Van Morrison’s ‘They Own the Media’ faced with antisemitism claims

Singer-songwriter Van Morrison received backlash for his newly released song “They Own the Media,” and although it does not specifically name Jews, many are calling him out for using an antisemitic trope as it runs closely in line with the QAnon conspiracies. The song is one of 28 Morrison released on May 7, in his new album “Latest Record Project,” which includes songs such as “Why Are You On Facebook,” “The Long Con,” and “Stop Bitching. Do Something.”Two-time Grammy Award winner and creator of the iconic song “Brown Eyed Girl,” Morrison had already stirred headlines in the last year for spreading a negative rhetoric towards coronavirus safety protocols. This included, according to The Forward, calling out the UK social distancing restrictions and other government instated restrictions related to the virus.This is not the first time Morrison has been accused of hiding antisemitism within his lyrics. In 2005, Morrison came under fire for his song “They Sold Me Out,” as he reportedly spun tunes of antisemitism within its lyrics as well.Many reviews of the new album mentioned that it could be an antisemitic trope.Many of the reviewers – from places like insidehook.com, Stereogum, Pitchfork and The Guardian, among others – could feel and sense the air of conspiracy and tinfoil hat theories throughout the album, as many could ascertain after just reading through the song list.Alexis Petridis, who writes for The Guardian, noted that his song Western Man has some “troubling alt-right-y stuff about how the west’s ‘rewards’ have been ‘stolen by foreigners unknown’ and we should be ‘prepared to fight,’” and added that he believes there is some conspiracy by “shadowy forces” to silence his efforts to promote his opinions, giving lyrical examples noting the fears.

“It’s MI5 this and mind-control that, secret ‘meetings in the forest,’ mainstream media lies and Kool Aid being drunk by the gallon,” Petridis wrote in her review.”Clearly the shadowy forces of the establishment need to up their game a bit,” she quipped.While the professional reviewers each noted the presence of the pro-QAnon, anti-lockdown, anti-establishment theories through his lyrics, many on social media merely had to read the song list.Tom Breihan, who writes for Stereogum, ultimately described the song as having “a title that sure seems to be an antisemitic trope.” “Maybe it’s satire. Maybe the ‘they’ of the title doesn’t refer to any specific group of people,” Breihan wrote, before saying: “But when you consider that this man just went on a months-long COVID-denial tantrum, we have every right to be suspicious about this one.”
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