mean by “wealthy and powerful circles”?
The communist Morning Star newspaper has removed from its website an article which blamed mainstream Jewish groups for rising anti-Semitism. The article by John Elder, headlined “Rising anti-Semitism cannot be tackled without addressing Israel’s crimes”, argued:
“‘Mainstream’ Jewish organisations protesting about growing anti-Semitism must see that, by failing to condemn Israeli brutality against Palestinians, they will be regarded by some as being indirectly complicit in that country’s actions.”
It has now disappeared from the Morning Star website:
The Morning Star has now published another piece condemning the article:
Its rationale, that Jews everywhere are responsible for the actions of the Israeli government, is by reverse exactly the argument put forward by the Israeli government and right-wing zionists. But that cannot be acceptable in a daily paper of the left, which has anti-imperialism at its heart and should be challenging all forms of racism, including anti-semitism.
We write as long time supporters of the Morning Star. There is an expectation that features can be as challenging as is necessary. But the blinkered and reactionary nature of the Elder article has to become a line in the sand. Jews and all citizens should be encouraged to challenge actual and existing anti-semitism. Our paper should be at the forefront of that movement.