The Listening Post

Disrupting the media with disruptive politics

The media versus the rise of anti-establishment politics; Plus, Syria’s TV dramas soldier on.

Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory as the Labour Party’s new leader on September 12 left the UK’s media baffled.

Considered an eccentric, leftist outsider by some just a few months ago, Corbyn’s appointment and sudden success defied the mainstream media’s hostile stand, which initially deemed him unelectable.

The new leader’s media strategy, which on the one hand appears free of spin, and on other, antagonist, forced news outlets, including even liberal news outlets, to re-evaluate the way they report on Westminster.

And the story in the UK seems to reflect a larger trend. On the other side of the Atlantic, Bernie Sanders, a fringe presidential candidate on the left, has similarly burst onto the media scene.

While his media strategy appears more sophisticated, he has more than just a hostile media to face – competing for airtime with the press-circus of his Republican rival, Donald Trump.

Talking us through the political media divide are Sky News Deputy Political Editor Joey Jones; Journalist and Author Toby Young; Contributing Editor to Salvage Magazine Richard Seymour; Journalist and Media Watcher Samira Ahmed; and Alternet’s Associate Editor Adam Johnson.

Other stories on our radar this week: Two Al Jazeera journalists released in Egypt, but the struggle is far from over; UK communications regulator Ofcom backs BBC in RT case; and an armed Bangladeshi group takes its fight against secular bloggers abroad.

Syria’s Television Industry

Before the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, Syria was famous for its output of soap-style television shows.

But the ongoing conflict has hit the industry hard.

With many directors, actors and producers seeking refuge abroad, The Listening Post’s Gouri Sharma reports on what Syrian television looks like today, and what it still manages to produce under challenging circumstances.