Countering the right-wing media

Of late there has been a surge of Right-wing media, twisting and distorting facts or even just blatantly lying, clearly hoping that the old adage attributed to Mark Twain “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” still holds some weight.

As Conservatives push their message, the opposition parties must be smarter, there is no point in responding directly to try to put right their ceaseless mantra of misinformation, little point in reacting or name-calling. Instead, we must be faster, more cautious, and cleverer.

Instead, we need to be fervent in checking our facts and prolific in our reading and understanding of the political events both current and past, we need to use social media on our terms to challenge the Tory rhetoric our history.
Tories are now exploiting Facebook tools, who has not seen a fleeting post of Tory misinformation flash past them. Lib Dems are local campaigners, it is our strength, and we need to be showing communities our actions and words in supporting them, it can feel like self-promotion, not something that comes naturally to most pragmatic Lib Dems but in the current climate of misinformation, ask yourself would you prefer a Tory offering misinformation or a Lib Dem helping the local communities.

Find your local projects, that capture your interest and highlight them for the good of the local community, take pictures, talk to others about the value of local projects and above all enjoy volunteering and being involved in local communities.

Short videos work too, if you see a loose paving stone, overflowing bin, speeding cars or any other issues make sure you capture yourself or others on a short video, using these on Facebook helps to cut through the algorithms of Facebook which automatically give them more exposure.

In a year where there seems to have been a never-ending blitz against the very ethos of being a Liberal, it is up to us to spread the word.

Never doubt the Tories will be campaigning hard over the next few months, they’ll be trying to make up ground of their continuing slow and shambolic Covid19 response, the shambolic handling of schools and exams, their stance against free school meals, and we’ll see a never ending blitz of misinformation coming out where they’ll claim to be responsible for every imaginable initiative, it makes no odds to them whether they are or aren’t responsible, it’s just the name exposure that matters to them.

We have increasingly seen this approach to social media in the 2019 election and in the 2020 US elections, until UK politics becomes less adversarial and more collaborative, which will require electoral reform, we are going to be seeing a lot more of this type of approach.

So, what do we need to do…? We need to be slicker, smarter and to remain authentic.

Why authentic, because above all ask the question, why are we involved in local and national politics, what is it we are hoping to achieve? It is usually because you want to make a difference in your local communities. That is what our residents appreciate, that we are genuinely there to help them, not seeing them as a Tory meal ticket to the next election or County seat.

* A nurse by profession, Ellen Nicholson works in the university sector leading a programme that tackles primary care workforce development and healthcare. She was the Liberal Democrat candidate in South West Wiltshire in the 2019 General Election.

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This entry was posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds.
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7 Comments

  • Steve Trevethan 4th Jan '21 - 6:01pm

    Thank you very much indeed for a most important piece!
    Alas, the situation is so much graver than you present, valuable as your piece is.

    “(A) deal which was always going to be made, was the subject of pretend cliffhanger drama and tension by the entire professional media and the entire professional political class, both government and opposition, not just in the U. K. but right across Europe and on other continents too”
    From “The Fake Political and Media Class” from https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

    We desperately need the leaders of our party to speak truth to power, to the professional media, to group interests, to us and to our fellow citizens.

    And we need to keep our nerve and demand truth from our leaders and our media, not least the B. B. C., all of whom we pay and, too often, trust.

    And we should follow up on your excellent suggestions!

    P. S. What a fine example is Charles Kennedy who spoke truth to the powerful in politics, the Civil Service and the corporate media in opposing the Iraq War!

  • An excellent post from someone I would regard as an impressive parliamentary candidate. I just wish there were more of Ellen’s calibre.

  • John Marriott 5th Jan '21 - 2:56pm

    The Tories have any number of newspapers backing them. Labour has The Guardian and, I suppose, The Mirror. Since the demise of the News Chronicle (a bit before my time) Liberalism doesn’t really have a defender.

    And yet….There was a rumour back in 1987 that, on the Sunday before the General Election of that year, The Observer was all ready to run an editorial supporting the Alliance; but withdrew it when threatened with a strike by the print unions.

  • Peter Hirst 5th Jan '21 - 3:13pm

    The solutions are many. People have a right to choose what they read. More stringent laws with penalties will help though in the end we must help people want to read our material. Pointing out inaccuracies, making our stuff more palatable and improving accessibility will all help. We need to get better at pointing back to our values such as fairness, freedom and cooperation.

  • John Littler 12th Jan '21 - 7:32pm

    The Independent does claim to support Liberal values and is probably the nearest, although the Guardian has again started to be a little less unsympathetic.
    There are signs among the Graun postings that Starmer’s acceptance of the Tory EU line has cost the Remain support which may go to the LibDems

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