WATCH: Samuel K expertly explains why the UK media is so shamelessly pro-Tory

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"Just how cosy is the relationship between the media and the Conservative Party? In this video, I'm going to show you that it's very cosy indeed.

Most people, especially those who see themselves as left leaning, get the sense that something is deeply wrong with our media.

Since the rise of Brexit and Boris Johnson, feelings of distrust have only gotten worse - with just 28% of people in the UK saying they trust the news. And, quite frankly, that's a huge problem. 

So, the question then becomes, what's causing this problem?

Well, ideally in a healthy democracy, you'd want to have a mainstream press that calls out corruption where it sees it; holds the powerful to account over illegal wars; and exposes lobbying exactly when it happens. But, probably most importantly, you'd want a mainstream press that isn't concentrated in the hands of a few billionaire media business moguls.

Unfortunately, in the UK today, our press is the furthest away from this idea. Just three companies own and control 90% of all the news that gets consumed in this country, 

Those three companies are: News Corp owned by Rupert Murdoch, the Daily Mail group, and reach PLC.

In this video, I'm going to be discussing who controls the news that we get in this country, and how media bosses are connected to big players in the Conservative Party, and how they set narratives and produce smear campaigns against other parties and their leaders in order to make sure their chosen Tory candidates get to be PM.

That start with control. As mentioned earlier, having local, independent, decentralised news organisations is the best way to ensure that a few extremely rich media moguls don't get to control the storylines.

But, the reality is, these media moguls are currently in charge of our news. They get to decide what gets included in the news agenda, and what doesn't. 

Secondly, of the three companies mentioned earlier, the Daily Mail Group, and News Corp in particular, seem to have the most grip over our political system.

News Corp, for example, owned by Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch, has had his papers back every politician who's gone on to become prime minister since 1979.

 His media outlets include: The Sun, which by the way, is the most read paper in the country, The Times, The Sunday Times, Press Association and, until 2018, Sky News.

Murdoch’s media outlets account for a quarter of all news consumption in the UK.

The Daily Mail group, owned by billionaire Lord Rothermere, controls the Daily Mail, the Mail Online and The Metro.

Together, these companies have continuously set the narrative for what we should think:

Going to war in Iraq? They will print the lies of Blair and Bush. 

Destroying the welfare system? They’ll frame it as ‘living within our means’. 

So, now that we've established that a small group of billionaires run our press, just what is their relationship with the Conservative Party? 

Well first let's start with the current PM. 

It would be an understatement to say that the media barons have got a very personal relationship with Johnson.

On the day that Boris Johnson announced that he was seeking a general election in 2019, him, and The Sun owner, had a private meeting. And we now know that Johnson had at least five meetings with representatives of Murdoch's newspapers between July and September 2019.

What possibly could they have been discussing? Well, here's a clue: Rupert Murdoch personally wanted Brexit.

While Murdoch's papers made out as though they backed Leave so the UK could be some independent state, free from the shackles of Brussels, in reality, it was simply because Murdoch wanted more power.

Anthony Hilson from the Evening Standard said he once asked Rupert Murdoch, why he was so opposed to the European Union. “That’s easy.” He replied, “when I go into Downing Street, they do what I say, but when I go to Brussels, they take no notice.”

The reason Johnson is Prime Minister is because his close relationships and regular talks with Murdoch, and other media bosses, gave him immunity from his corruption, lies and illegal activity.

Murdoch was assured that his interests - to pay as little tax as possible, and to make sure his papers don't get regulated like they should - would be taken care of with Johnson.

But it's not just the newspapers. 

The BBC is typically seen around the world as a credible global news service. But lately, that credibility has been called into question. The chumminess between England's papers, the Tory party ,and the BBC is undeniable:

The Chair of the BBC, Richard Sharp, is a former Tory Party donor. 

Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC, is a former chairman of a local Conservative Party. 

The former head of Westminster political programmes on the BBC, Robbie Gibb, went on to work at communications for Theresa May.

And Andrew Neil was Editor at The Sunday Times, the newspaper, of course, owned by Rupert Murdoch.

So, what does this all mean in practice?
 This is where we talk about smear campaigns and building a narrative.

The news industry is like any other industry - it seeks to make a profit.

When there's profit to be made, for example by the extremely powerful military industrial complex looking to make an extra buck by starting another illegal war, Murdoch and other members of the corrupt UK media establishment will side with those forces over the mass movements of people who didn't want war - ridiculing people who spoke out against it, and painting them as unpatriotic.

But specifically, I want to use the last General Election in 2019 to show how this chummy relationship between the Tories and the media critically helped Johnson to achieve a landslide win.

First, I want to make it clear that I don't think the media, and the media alone, can take all the blame for Labour's results in 2019.

 But it would be absolutely foolish to not acknowledge how the insanely unbalanced, biassed, and negative portrayal of Labour's policies - and specifically Corbyn himself - were an absolute gift to the Tories.

Let’s start back in 2017. 

It’s worth remembering that, by the time this election came around, media bosses were already particularly hostile to Corbyn, due to his refusal to take orders from them. 

Surprisingly though, the Labour Party did quite well. John Prescott noted that when Rupert Murdoch saw the results, he reportedly stormed out of the room. 

Now, what if I told you that the negative coverage of the Labour Party doubled by the time the next election came around?

In 2019, Professor David Deacon of Loughborough University said:

“Our results show that the Labour Party may have had a rough ride in the 2017 General Election, but it paled by comparisons of the 2019 campaign”

That same report also noted that by that same measure, negative coverage of the Conservatives almost halved in the final week of the 2019 campaign. 

Here's another shocking fact that you might not have known: former Labour MPs who weren't keen on Corbyn were given a lot of airtime.

Former Labour MP and harsh Corbyn critic, Ian Austin, received three times more coverage than Jo Swinson, the leader of the Lib Dems in that election.

The BBC has also been criticised for a number of mishaps over that election. Take for example the launch of the manifestos of both parties.

When the Institute for Fiscal Studies released statements condemning both manifestos, Labour's negative verdict was covered 15 times in the next two days, but when the Conservatives released theirs, the Institute's verdict was only mentioned once.

Or how about this clip where laughter was cut out at the end of this woman's question about whether Boris Johnson thought it was important to tell the truth, which the BBC called a “mistake”. 

In this video, I hope I've made it clear that the relationship between the Tories and our media institutions is corrupt. 

Some people argue that we shouldn't talk about the 2019 election anymore, and that we should move forward. I disagree. Any future Labour leader will have to contend with a rabidly unfair right wing press.

We need to keep raising how insane it is that we allow a handful of wealthy oligarchs to essentially control all the information we receive - information that oftentimes go against working class interests.

If we're going to have any hope of fixing our broken democracy, first, we're going to need to fix our broken media."

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