Having actually worked in politics, in the dissemination of political news even, there’s an important question to ask The Guardian here. How do you think this worked before online political news?
Now, in a first-of-its-kind election monitoring project conducted by the Guardian and research agency Revealing Reality, a group of voters have allowed their phone use to be recorded for three days – and the results from each individual’s phone show how the traditional media ecosystem is changing and disintegrating.
Charlie in Sunderland consumed much of his election news through memes on lad humour Facebook pages, spending more time looking at posts of Boris Johnson using the word “boobies” than reading traditional news stories. Fiona in Bolton checked out claims about Jeremy Corbyn’s wealth by going to a website called Jihadi Watch before sharing the far-right material in a deliberate bid to anger her leftwing friends. And Shazi in Sheffield followed the BBC leaders’ interviews purely by watching videos of party supporters chanting the Labour leader’s name outside the venue.
Very few used to read the leaders in The Guardian before casting their vote you know. Very few agreed with such leaders, or opinion columns, as we found out as soon as there were comments sections below them. This being that grand shock to the intellectual classes, that the mass of the people worked and believed entirely orthogonally to the way they were told to by the intellectual classes. And wasn’t it a joy to be around at that time?
Not that said mainstream media were all that much better. At Ukip we had one incident where the political bloke at The Times (Sam Coates?) told the world that Ukip wouldn’t be standing in the next euro-elections. The ones we came second in as it happened, beating the then ruling Labour Party. We never really did get a correction nor an apology out of him, that sort of disinformation was just fine back then because we were outsiders.
But back to our interest in The Guardian’s maiden auntish lip pursing. This is just how political news – like any other – has moved through the colon of society. The dream that the people consider the issues and vote according to the facts is simply nonsense and always has been. After all, why do you think it is that politicians spend so much time creating narratives rather than laying out facts?