Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
12 December 2017

What the MSM isn’t telling you about Jeremy Corbyn’s peace prize

The truth behind an award the mainstream media failed to mention.

By Media Mole

On 6 September 2017, the International Peace Bureau announced in a press release that Jeremy Corbyn had been awarded the Séan MacBride Peace Prize. Along with Noam Chomsky and a movement securing the closure of a Japanese airbase, the All Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base, the Labour leader had received this award, which has been running since 1992.

But the media won’t tell you that.

When Corbyn picked up his award on Friday (8 December), his supporters heard about his win. It was reported by some alternative left-wing media outlets, such as Skwawkbox, which praised him for winning “a little of the recognition” he’s due, and added that “the ‘MSM’” “have been largely silent on it”.

Three days later, Skwawkbox returned to the subject, asking why the BBC was “still silent” on Corbyn’s win, calling the prize a “landmark award” and stating: “The BBC, in common with almost all the ‘MSM’, did not mention it. At all.” Iranian and Russian state broadcasters Press TV and RT (formerly Russia Today) ran similar pieces, asking about the “media silence” on this award.

Now Channel 4’s FactCheck has done some digging and discovered that while it’s true there’s been no mainstream interest in Corbyn’s award, the prize has hardly been covered since it was founded – only two UK newspapers have mentioned it since 1992. It is also telling that no one reported it in September, when it was actually awarded.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Also, it has nothing to do with the UN, though Corbyn collected it in Geneva – where, incidentally, he made a speech which was widely covered.

Content from our partners
A global hub for content producers, gaming and entertainment companies in Abu Dhabi
Insurance: finding sustainable growth in stormy markets
Why public health policy needs to refocus

Here are some other things the mainstream media neglected to tell you about this story:

  • Prizes, in general, are pretty boring. If you report them straight, it just sounds like a press release – either for the prizewinner or the organisation giving the award. It’s hard to wring news out about them, unless they’re controversial or unusual. So, like, Vladimir Putin being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, or Tony Blair winning Philanthropist of the Year, or, say, a former IRA chief-of-staff being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize
     
  • It’s hard to take an organisation seriously when it gives an award to itself. Last year, the Séan MacBride Peace Prize was awarded to Colin Archer – secretary-general of, yes, the International Peace Bureau.
     
  • News isn’t news when it’s three months old. The press release announcing Corbyn’s win was at the beginning of September. It’s now December. No news outlets – not even the fiercely pro-Corbyn ones or foreign broadcasters that back his leadership – picked it up when it actually happened.
     
  • Corbyn didn’t attend the prize-giving, which took place on Friday 24 November in Barcelona, which is fine, he is a busy man, but a late acceptance does mean the story – if you can count it as a story – has passed. Also if it was such a huge deal, he might have attended.
     
  • Happily, all corners of the UK media can at least agree on the greatest lesson from this tiresome bit of hack navel-gazing: the best way to get people to read something is to tell them no one is writing about it.