Socialist Worker

Press wages war on Grenfell survivors to help the Tories

The media wants to undermine stories of Grenfell survivors. It’s part of a push to let the guilty off the hook, writes Alistair Farrow

Issue No. 2598

Toyin agbetu of Grenfell Media Watch

Toyin agbetu of Grenfell Media Watch


Hardly a week goes by without the media trying to discredit survivors, residents and justice campaigners around the Grenfell Tower fire.

Meanwhile the politicians and bosses who made the decisions that led to the blaze, and profited from them, escape such scrutiny.

There has been no hatchet job of Robert Bond. He is still a director of the Rydon Group, the firm that made the decision to install the flammable cladding.

Grenfell Media Watch produce regular videos on social media analysing the mainstream media’s coverage of the atrocity.

Toyin Agbetu from the organisation told Socialist Worker, “The media should be holding the government to account,

“But it has its own agenda and is intrinsically tied up in political interests.”

He added, “In terms of Grenfell it’s not really in the interests of the media to forensically analyse the actions of their allies.”

The media focus on ordinary people linked to Grenfell Tower in order to introduce doubt into the public’s mind about the stories of survivors. Often this means linking them to criminal behaviour.

The media focused last month on the case of a survivor of the fire who was manufacturing cannabis oil in his flat.

And they also inflate and round in on stories of people who have actually lied.

In March it was the woman who falsely claimed insurance for a dead partner. In February it was the man who pretended his family had died in the fire.

Discrediting survivors is part of a bigger agenda to deflect anger from the Tories and housing bosses responsible for the murder at Grenfell.

Dismiss 

If survivors aren’t off limits, it’s easier to dismiss anyone who diverges from the establishment’s agreed chain of events as a conspiracy theorist or far left infiltrator.

The Times newspaper smeared estate resident Joe Delaney for claiming support in the wake of the fire.

Trauma from the fire meant he could not continue living in his flat located on one of the walkways attached to Grenfell Tower.

The right wing press attacked Joe because he was part of the Grenfell Action Group, whose blog raised concerns about fire safety before the fire.

The media is not unbiased as it likes to claim. Every mainstream publication has an editorial line—and a section of the ruling class it backs.

Toyin said, “The Tory party might have occasional disagreements with the Daily Mail, but on balance they pursue the same ideological goals.”

Toyin argued that what Media Watch is doing can feed into the broader fight for justice.

“Stormzy proved what could be done just through being a musician,” he said.

The artist pushed a petition that was calling for a more representative panel in the inquiry to over 100,000 signatures. It is now due to be debated in parliament on 14 May. Toyin described what justice for those who died in Grenfell would look like.

“People need to go to prison for what has happened,” he said. “And publishing the truth can help make sure this never happens again”.

He added, “We need every media platform fighting against the mainstream media.

“Everyone’s got different agendas—but we’re in the eye of the storm, looking for justice.”


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