Anorak News | Spiked v Monbiot: seeking conspiracy in the face of reason

Spiked v Monbiot: seeking conspiracy in the face of reason

by | 3rd, December 2018

Spiked pulls back the magic curtain and show us how journalism works in the age of public shaming and a continual need for validation. In an article entitled ‘The New McCarthyism is ruining public life’, (aka the death of autonomy) the site’s editors deal with a request from Guardian columnist George Monbiot. He wants to know how Spiked is funded. Spiked senses that Monbiot is not looking to invest in the magazine and thus support free speech and independent journalism, rather he wants to find a whiff of something questionable and fan it into our faces until we turn away in disgust. Advocating free speech and free thought are too mundane. There must be more, something bigger at work. Editor Brendan O’Neill gives Monbiot the side-eye:

Who put them up to it? Who are they a front for? What’s the hidden agenda? Do they know someone or get funding from someone and might this explain why they hold the views they hold? What is the story – the true, dark, shadowy story – behind their points of view and their political activity?

It is, O’Neill reasons, the mainstreaming of the conspiracy. Conspiracy theories let you preserve beliefs in the face of uncertainty and contradiction. They protect you from having your beliefs and ideas challenged or disconfirmed. Conspiracy theories are the products of a safety first approach to knowledge that seeks to satiate anxiety and affirm control. Bad things and life not going as you want it to can be explained not by small acts, but as the work of hugely powerful malevolent forces. The conspiracy theorist feels empowered in knowing, well, nothing for certain. The effect is that an adherence to conspiracy theories is utterly disempowering. That for later. For now, O’Neill adds:

One of the leading practitioners in Britain of the New McCarthyite style is George Monbiot, the Guardian columnist. In recent years, spiked has found itself on the receiving end of a few spiteful campaigns about our ‘real’ agenda. We have had the misfortune of being targeted by both far-right and left-leaning conspiracy theorists, the former convinced that we are doing the bidding of powerful Jews and Zionists, and the latter convinced we are a stooge for corporate Dark Money. Mr Monbiot has spearheaded a couple of those latter campaigns. And he is at it again. He is once again seeking to expose the alleged ‘dark forces’ behind what we do.

spiked recently received a number of questions from Mr Monbiot for an article he is writing. We reproduce his questions below and our response to them.

You can read them all on the site. And you can read Spiked’s reply, which is forthright and wholly honest. 

Posted: 3rd, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink