The hilarious flop that was the #BoycottTheGuardian campaign could have put Owen Jones, everyone’s favourite Corbynite columnist, in a rather sticky situation. That is, if it had ever become anything more than a small group of militant Corbynistas furiously tweeting on a Thursday evening.
Before long, Jones was back to his usual self, rounding on the mainstream media (in this case Sky News) for acknowledging the existence of people whose opinions differ from his, even if it was merely a one-off, over-edited interview with Tommy Robinson on the day of his court appearance.
Comrade Jones very much enjoys using the mainstream media to rail against the mainstream media for supposedly promoting far-Right views more than is appropriate, despite appearing on our screens constantly to advance his own far-Left agenda. (The far-Right, of course, encompasses not only the entire Right wing, but the centre-Left too.) It isn’t all poor Owen’s fault, though; from his point of view, squashed in his little socialist mud hut all the way over on the extreme Left, Chuka Umunna probably does look far-Right.
Conservative voices are unduly censored on social media. All the supposedly neutral news outlets disproportionately favour Left-wing perspectives on major issues and Right-wing figures, even elected politicians, are treated very unfairly overall. These facts are frequently pointed out by the Right. Jones, rather than engaging with the debate by offering a different perspective, simply flips the facts on their head and presents them as legitimate arguments for the Left.
A frequent feature of his writing is the ludicrous allegation that the mainstream media, including the BBC, is biased towards the Right. Ignoring the verdicts of independent fact-checkers and the plethora of evidence showing that Auntie unequivocally leans to the Left, Jones maintains his hysterical narrative that Left-wing views are somehow under attack from the ruling Right.
An excellent example of this phenomenon is Brexit. Jones would have you believe that he is a persecuted anti-establishment working man railing against the oppression of the elitist, fascist BBC, which is determined to blast through the dissenters and take Britain out of the EU at all costs. The reality, of course, is quite different.
As a News-watch study brutally exposed last year, the BBC’s coverage of the Brexit debate in the run-up to the referendum conformed to its usual pattern of blatant favouritism of the progressive view, in this case Remain. The report says that the Beeb ‘one-sidedly emphasised the difficulties of Brexit’ and that a third more pro-EU figures than Brexiteers were featured. It even goes on to claim that if BBC coverage had been unbiased, the Brexit-voting majority could have been much more sizeable than it was. Once again, a far cry from the Leftist narrative pushed relentlessly by Jones.
A blatant ignorance of the facts is not at all unusual in the Leftist climate of today. What is most amazing about Jones in particular on this is that he has so clearly just seized the Right’s rhetoric and swapped ‘Left’ for ‘far-Right’, apparently thinking that is sufficient for him to pass it off as accurate comment of his own.
The term ‘bigot’ has all but lost its meaning thanks to the likes of Jones; continuing with the post-factual theme, he uses it to mean precisely the opposite of its true definition. Bigotry — intolerance of views that differ from one’s own — is an offence of which Jones is patently and continuously guilty. Yet, for him, it is a stone he can pick up and hurl (via Twitter, usually) at whichever politician or commentator dares to blaspheme against Lord Jezza. Recently, for instance, he (mis)used it in defence of Ian Lavery MP after he had a small tantrum at Rod Liddle on Question Time for objecting to Corbyn’s racism.
Such tactics — taking the factual claims of the Right and rebranding them as the desperate cries of an oppressed Left — are a common theme in Jones’s writing. Take, for instance, the term ‘snowflake’. Coined and deployed by the Right, this is an apt term designed for a very specific usage, a type of bigotry shrouded in false vulnerability and rooted in profound intellectual weakness.
Owen Jones totally misunderstands and completely misuses the notion of the snowflake. Following the righteous outrage from across the political spectrum at the hideous insult that was the Trump baby blimp flown during the President’s UK visit in July, Jones snatched the word ‘snowflake’ from the hands of rationality and pranced through the street with it, planting it firmly on the foreheads of the right-thinking people who suggested that the unfunny balloon was possibly not the ideal way to forward US-UK relations and prepare for the post-Brexit world.
Make no mistake, Jones is not stupid. He is not merely a deranged lunatic, chasing Boris on his bike ride into Westminster every morning, darting behind bushes to avoid being seen and snatching at Pret a Manger stores as he passes them. He is, in fact, rather an intelligent person, though one who is apparently too lazy to do any actual thinking and formulate any arguments of his own, beyond crying loudly when others don’t toe The Leftist Line.
That has not stopped him, though. In today’s world of 280-character opinions, Jones’s pathetic pseudo-debate has propelled him to prominence and threatens to keep him there. The walls are slowly but surely closing in on open conservatism as we know it; our best hope at this point is to pray that a barrage of sheer logic will eventually be enough to dislodge Jones from his cut-price high horse.