Saturday, 11 March 2017

Owen Jones, "Conservative supporters" and BBC bias

From BBC Newsbeat

I must admit, partly from watching YouTube videos of his interviews with people who don't share his views and seeing him (so often) on TV, that I've grown to like Owen Jones more and more as time passes. And he's been changing his view of his ideological friends too, given that they've been beastly to him on Twitter - which he's now left, pursued by a bear.

I first found out about this by reading it at Guido Fawkes - a post headlined Owen Jones Driven Off Twitter By Left-Wing Haters. Guido quotes Owen's Facebook comment about it:
In an extraordinary Facebook post aimed at the hard left, Jones wrote this morning: 
“On a daily basis I have angry strangers yelling at me, on the one hand, that I’m responsible for the destruction of the Labour Party, and on the other, I’m a right-wing sellout careerist who’s allied to Tony Blair and possibly in the pay of the Israeli government (and that I’m a Blairite c*** who needs to go fuck myself, and so on and so forth)… 
“Both my parents are staunch supporters of Jeremy Corbyn; they’re leading members of their local Momentum branch. They don’t agree with lots of what I’ve said. Unlike the increasingly frothing keyboard warriors, neither doubts for a second that what I says comes from the heart… 
“I’m just wasting my life. I wouldn’t choose to walk every day into a room full of total strangers screaming mindless abuse and making up what I think and what my motives are, but in a sense that’s what I’m currently doing.”
Imagine my surprise then (not that you'll need to as I'm now describing it) when I read this at Not a Sheep's blog:

Like Not a Sheep, I can't find any evidence that Owen Jones has blamed "Conservative supporters" either. His Facebook post blames the far-left and the far-right and - if I'm not mistaken - non-Corbynista Labour supporters too - but "Conservative supporters" are conspicuous by the absence from Owen's roll-call of Twitter bullies on that Facebook post. 

So where did the BBC get the idea that he blamed "Conservative supporters"? 

All I can say is whoever at BBC's Newsbeat wrote that article clearly misread Owen's post, and that their misreading is either due to carelessness or bias - or, my personal bet, both carelessness and bias.

The other curious thing about the BBC article (following on) is that it chooses to place the far-right angle as its lead angle whereas Owen's Facebook page makes it clear that it's the far-left that's been the straw that broke his camel's back and which mainly prompted his departure from Twitter. 

Most of his Facebook post is about the far-left's behaviour and his response to it. 

So why the opening paragraphs quoted at the top of this very post?


  1. The little blot on the landscape is a chancer and a hack. I'm sorry, but I don't share your perception of Jones's growth. He just can't abide anyone not agreeing with him or blessing him for being virtuous. Corbyn hasn't changed policies or suddenly turned farther Left than before. So Jones can't claim Corbyn abandoned him rather than vice versa. Jones isn't especially bright, but he can read the writing on the wall when his Establishment friends tell him Corbyn is doomed. So he's pretending Corbyn has suddenly taken the wrong tack. He'll be looking for a new Leninist to champion, and I'm sure that will go just as well for him.

    Remember that Jones pulled the same massive hypocrite move that Paul "It's All Kicking Off" Mason did regarding Brexit. They both believe that the EU is undemocratic and unfair to the sainted working class, but because some effing Tories were for Brexit, they magically weren't. The intellectual contortions they went through every time someone challenged them on it would have made Plastic Man jealous.

    Jones is just experiencing the joy of Complaints From Both Sides, and is unable to cope. Boo hoo.

  2. The anguish the BBC feels at his departure is at least mitigated by it being covered in print by them and, as we speak, his latest outing on the Marr show.

    He seems well covered by them still.

  3. "their misreading is either due to carelessness"

    When I was a young sapling at school (70's - 80's), we were taught/drilled that re-reading what we had just written as an essential part of schoolwork. Applies to reading as well, especially with composition. So essays, composition, test and exam questions and answers at school ... report writing, magazine articles, journalistic missives, academic lectures, technical seminars, speeches in the real world.

    The common denominator then was check and check again. Yet, in this time-is-money obsessed 2017 world of profit and time management, such checks/re-readings, etc, have become a luxury. It therefore doesn't surprise me that many of those who have left education in the last 20 years are not so drilled to ensure their written product is perfect in content as well as grammar. Business either can't afford it, or see it as a waste of resource, because, well, every computer has a spell checker, right? We've become our own secretaries. So fewer eyes scan our work for the stupid factual and grammatical errors.

    So what we see from the BBC (other than the brainwashing by the Common Purpose) is no more or less what we see throughout the business world. Poor education standards across the board that leads to the infuriating carelessness when reviewing/editing one's own work before publishing.

    Sorry for longish post, but I thought it was a valid point when considering why carelessness is so prevalent today. In the BBC or elsewhere.

    1. You are absolutely right Anonymous, but on the subject of no re-reading what I have written I would have to hold up my hand and say GUILTY, as the numerous typos in my contributions to this blog would testify. I would have to say, “Spellcheck” is as much an enemy as a friend. The only consolation being that the results can occasionally be hilariously apt. Must try harder.