The first austerity protest organised by the People’s Assembly campaign group has taken place in London. Organisers say tens of thousands of people met at Portland Place and marched to Parliament Square on Saturday. The group included politicians and union leaders and was protesting about the impact of cuts around the country.
Those three lines are the entire reportage from the most widely recognised and trusted voice of Britain, the BBC, for a protest of over 50,000 people, marching in the heart of London in protest at Austerity (capitalised because it is a Thing now, different to austerity in that it is highly selective in where and on whom it lands).
The last time there were significant anti-Austerity protests the BBC largely ignored them, but this time they’ve moved the game on a notch, in the face of petitions and letters of complaint at so-called censorship of the story. And that’s a worse thing than being ignored, because now it’s being trivialised. Even the video of the march on the BBC news site ‘fails’ to load, leaving no way of telling, from the scant words above, that much of note happened at all.
The two images seem at odds with one another. One, a picture showing a purported 50,000 protesters – a voice perhaps worth listening to. The other, “organisers say” tens of thousands, in phraseology that suggests with a wink that it was probably ten or so, and no video to cry the lie. Google: London Anti Austerity March June 2015 and select images to see the actual numbers.
And that’s how they win. By telling you there’s nothing to see here, and without being criticised for not covering the story at all. I miss what I remember was my BBC. But do I miss something that never existed? Was it always thus?