Buying the Morning Star: Better Than Screaming About Liddle.

This post was written by Reuben Bard-Rosenberg on January 14, 2010
Posted Under: Media

People are in a frenzy, and understandably. It appears that the Independent is soon to be taken over by russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev and his favoured candidate for the editors chair is Rod Liddle – a particularly vile specimin of humanity.

So far I have not joined the thousands in the facebook group threatening a boycot should he become editor even if I sympathise with their anguish.

I do think that it is important to be a bit clear eyed about what kind of paper the Independent currently is. As I reported last year on The Third Estate, it did indeed back the right wing military coup in Honduras against an elected left of centre government. And while it does screech loudly about climate change – as perhaps one should – its wider politics are fairly mixed. Meanwhile, this sequence of potential events raises wider issues than whether one man gets to be editor. The point is that even if Liddle isn’t chosen, the choice will still be up to Lebedev – a man whose Evening Standard newspaper has been vociforously beating the Afghan war drum. At the end of the day, there is a limit to how far we can consider any part of the major corporate owned media ‘our own’ . However progressive a paper might be at one point in time, the reality is that it’s future can be bought and sold.

So perhaps rather than put all of our energy into trying to save one relatively progressive paper from a devil-like figure, perhaps it is more useful to support genuine non-corporate bastions of progressive politics. Purely by chance I bought the Morning Star on my way to work yesterday, and you know what, it is far far better than when my parents used to get it a few years back. There were only 16 pages, yet in contrast to my experience with the broadsheets, every pagecontained something in which I was interested. So why not support it. And while your at it, spread the word of  The Third Estate, and, um, be nicer to trot paper sellers on demos. I used to be one of them and you guys can be damn cold.

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Reader Comments


Great post, Reuben.

My favourite Morning Star headline, from August 23 1940, announcing the death of Leon Trotsky: “A Counter Revolutionary Gangster Passes”. Ouch.

I used to only buy the Independent, then bought the Guardian one day and saw just how much of a tabloid the thing is. There’s no Soviet Union for the Star to slobber over anymore, so I might give it a go.

Written By jon on January 15th, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

LOL cheers. You probably still get the odd sttistic about wheat production in the ukraine. Old habbits die hard.

Written By Reuben on January 15th, 2010 @ 2:06 pm
David M

Despite the Murdoch connection, I’d recommend The Times. For me it’s by far the best written and best presented paper (with the best sport section…), but I enjoy reading it because it challenges my views, and in turn that invites me as someone of the left to think about my own views, and my arguements often run against those presented in the paper. And its not like the stupid ramblings of the Telegraph or the Mail – The Times to me seems more sensible, articulate and balanced, and keeps everything in reasonably suitable context. In fact the worst thing about The Times is indeed the Murdoch connection.

Besides, I can find left-of-center views worth reading on The Third Estate – better than the Guardian or Independent :-)

Written By David M on January 15th, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

Reuben, as usual I think you’re being overly critical of a left-wing national newspaper without sufficient substantiation. You’re also insufficiently concerned by issues of balance in the ‘public sphere’ for want of a better term. The loss of a right-wing paper would be fairly insignificant. The loss of a left-wing one, with only three in the country (excluding the Morning Star) would be catastrophic. However, the upside, which you allude to in your final sentence, is the role the internet has to play which I think is far more significant than the Morning Star will ever be. Print is a dying medium. The internet provides the opportunity – even if it has not yet been fully realised – to redress a balance which has been tipped far too long by the nature of corporate media.

Written By Salman Shaheen on January 15th, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

I agree with Reuben. It would not be catastrophic if we lost the Morning Star. It does not provide balance in the media, but preaches to the converted. And it promotes a reactionary and anti-human form of socialism. For more reasons not to buy it, see:

Written By BobFromBrockley on January 25th, 2010 @ 10:36 am

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