THE BBC have rejected complaints that they ‘photoshopped’ the image of corbyn on the BBC Two programme Newsnight´. Following the criticisms of the Labour leader’s response in the Commons to Theresa May’s handling of the Sergei Skripal poisoning, the late night political programme used a graphic that pictured Mr Corbyn next to the Kremlin in Moscow. Critics claimed that he was digitally altered to look like a ‘Soviet stooge’.

Political commentator, Owen Jones, who is a supporter of Mr Corbyn, was a guest on the programme the night after and criticised the programme for editing the image to make it look Jeremy Corbyn was dressed similar to that of a Russian.

Dangerous propaganda

The image that they claimed to have used and not edited, was taken in 2016 and if you compare the two, there is certainly a red hue that has been applied along with the lowing the contrast and tightening the aspect ratio which make his clothes appear darker. This changes the look of the hat he is wearing, which makes it look more like a Russian ushanka hat, whilst there are noticeable differences in the ‘Newsnight’ image and an ushanka, to those who aren’t paying a massive amount of attention to the backdrop or are unable to see a comparison, it would certainly look like one on first look.

The BBC have rejected the criticisms of their programme whilst acknowledging they did edit the image, by saying that they previously did a similar mock up of Gavin Williamson on the same programme.

But what is considerably worse and the issue with these kinds of imageries is that on the same day, newspapers like the Daily Mail ran with such headlines as ‘CORBYN, THE KREMLIN STOOGE’.

This kind of English nationalistic propaganda is a throwback to the British Empire days, the idea of racial superiority. Allowing this kind of rhetoric to thrive will continue the cycle of right wing to far-right leadership that England has always had and this is not just through politicians but the wealthiest, who have the money to lobby government and create ways to manipulate the public into voting in a specific way, Cambridge Analytica, who boasted the use of dirty tricks to influence public opinion.

Cheap shot or active campaign?

Images like the BBC used may have meant to have been harmless or just a cheap shot, but with the ferocity of anti-Corbyn propaganda often used by the likes of the Mail, Express, Sun etc. It creates this image that he is an enemy, which is not true. But more disturbingly there have been reports surfacing that the BBC actively partakes in anti-Corbyn bias, a top British barrister and someone who isn’t a Corbyn fan tweeted:

Following responses questioning his validity, he then wrote a blog post about the contact, who he named ‘x’.

He explained that he would happily testify over the note and that he would ask a lawyer to swear a witness statement, which they will be bound professional duty of confidentiality. Many have dismissed the image on Newsnight but that is because they have been made aware that people are questioning the image used. The illusion of impartiality has been cloaking the BBC for a while and I’d argue that it isn’t left or right-wing bias but agenda bias. This I mean, truth only when it fits the English imperial narrative. To compare it is like magician revealing their secrets, an illusion or magic trick is broken once the secrets are learned.