How Newspapers Lost Their Monopoly On The Political Agenda In The 2017 General Election


His output was prodigious and his commitment to the job – which he considers to be that of an activist working to elect a Labour government rather than a traditional journalist – was utterly obsessional. It got to the point where a friend would come around to cook him meals, just so he didn’t have to stop writing updates for the blog. Friday, the day after the election, was the first time he’d left the house in a week. •

“People have been writing to me continuously, saying: ‘You’ve given me the arguments, I’ve converted people on the doorstep using your work,’” Clark told BuzzFeed News.

For him, the dramatic election result, which saw Corbyn’s Labour gain 30 seats and wipe out May’s Commons majority, was the reward for his dedication to his task. He makes the not unreasonable claim that his output was reaching so many people that it could have helped win Labour some of those ultra-marginal constituencies.

In the space of a seven-week campaign Clark produced 163 different articles, all unashamedly pro-Corbyn – albeit carefully peppered with links to source material – which collectively reached millions of people. Pageviews on a single article – “How many of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies do you actually disagree with?” – were similar to the number of people who buy The Sun on any given day.

“Comparing me against the mainstream media, there were only two that got more interactions than me,” said Clark of the popularity of his site’s Facebook page. “One was the Daily Mail and most of theirs were on their clickbait cat videos. The other was The Independent and they’ve got non-election-related news and various other things.”

It is this that puts Clark at the centre of one of the most significant long-term narratives of the 2017 election. This campaign will be remembered as the one in which hyperpartisan coverage by sites such as Another Angry Voice, The Canary, and Evolve Politics – most of which barely existed two years ago – vastly outperformed the traditional media as they were shared by millions across social media platforms. The Sun and the Daily Mail may still sell 3 million copies a day between them, but their decades-long claim to dominating public opinion may have finally come to an end.