The British Journalism Awards 2017 took place a few days ago at this rather grand building in Central London:
Unsurprisingly, yours truly wasn’t invited (sad face! Nah, just kidding…).
Perhaps, even more, unsurprising and rather telling about the state of the industry was the winners….
Get ready people this is likely to make your blood pressure increase by a factor of a gazzilion!
Last year, the BBC’s ever-intrepid political ‘journalist’, Laura Kuenssberg, won the Heineken sponsored journalist of the year award, in what was a clear testament to the dire state of the industry.
The fact she’s been in trouble with the BBC itself for misreporting on Corbyn, adding weight to the fact that giving her such an award was nothing short of an insult to journalism itself.
This year, the judges have perhaps gone one better: handing the award to none other than LBC Radio’s bloated right-wing, talking point mechanised windbag Nick Ferrari.
Partly for his outstandingly good work interviewing Dianne Abbott during the General Election (GE). For this achievement, he also received the award for Popular Journalism.
The Press Gazette—who hosted the event says:
The judges were impressed with the calm and methodical way he interviews politicians, most notably shadow home secretary Diane Abbott ahead of this year’s general election.
The judges said: “Nick will be most remembered most this year for an interview with shadow home secretary Diane Abbott which proved to be a pivotal moment in the 2017 general election. Through calm and detailed questioning he created the ‘where were you’ moment of the election.
The judges said: “Eschewing the hectoring style often associated with heavy-hitting political interviews, Nick Ferrari’s focus on the facts, ability to think on his feet and lightness of touch secured his status as a star performer during the 2017 election campaign. As well as his famous encounter with Diane Abbott he also secured headline-grabbing interviews with Theresa May and Tim Farron.
The headlines he grabbed certainly, the way he grabbed them though is genuinely grotesque.
Readers will, no doubt, remember the endless mocking—much of it clearly grounded in racism, mysognoy and the fact she’s representing the left—directed at Abbott over the course of the GE.
Abbott did have a series of what were relatively minor car crash interviews:
On the spectrum though she was certainly no worse than many.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond had an equally, if not, far worse car crash interview whilst being grilled by John Humphrys on Radio 4’s Today programme, in which he forgot the cost of the High Speed 2 rail project and demonstrated the fact he’s unable to separate capital spending from current spending.
Alas, the media barely spoke about it—the fact that Hammond actually is the Chancellor and should know basic figures about public spending and investment better than anybody else in the country, compared to Abbott who was only acting as Shadow Home Secretary, shows you just how biased the media is. The fact that the industry thinks that Ferrari deserves an award for this kind of thing really tells you all you need to know.
In July this year, Abbott made it clear during a Parliamentary debate, that she suffers a daily torrent of horrendous racial abuse:
Following this, she has also written about how racial hatred and violence is fuelled by those in power—citing the Tories as being particularly callous and reckless in their usage of anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric and policies.
Exactly the kind of thing then, that Nick’s entire career is dedicated to, it seems.
However, Nick is far from a one trick pony: he also received the awards for his work surrounding a few other areas as the Gazette explains here:
In 2017 he launched the Guard Our Emergency Staff campaign which prompted a 100,000 signature petition and helped bring about the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill.
As the Grenfell Fire still smoldered he interviewed former Chief Fire officer Ronnie King who revealed the government’s failure to act on safety recommendations following the Lakanal House fire in 2009. Nick Ferrari is quite simply the 2017 journalist of the year.
I wouldn’t call this outstanding journalism personally—would you? I mean it’s all pretty basic stuff, isn’t it? The most striking aspect of the Grenfell inferno was not so much the regulation, but the layers and layers and layers of endless and clear corruption behind the regulation and neglect. Aside from the other obvious underpinning factors such as Tory austerity, privatization, and the so-called regeneration project in the area.
The list of atrocities in the case of Grenfell frankly never ends….
The establishment: Ferrari’s award embodying this—always attempts to defend itself by claiming that they do some good work as in this case of Grenfell, as if that somehow makes up for the fact 90% of the time they are just spreading right-wing propaganda about immigrants, imperial war, disabled “benefit scroungers”, how evil and deluded the left is, etc, etc, etc…
Please ignore the title of the video below, it should read:
Ferrari Defends Daily Mail Immigrant Bashing & Demonization Against Man With More Than One Brain Cell & FAILS.
It’s all well and good to point out some of the basic issues that caused the blaze after the fire, but what about the fact that residents had been warning about these factors for years and years and years and years? And were totally ignored by the mainstream media—both before and very shortly after the blaze?
That’s the real issue here, again, this shows you how chronically dysfunctional journalism has become.
Another award, this time for ‘politics’ went to none other than Channel 4’s Dispatches for their delightful, meaningful and groundbreaking undercover documentary on Momentum, Corbyn, and Labour:
Over a period of six months, Chanel 4’s undercover reporter attended meetings at Momentum’s headquarters in London uncovering new evidence of how it was being influenced by the hard left.
The judges said: “Of all this year’s entries the story this investigation uncovered was the most momentous for the future of British politics. The others might have been great scoops or great insights but they won’t have as much long-term impact as the undercover account of the transformation of a great political party.
Kind of astonishing on multiple levels: the first one being that the documentary was actually broadcast in 2016, so why they’ve awarded them this now, a year later, is really beyond me….
The documentary sparked an uproar at the time it was broadcast for multiple reasons—no need to go into them all again right now, suffice to say that it was yet another hackey attempt by the establishment to portray Corbyn supporters and Momentum members as a bunch of Stalinists zombies all hell-bent on taking over the Labour Party, and slaughtering Blairites in the process.
You’d think that such an amazing and now award-winning documentary would take pride of place on Channel 4’s On Demand website so that we can all view it again and again…However, strangely enough, I can’t actually find a copy of it anywhere, including C4’s website.
The documentary was so good, it seems, that C4 doesn’t want us to see it again!
That’s how award-winning it is—unbelievable, yet true.
Perhaps the last award that truly raised my, by now, highly elevated eyebrows was the one for Business, Finance, and Economics, this time sponsored by TSB, which went to that well-known giant of financial reporting expertise Bloombe…sorry I mean BuzzFeed (am I reading this right?) no, that’s what it says BUZZFEED.
This investigation revealed how Britain’s biggest taxpayer-owned bank deliberately killed or crippled thousands of businesses during the recession in order to add billions of pounds to its balance sheet. The judges said: “This was stunning work which made your stomach churn. It was a forensic investigation based on thousands of leaked documents brought to life through interviews with the victims of this scandal.
The award is all the more ironic as TSB was one of the banks bailed out by us during the financial crash—in fact, taxpayer money was used to buy a 43.4% stake in its parent company Lloyds Banking Group in 2009.
Honestly, what can you say? BuzzFeed…..financial, business, and economics expertise….let’s all just let that sink in for a moment shall we?
Not, the Financial Times (FT), or Bloomberg—which by the way actually have some of the best news, information, and interviews going—mainly because, unlike the mainstream media these specialist outfits actually trust their readers with the truth, as their readers are essentailly the business class: these people need the truth to make decisions, and as such there is a marked difference in the way the FT reports and the way the MSM does—highly recommend the FT if you want to find out what’s really going on the world.
There were some worthy winners on the night—as is always the case with these things—such as the one for ‘Specialist Journalism’ which went to Inside Housing for their work highlighting the dangers of flammable cladding before Grenfell:
When flames tore through a tower block in Shepherd’s Bush in August 2016, Pete Apps was the only journalist who recognised the need to dig further – and in doing so uncovered a secret report that warned of the threat to tower blocks from external cladding weeks before the Grenfell disaster.
The judges said: “Simply outstanding investigative journalism covering one of the most shocking stories of our era. A strong understanding of traditional public interest value combined with the adoption of the latest technology in multi-media reporting.
Read the full list of winners here.
However, for the most part, it is clear that any industry that decides Nick Ferrari is their best and brightest is clearly going through a crisis of epic proportions.
If journalism had anything to do with speaking truth to power in this day and age, then Ferrari wouldn’t have a job, let alone an award, and the C4 Documentary would’ve never made it past the pitch stage—that’s just a simple fact.
What these people are actually receiving awards for is, often times, the complete opposite to the central tenants on which the fourth estate is supposed to be built.
As Edmund Burke is famously reported to have said way back in the late 18th century, there’s:
Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.
Hence the origin of the term journalists are so fond of: the fourth estate—well, they may be fond of the term, but totally fail to understand its meaning, it seems.
These journalists are the ones who speak and amplify the lies of the powerful and distort the truth to the powerless masses, to protect the powerful.
And this is where the whole thing gets really disturbing: unlike the paid-up and self-aware propagandists of the past—whether they be Goebbels for the Nazis or those of so-called communists regimes such as China, or former Soviet Russia—unlike those people, these people really do believe they are speaking truth to power: they really do believe their own hype, and self-righteousness.
They have all absorbed the doctrine that they are the fourth estate—a noble truth-seeking pillar of objective justice—self-justifying because occasionally they do some good, noble and impressive work.
In fact, any mainstream journalists who I’ve ever actually dealt with—I must admit this hasn’t happened often—have always been completely deluded. It’s almost painful talking to them—they simply don’t seem to understand the world they’re supposed to be reporting on.
They have no sense of history, nor even basic morals—they have no real sense of justice, they have no interest in listening to victims of injustice, of helping them. They have no interest in any of these basic things: they are empty and dead inside—yet somehow, through indoctrination, I assume, they all believe the very opposite of themselves.
The examples of just how woefully out of touch the industry is with the public have become so glaringly obvious that is beyond embarrassing at this point in time.
The most recent example, perhaps, being the GE itself. At the beginning, as May called the snap GE the media literally called it a Tory landslide right there and then:
At the same time as they were doing this I wrote the following:
This hatred of the centrist status quo has recently expressed itself in various forms across the west: from Brexit to Sander’s and Trump in the US to the unexpected rise of the socialist candidate in the upcoming French elections, we are seeing the (supposedly) unpredictable destruction of centrist politics — it may not seem like it right now, but this state of affairs is the new normal — and may well lead to the election of Corbyn as PM. This seems unthinkable — a glance at any of the polls tells you that it is — yet given the crumbling of the establishment — a crumbling which the political elites themselves fail to acknowledge the existence of — we should all seriously start to think about the “unthinkable.”
For once the unthinkable isn’t a bad thing, it actually offers some hope and optimism for the future.
Whether or not Corbyn wins the fundamental nature of centrist politics is falling apart — that doesn’t stop just if Corbyn loses the next general election. Everywhere we look we see the same thing happening. This makes the current political climate unpredictable, not just now, but well into the future.
The future is in reality in the hands not of the baby boomers, or the gray vote much relied on by the Tories to win — but in the hands of the young: those of us who have grown up entirely under the neo-liberal system, those who want something more than this eternal misery.
We are also the ones leading the fightback against the neo-liberal assault — from Sander’s supporters in the US, to Corbyn’s here: it is no accident that these old school new deal style socialists gain the support of the young: it’s the first time in our lives that anybody has actually challenged the neo-liberal orthodoxy.
Therefore it follows that eventually, our generation will take over, and therefore we have the greatest chance of actually ending this nightmare. Whether it be through Corbyn, or means yet to be realized.
For now though, let’s all focus on the fight ahead — focus on the issues that are tearing this country apart, and make it clear that we want more than the scraps and torment the Tories give us year after year.
The sad thing is we’ve been conditioned into believing there is no alternative — this isn’t true, nor was it ever, and now is the chance to demonstrate that.
Remember the mainstream media continued to insist that May would decimate Corbyn in a landslide right up until the exit polling on the night of the election.
The same happened with Brexit—again I predicted that Leave would win—the majority of the MSM wouldn’t accept or even entertain such an idea: again, they were wrong.
They were also wrong about Trump in the same way (I didn’t make a prediction about Trump, although I did believe the establishment was underestimating the man.)
I’m not alone in making these points, nor the ones about Corbyn, Brexit etc, far from it, in fact, many people outside of the mainstream spectrum said exactly the same kinds of things, using the same kinds of evidence to support their points.
I doubt that a single one of the 400 industry professionals in attendance at this swanky award show even gave Corbyn a fighting chance—let alone any of those who won awards.
What does that say about journalism in this country?
It tells you that mainstream journalism is dead—and the journalists themselves are the ones with masses of blood on their hands.
In an odd way, the bloated and old LBC windbag who fuels the flames of racism and bigotry is perfectly representative of the state of journalism in this country: what his award symbolizes though is not a breathtaking success, but a series abject depressing, wilful, and systemic failures.