Media does influence
Following the wake up call that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have given, it was no surprise that certain papers that support either Labour or the Tories, have started a smear campaign. The major one – so they thought – was the Telegraph’s attempt to suggest Clegg had accepted questionable donations.
Of course this is all unfounded and Nick has said all this is public domain and declared – there is no story here.
The Telegraph has not been the only paper to do this. The right wing Daily Mail devoted a whole feature to the so called ‘The great Liberal deception’, but as the Guardian points out if the Daily Mail has set its sights on Clegg he is doing something right.
However, as unfounded as their allegations are about the Liberal Democrats “would release 60,000 convicts”, this thought and others, including allowing serious offenders to vote (see Birmingham Post: Labour prints photos of serial killers next to Lib Dem candidate in…) have begun to circulate amongst the public and as alot of people get their politics from sound bites they read in the papers or hear from opposition MP’s, this is a trend that needs to be countered.
On Twitter I have watched many of these unfounded smears being circulated by Labour and Tory supporters, and watched and participated in a counter “intelligence” posting campaign, which includes countering the lies with the facts.
The Tories can claim that the papers have no influence and are not trying to sway the electorate, but when you remmeber just under a year ago the Murdoch owned Sun changed it’s support publically from red to blue, any one with a good bit of common sense will know the media does influence. This is how the majority of people are informed on their political points.
So my point being, we need to spend the time making sure to take the fight back – not with smear, as this is not what we as Liberal Democrats do, but with fighting falsehood with facts – if someone says that (and this includes Gordon Brown who oft repeated this on last nights debate) the Liberal Democrats will with their 10 year asylum amnesty, allow a flood of illegal immigrants who will be granted immediate citizenship – counter this with the facst, as Nick Clegg did – no this is not true, this is not an open door, this is a one off to deal with the swept under the carpet illegal immigrants ALREADY here.
The one thing I have seen that I have admired greatly about Nick Clegg is that he fights back with the facts and sticks to them, no matter how many times someone tries to twist and turn it – and that is our duty too. As campaigning is viral across the web, seek out those giving false information and show them facts – show them exactly what it says in the manifesto, grab the quote as it was said, not how it was twisted, source, research and counter.
They can smear all they like, they can pretend we don’t exist or we don’t matter – but we do, and the rest of the UK is waking up to this party as the viable party, the trusted party.