“Corbyn’s strong showing came as a surprise to American readers,” Matt Taibbi writes of the U.K.’s Labour Party leader (shown). (Plashing Vole / CC BY-NC 2.0)

“If those of us in the media spent less time lecturing about the wisdom of the status quo, and more time treating disaffected voters like the overwhelming majority they are,” Matt Taibbi writes in a Rolling Stone piece about the recent U.K. general election, “we might at least stop face-planting on our election predictions.”

Condemning American media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s gains in Britain, the journalist delves into the “numerical deceptions” pundits and politicians have propagated in order to maintain the illusion of a center and keep the “have-nots” from voting in their own interests.

For decades pundits and pols have been telling progressive voters they don’t have the juice to make real demands, and must make alliances with more “moderate” and presumably more numerous “centrists” in order to avoid becoming the subjects of right-wing monsters like Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump.

Voters for decades were conned into thinking they were noisome minorities whose best path to influence is to make peace with the mightier “center,” which inevitably turns out to support military interventionism, fewer taxes for the rich, corporate deregulation and a ban on unrealistic “giveaway” proposals like free higher education. Those are the realistic, moderate, popular ideas, we’re told.

But it’s a Wizard of Oz trick, just like American politics in general. There is no numerically massive center behind the curtain. What there is instead is a tiny island of wealthy donors, surrounded by a protective ring of for-sale major-party politicians (read: employees) whose job it is to castigate too-demanding voters and preach realism.

Those pols do so with the aid of a bund of dependably alarmist sycophants in the commercial media, most of whom, whether they know it or not, technically inhabit the low end of the 1 percent and tend to be amazed that people out there are pissed off about stuff. … Such people of course have many very good reasons to embrace the status quo. The problem is, they’re not terribly numerous as a group, which unfortunately for them still matters in a democracy. It’s one of the unpleasant paradoxes of exclusive wealth. If you live in a democracy, you’re continually forced to manufacture the appearance of broad support for the regressive policies underpinning your awesome lifestyle. … Here and abroad, voters [have] stopped deferring to politicians and media figures and began making their own decisions about what is and is not realistic.

Read more.

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig