Owen Jones mounts that high horse to denounce the partiality of the British press:
Finally: there’s a debate about media bias. It’s becoming an unfortunate missed opportunity, though, because so far it’s only focusing on the leftwing blogs that have emerged in the past couple of years. Whatever the failings of, say, the Canary, it only gained traction because there is a substantial body of opinion in Britain which feels marginalised, unheard, and attacked by the broader media.
The reason for that is this. Britain’s press is not an impartial disseminator of news and information. It is, by and large, a highly sophisticated and aggressive form of political campaigning and lobbying.
This is, apparently, a new finding. The thing is, on the very same day, over in the media pages of the same newspaper, Roy Greenslade (who knows quite a bit about this) tells us that:
Sure, it was always the case with newspapers. No one reading newspapers down the years can have been in any doubt how their political stance has influenced their content. Our press has been proudly partisan. The result has been blatant bias. It is an understatement to call it spin. Heavily angled stories and headlines are the norm.
Comment articles merely underline the prejudice in the so-called “news” items. They are indistinguishable. Nor is there the slightest embarrassment about omission, about failing to inform readers about news that, for one reason or another, fails to fit the editorial agenda.
This is the way that it has been for years. Owen also makes this point:
The distinction between “news” and “opinion” throughout much of the British press is blurred. I write opinion, and it goes in the opinion section of this newspaper. The press abounds with writers who are just as opinionated as me, but their opinions go in the news section. I am a political activist, but so are they: they, too, use their “news” writing as a means to advance political aims and causes, even if they pretend otherwise.
Any impartial reading of The Guardian's environment pages will prove the veracity of that statement.
The point being that Owen really shouldn't be surprised about this at all. That very partiality is what he owes his own employment to after all. This is all worthy of a certain snigger of amusement of course, but there is indeed a solution:
A media so weighted in favour of the status quo makes progressive, campaigning journalism a necessity. Much of modern journalism exists – often aggressively so – to defend the way society is currently structured. And yet when what remains a small, marginalised counterweight emerges, to make the case for a different form of society, it is portrayed as a dangerous threat to journalism.
Yes, some leftwing blogs exhibit problematic approaches to journalism: but then there’s the likes of Novara which is at the cutting edge of new left ideas. But if the mainstream media catered more for views which challenge the existing order of things, a vacuum would not have been left to be filled. In this year’s election, four out of 10 voters just opted for a Labour party offering an unapologetically socialist platform. It is a travesty that the ideas represented by that manifesto remain fringe opinion in the British press. Our media has a straightforward choice. Cater for the growing demand for dissenting views – or be challenged by new media outlets that do.
That's rather the case we've been making for many decades now. The demand for something calls forth the supply of it in a market based system. If people want more left wing and campaigning journalism then presumably they'll be willing to pay for it and so it will indeed arrive as a result of that profit motive. That is, the very system Owen dislikes so much is the very one giving him what he wants, the desires of the populace reflected in what is offered to the populace.
Why change what works?