Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Distraction technique

Marina Hyde's latest article for the Guardian - on Nigel Farage and his continuing egregious influence on the news agenda - is, as usual, tremendous, but that hasn't stopped one Twitter user from pompously declaring: "The widespread liberal fancy that Farage is Roderick Spode and can be deftly undone by a judicious comical word is a major contributing reason to why he's done as much harm as he has. He is serious, and we should take him seriously."

Sure, the column is as jam-packed with pithy zingers as ever: talk of "a turd immunity strategy", the description of Dominic Cummings as "our own Otto von Jizzmark", the nauseating image of "the quickening in the Farage journalistic loins when, after several hours of fruitless sea perving, he finally spots a small craft full of desperate people coming into his sights". But any suggestion that the piece is merely frivolous, a light-hearted ribbing of a pantomime villain, seems woefully wide of the mark. On the contrary, it's razor-sharp, merciless and (I suspect) motivated by fury.

Admittedly, though, in focusing firmly on Farage and the way that his dog-whistle racist talk of a migrant crisis is helping Boris Johnson and the Tories to divert attention away from all of the myriad genuine crises, Hyde sidesteps the more uncomfortable question of the media's complicity in all of this. Without the oxygen of publicity, Farage would be just another gammon in a Barbour jacket and mustard trousers fulminating and foaming at the mouth on the cliffs of Dover. The Guardian may not be as guilty of giving it to him as other news outlets, but when you see mainstream reports like this one, then it becomes clear how Farage's ravings have been enabled to take hold.

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