Having a post lunch tootle around cyberspace on a grim Tuesday afternoon, I happened to stumble upon the #suggestacorbynsmear activity on Twitter.
Little did I know that Mr Corbyn stands to the left on busy Underground escalators, is due to make ties illegal if he comes to power – and my particular favourite – that he once took Darth Vader on as an apprentice.
However, as amusing as these tweets are, they offer us comms professionals an interesting insight into the media landscape currently surrounding the Labour leadership race.
After all, #suggestacorbynsmear is the unbridled reaction of a public which is tired of the negativity from the UK’s ‘traditional’ media towards the Corbyn campaign.
For the past month, the mainstream media has been awash with the face of the ‘Bearded One’ – often attached to scare-mongering headlines such as: ‘Corbyn’s bid to turn Britain into Zimbabwe’; or a personal favourite snippet of click-bait, ‘How Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the prospect of an asteroid ‘wiping out’ humanity…’.
Having read headlines like these you’d be forgiven for failing to see the irony in those offered up by the public via #suggestacorbynsmear.
I’m sure some reading this will be thinking that I’m some beard wearing, hard lefty, trying to canvass support for The Cause.
However, the point I’m trying to make is not a political one, but in fact concerns the UK’s traditional media outlets and the different view it offers to wider public sentiment.
Taken on his social media campaign alone, Mr Corbyn seems to be popular and leading the pack by some distance with impressions for his #Corbyn4Leader hashtag dwarfing that of his nearest competitor: Surely proof that the man does have some popular appeal or clout with the electorate.
Why then, given that a large section of the population either support or are at least engaged with the Corbyn campaign, is the mainstream media so against his efforts?
Surely, this is counter-intuitive and could expose how out of step the mainstream media is with the opinions of the public it claims to serve. I’m not naïve enough to think that newspapers don’t have a political bent, but the latest media coverage has been noticeably contrasting with views offered elsewhere.
Some will say that social media isn’t fully representative when it comes to assessing the thoughts of an entire electorate given its younger user demographic.
However, what they need to realise is that this demographic are the voters of tomorrow and that social media is only going to grow as the repository of truly public opinion.
What’s more, this trend will only be accelerated further if traditional media outlets continue to give us a distorted, sensationalised version of events.
Andy Shaw is an account director at Kindred
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