This week’s matrix analysis begins, like many a journalistic tragedy/farce, with Brendan O’Neill. On 16/06/20 he published an article in The Spectator defending Priti Patel and Munira Mirza. They had both received criticism for their responses to the BLM movement and recent debates about the defacement/removal of statues of historical figures. As we shall see below, Mirza has been repeatedly challenged in the past for her comments around race and racism. According to Brendan this is because, “Nothing winds up the woke set more than an ethnic-minority person who refuses to sing from their hymn sheet.” He does qualify his praise of Mirza by stating, “For the record, I know Mirza and she has written for my magazine, Spiked!” This article is about the establishment connections Mirza and O’Neill fail to mention, for the record.
On 19/06/20 the Guardian published an article about a comprehensive internal review of the failures of Labour’s 2019 election campaign:
This report was commissioned by a group of Labour politicians called Labour Together. Their mission statement makes it clear they are attempting to reconcile the internal divisions of the Labour Party to improve chances of winning back voters the previous leadership is blamed for losing. To do this Labour Together argues for unity rather than factionalism:
Conservative MP Robert Jenrick hit the headlines this week for allegedly supplying insider information on changes to planning regulations and overruling the Planning Inspectorate, actions said to have saved billionaire Richard Desmond around £40M. Jenrick has admitted that his actions were unlawful, however he retains his position as an MP, sent his junior minister, Chris Pincher, to answer questions over his conduct in Parliament, and continues to enjoy the “full confidence” of Boris Johnson.
In step with perception and criticism of the rest of the media, discussion around Question Time guest selection usually revolves around whether it has a “right wing” or “left wing” bias. These accusations are relatively comfortable for the BBC as they can resort to an increasingly common defence: “well, we’re getting flak from both sides so must be somewhere in the middle!”
Left and right is also allowed for in the official statement of the BBC on QT guest selection: “Question Time aims to select a panel with a broad range of views, knowledge and experience” according to the programme’s official website.
What this statement doesn’t allow for, in terms of a “range of views, knowledge and experience”, is that the overwhelming majority of QT guests represent the elite, which hugely limits the range of views, knowledge and experience presented.
Here at The Free Press we want to expose the matrix of relationships and associations between journalists and elite figures in politics, business and other aspects of the “Establishment”. In this edition we link a seemingly innocuous personal meeting to Dominic Cummings and his metastatic presence throughout the establishment. From this one example we can see the intricate relationships of money, power and influence that figures like Cummings can manipulate to their advantage. His command of these connections perhaps goes some way to explaining why an entire government is willing to sacrifice public opinion rather than hold him to account!
Journalists and media organisations are embedded within, and influenced by, a wider matrix of relationships and associations with elite figures in politics, business and other areas of what has been called “The Establishment”. The Free Press are keen to expose the complex internal structures of this closed system and analyse the ways in which it frames what the media reports and how it is presented.
“The language around Covid-19 has sometimes felt trite and misleading. You do not survive the illness through fortitude or strength of character, whatever the Prime Minister’s colleagues will tell us.”
So said Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in an opening monologue that went viral and saw the presenter praised for her “frank takedown of the language used to talk about coronavirus”, her “powerful” and “extraordinary” intervention.