I just came across a brilliant piece over at the Kent News website- the folks who publish the free Kent On Sunday (KOS) newspaper. The blogger has another bash at ‘Immigrants-one rule for us, one rule for them.’
Whilst it is a little dated- 9th July 2009- it’s still an interesting piece as it’s written by a fella who claims in his article that he is ‘black’, ‘born in India’ and ’emigrated legally to the UK many years a go’, and thus cannot in any way have a xenophobic bone in his body. I am going to assume that he is not an ethnic Indian from any part of that country but was born to parents from elsewhere. It should be noted that the article was not written by Simon Robinson, who is the editor of ‘YourMedway’ for KOS Media, but by an anonymous author who claims his piece is a ‘rant.’ The definition of rant is: speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.
Reading down the comments section of the said piece it attracts alot of bigoted, some of which is racist, but of which much is xenophobic. It is also pretty clear that many of thos commenting on the piece fail to realise that any migration from within the European Economic Community (with some exceptions) is legal. They also fail to understand the difference between asylum seekers and economic migrants, and thus fail to understand the histories and motivations of either group.
What all this represents is a failure of local and regional media in confronting bigoted and misinformed opinion. Yes, it is is opinion and not news, but it is still being given a platform none the less. For a while far-right opinion has seen the lack of regulation and self-censorship by editors from local media outlets as an opportunity waiting to be seized. Because local newspapers are experiencing a greater fall in circulation than their national counter-parts editors are increasingly looking towards the sensationalist and populist to boost circulation. Hence why the letters pages of local newspapers are expanding (along with advertisement space) whilst content journalism is being sidelined. All of this is done under the auspicious attempt to brand it as vox populi.
This is why progressives must concern themselves with local and regional media, especially newspapers, particularly those that don’t have a history of political or social commentators and only operate as the equivalent of Parish newsletters. Unfortunately it is the right-wing who are adhereing to Jello Biafra’s turn of phrase, “Dont hate the media, become the media.”