'The EU are bullies', 'Migrants are faking', 'The unemployed are lazy scroungers', 'Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser', 'Labour is antisemitic'. Sadly, these are things that tens of thousands across the UK have come to believe. Because 'everyone knows that'. Right...?
Wrong. They 'know' these hideous tropes are 'true' because they have been manipulated into believing them by the daily diet of agenda-driven tripe they are spoonfed by the mainstream media.
In my teens, a much wiser person than I advised me to 'question everything you're told'. It helped me grow into an opinionated, argumentative adult who thinks before accepting anything blindly. Back then, I was sporting spiky pink hair and safety pins, and going on marches because we were going to change the world (we haven't...yet).
It went like this: When you are told something, either in person, in a TV programme, by a politician, or in a newspaper - ask these questions:
1. Who is telling you, and who is paying them to do it?
2. Why do they want you to believe what they are saying?
3. Who benefits from you believing them?
4. Who disagrees with them?
5. What are the potential results of you not believing what you are told?
The vast majority of the UK media is controlled by just five billionaires, who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo - read: avoiding at all costs a socialist Labour government that would make them pay their fair share of taxes and reduce their massive influence in our politics.
No phrase has ever struck such fear into the mercenary hearts of Britain's political and corporate establishment that the six simple little words of Corbyn's Labour slogan.
'For The Many, Not The Few'
It's no coincidence that the vast majority of said media has gleefully lapped up, escalated and promoted every potential slur and negative 'news' story on the Corbyn-led Labour Party - even, recently, some outlets which have historically been supportive have turned their coats, citing, of course, Brexit...
I have personally met people who did not (and in some cases still do not) know the meaning of the word antisemitism - but they 'know' Corbyn 'and his mates' are antisemites. How? Because they have been told the tale so often that it has become true for them. And didn't he lay that wreath? 'We saw the pictures in the papers, so it must be true...'
Just yesterday, for example, the Mail ran a completely false story claiming Corbyn had tried to intervene to prevent the suspension of Chris Williamson MP, who has outrageously been accused of - guess what - antisemitism...
The BBC's Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, whose coverage was officially found to have been biased against Jeremy Corbyn, nevertheless shared, and refused to retract, a completely untrue tale regarding the suspension of Ken Livingstone.
The fact that anything refuting these smears gets virtually no exposure on either the BBC or in the mainstream media only serves to bolster the credibility, and the toxic effect, of the initial misinformation.
The recent meteoric rise of independent online media is beginning to balance the scales, with more people accessing alternative views through outlets like the Skwawkbox, Evolve Politics, The Canary, Vox Political and of course ourselves.
As such, these sites have been lined up for attack: regularly smeared as 'hard left' 'fake news' - and of course, 'antisemitic'. Just yesterday, a whole raft of sites who are members of the Independent Media UK group were targeted with accusations of antisemitism over alleged comments in a Facebook group.
I won't include a link to the resulting piece by Mark Di Stefano, a 'journalist' who was instrumental in opposing the invitation of Canary founder Kerry Anne Mendoza (a BAME woman from a Jewish family) to give the inaugural Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture. If you must read it, it's on Buzzfeed.
There are a range of different techniques that the mainstream media uses to drive its chosen, or instructed, agendas. Take a look at them and please, just think first the next time you're tempted to take something as truth at face value...
McCarthyism: The practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.
Witch-hunt: In current language, "witch-hunt" metaphorically means an investigation usually conducted with much publicity, supposedly to uncover subversive activity, disloyalty and so on, but really to weaken political opposition.
The Labour purge of Corbyn-supporting members in 2015/16 is a good example of both the above
Ad hominem: A fallacious strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument.
Corbyn's coat, Corbyn's badge, Corbyn's poppy...
Smear campaign: Also referred to as a smear tactic or simply a smear, is an effort to damage or call into question someone's reputation, by propounding negative propaganda. It can be applied to individuals or groups.
Corbyn's a Czech spy, Corbyn's a terrorist sympathiser, The EU are bullies - leading to...
Herd bias: Also known as the 'bandwagon effect', is a psychological phenomenon in which people rationalise that a course of action is the right one because 'everybody else' is doing it.
Confirmation bias: Also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one's pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses.
Cognitive dissonance: Psychological stress experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person.
Appeal to Anger: When the emotions of anger, hatred, or rage are substituted for evidence in an argument.
Anti-Corbyn headlines: 'Brexit Betrayal' 'Apologists for Terror' 'Jezza's Jihadi Comrades'
Appeal to fear: A fallacy in which a person attempts to create support for an idea by attempting to increase fear towards an alternative. The appeal to fear is common in marketing and politics.
'Labour will bankrupt Britain' 'Labour will make you pay more tax'
At a time when anyone with eyes cannot fail to recognise the damage this Tory government has done and continues to do to the ordinary people of this country, it is shameful that they are basically being given a bye by the MSM.
More than 1000 homeless people have died on the streets of the UK since Theresa May became PM - more than 3000 since the Tories took power in 2010. Millions are using foodbanks. Tens of thousands of benefit claimants have died as a result of cruel DWP policies. Our government is selling arms to dictatorships that use them to kill children - and Theresa May's hubby is making a profit out of it!
But Labour could have a small number of members (0.0087% - who are under investigation) who hold antisemitic opinions, right...? Top of the hour! Barely a day goes by without a mention on the Beeb...
Not to mention the laughable blanket coverage of Ted Bower's pathetic book - Corbyn eats own brand beans! The swine! A Dangerous Hero indeed...
Ken Loach got it exactly right in his 2017 speech at the Durham Miners Gala, and we must take heart from the fact that his words are coming true.
"The closer we get to power, make no mistake, the more vicious the attacks will get, and the stronger we will need to be. If we think we've been under attack, we ain't seen nothing yet!"