There is a reason that the journalists I single out for criticism are the Guardian’s two avowedly leftwing columnists, George Monbiot and Owen Jones. Precisely because the left is almost entirely unrepresented in the establishment media, we lack the ability to put pressure on individual journalists. We have no leverage over them at all.
Who else are we going to shame into supporting Assange at this moment critical to the surivival of press freedom if not Monbiot and Jones. Will the left haranguing Andew Neil make him speak up for Assange? Can we influence Andrew Marr? Or Laura Kuenssberg? Or Robert Peston? We already know the answer. They are transparently courtiers of the British state. If the British state decides Assange must be permanently disappeared into a super-max jail in the US to silence him, they will continue to meekly turn a blind eye.
But Monbiot and Jones can be shamed, they can be pressured, they can be embarrassed. There is therefore an obligation on the left to turn the heat up on them as much as we can.
There is a reason that Monbiot and Jones keep letting down the left. And that is because they are embedded inside a media institution, the Guardian, that has absolutely no commitment to anti-colonial, anti-war, anti-imperialist values. The pair are there to sharply delimit what the left is allowed to think, what it can imagine, what it may champion. It is Monbiot and Jones who hold the left back from aspiring to more and sow the seeds of division on the left, not their critics. Because the left cannot mature, cannot properly debate its values and goals, as long as it allows the frame for that debate to be set on the hostile terrain of the Guardian.
Criticising Monbiot and Jones is not to “demonise” or “attack” them. It is to challenge the idea that, because there is much good in Monbiot and Jones, we must pretend that the bad is not there too and that the bad is not significant. It is to remember that we do not have to settle for the slightly compromised, rather than the deeply compromised, simply because that is all that the corporate media will ever offer us.