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Elites dominate media

26th Dec 20166m32s

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  • I was watching a YouTube video yesterday which was a Question Time panel. So, it was Laurie Penny addressing some of the concerns of Brexit voters, post the Brexit vote. And talking about how, perhaps, that the people who voted for Brexit were misled by the media, misled by the politicians who were spearheading that effort and it was a panel based in Wakefield and a lot of the people in the audience were pushing back at her saying that, actually, they weren't misled and they weren't stupid, or nor were they fascist or racist. And we've been seeing this a lot lately, this idea being parroted around that people who vote for Brexit, people who voted for Trump, were essentially too stupid to know how to vote for their own good. And, I mean, this is something that I disagree with, I wasn't a Brexit voter and I wasn't a Trump voter, I'm not American, but I definitely think that this idea that people who opted for a particular choice in an election, a choice different to one's own, necessarily must be stupid or are people who have no idea what they're doing and therefore need to be told by one's self what to do. And I was just looking at some statistics and so I've got a few stats here and this is from an article, actually in The Guardian, from February this year. 71% of top military are privately educated, 74% of top judges in the UK, 51% of top journalists, 61% of the top doctors, half of the Cabinet, the political Cabinet, and 32% of MPs in general. And of journalists, 51% of journalists are educated in Oxford or Cambridge, so that's just two universities in the whole of the country, really. Three quarters of the judiciary are Oxford and Cambridge educated. And again, half of the Cabinet. In terms of the FTSE 100, so this is the top performing businesses in the stock market, in the UK, three quarters were privately educated, roughly three quarters. This is back in the late eighties, today it's 34%. So, when you think about the kind of people you see on TV talking about issues, talking about the things that matter to the population of this country, you've got to keep in mind that a lot of people you're seeing on TV are people who are privately educated. So these are independent schools which require fees, in other words, you need to have money in order to attend these schools. And, quite a few of them will then have gone on to be educated in top universities like Oxford and Cambridge. And in particular, journalists it seems, they seem to be cut from a very small select group of people who were privately educated and go to Oxford and Cambridge. So overall, and just to kind of give the baseline here, only 7% of the general population attend fee-paying independent schools. Which means that 93% of the people in this country who go to school, aren't getting the same sort of education that these people in these top professions are getting. So, when I was watching this video yesterday, it really made me think of this, because the thing is, all the opinions we see on TV, whether it's from politicians we support, politicians we don't support, or journalists we support, or journalists we don't support or agree with, most of these opinions are coming from people who for the most part haven't had the upbringing and the formative experiences that the majority of the people in this country have had. When was the last time you saw somebody from a working class background, as a journalist on TV talking about Brexit, talking about Donald Trump? I mean, I can't remember this. I mean, I don't watch TV that much, but even when I do tune into the news or tune into topical discussion shows, I don't really, I can't remember the last working class background person I saw on there. Now maybe I did see somebody, maybe, I mean, how would you know, first of all? If someone's had a good education then you can't tell what background they're from. But, just looking at these statistics, and these are authoritative statistics by the way, these aren't just people who went and surveyed a handful and then used induction to deduce the overall percentages. No, they actually looked at the overall numbers. Looking at these statistics, what's clear is that if you think that the person you're seeing on TV isn't from a working class background then at least half the time you're going to be right. If you think that the person on TV is somebody who went to an independent fee-paying school, at least half the time, for most of the people you're seeing on TV, media personalities, journalists, again you're going to be right. And again, only 7% of the general population went to independent fee-paying schools. Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong, with people wanting to send their kids to fee-paying schools. I think everybody wants the best for their kids, and you obviously want the best for yourself in your life. If you can get yourself into an institution that's going to help you advance faster than normal then you would do that. Life is competitive and life isn't fair. That's just how it is. But, I think that when we think about the opinions that are being paraded on TV, on radio, and the news in general, what we need to keep in mind is that we're probably not hearing the voices of the majority of people in this country. So, in other words, if I'm getting told by a whole bunch of politicians and media personalities that I should vote to stay in the EU, at the end of the day, their opinion, they don't represent a diverse enough group of the overall population for me to care enough about their opinion. They're coming from a very select group, select sub-set within our population. So, really I need to be speaking to people from other groups within our population. I need to be speaking to working class people, I need to be speaking to middle class people, I need to be speaking to upper class people, I need to be speaking to people from ethnic backgrounds, and not just people who all had a very similar education. I'm not envious of these people of their education, I mean, I went to a normal comprehensive school but I worked hard and I got myself into a good college, a great college actually, and I did quite well for myself there. So I'm not envious against people who had this experience, but I think that, what we need more of in the general media, and I don't just mean the mainstream media, I mean even the alternative media, we need more people from the street, basically. We need more street talk. We need people who haven't had this sort of education and don't belong to a select group. We need more of those people speaking out. We need their voices to be heard.