Guardian’s Animal Rights Activist Hack Publishes More Fake News

Guido doesn’t want to grouse too heavily about fake news in The Guardian, he’d be here all day, though Sunday’s example really does fly in the face of accuracy. In the Observer, Helena Horton celebrated that it was “game over” for animal cruelty lovers as the Ritz takes grouse off their menu “in victory for environment campaigners”. Horton claimed:

“those hoping to eat the tiny game bird in the gilded Ritz dining room in London will be out of luck this year, as the world-famous hotel has quietly removed it from the menu after an outcry from environmental campaigners.”

Just one problem: the restaurant is adamant this is absolutely not true. Multiple approaches by Guido and co-conspirators have received this emphatic denial from the restaurant’s PR team:

“Yorkshire Grouse is on the menu in the Ritz Restaurant and has been since 12 August.”

In other words, the story’s central claim is for the birds. So why did the Observer say otherwise?

Firstly it appears Helena Horton’s source was Luke Steele, who first tweeted the claim, however has mysteriously since deleted his post. He’s introduced to readers as “executive director of wildlife campaign group Wild Moors”, with the paper overlooking his previous convictions for attacks on laboratories and harassment and intimidation of lab workers. Perhaps not an entirely reliable starting point…

Then there’s Helena herself, who long-reading co-conspirators may remember. Back in 2019 while at the Telegraph she wrote a sensationalist piece claiming British trophy hunters were going to Iceland to hunt puffins, 100 at a time, and bringing their carcasses back to the UK. Guido did a fact check of this at the time and, once again, there was no foundation in truth. Repetitions of Helena’s claim were deleted by the Independent, Mirror and Metro, however her fake news stayed up.

The Countryside Alliance is reporting a much better year for grouse numbers this year – no doubt a relief for many living and working in otherwise very isolated Moorland communities. They have made a formal complaint to the Observer over the story. Based on her past precedent at the Telegraph, Guido doubts Helena will back down…

mdi-timer 23 August 2022 @ 12:12 23 Aug 2022 @ 12:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Hoyle Awards Top Commons Job to Member of His Own Family

Speaking to Times Radio this morning, Lindsay Hoyle told listeners the House of Commons now has its own cat called Patrick to get rid of mice. What could the rigorous selection process for such a role look like?

Guido then spotted Hoyle’s own pussy – the subject of many photo ops – is also called Patrick. The Speaker’s Office has now confirmed to Guido that Parliament has taken on no new cats, and the only mouse catcher is Hoyle’s own pet who is occasionally brought down to London with him from Chorley. Guido thought new Commons rules forbid nepotism…

mdi-timer 20 July 2020 @ 12:51 20 Jul 2020 @ 12:51 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour Peddle More Animal Sentience Fake News

Labour are clearly taking fake news lessons from the Indy’s infamous viral story about the Tories and animal sentience. Their response to Michael Gove’s new Animal Welfare Bill this morning claims it is not “equivalent to current EU standards” and “does not appear to cover wild animals – giving this Tory Government freedom to pursue their pro-fox hunting agenda across England”. This is unmitigated BS from shadow Defra spokesman Sue Hayman…

First, Gove’s bill objectively goes further than the existing EU standards on animal sentience. The EU legislation only recognises animal sentience in EU-related policy in six areas – agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies. The new Defra bill applies to all domestic policy, not simply repatriated EU policy, in all areas, not merely the six covered by the EU. By any fair reading, the new bill goes significantly further than current EU standards…

As for Hayman’s claim that the sentience measure does not cover wild animals, this is literally fake news – it does. The fox hunting jibe is also rubbish, the hunting ban ain’t going to be repealed. Labour saw how mega-viral the Indy fake news story went, Sue Hayman’s response today is another cynical attempt to spread post-truth nonsense…

And a special mention for the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland, who says there is “no need to leave the EU” to secure higher animal welfare standards. Actually we do have to leave the EU to ban live animal exports and products that don’t meet our welfare standards. Jonathan is big on calling out fake news and post-truth politics so sure he will want to correct his tweet…

mdi-timer 12 December 2017 @ 12:00 12 Dec 2017 @ 12:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Celebs Admit They Got It Wrong on Animal Sentience

It’s taken a while, but Guido is pleased to report that Ben Fogle, Sue Perkins, Debroah Meaden and Rachel Riley have all either retracted, deleted or apologised for their tweets, or clarified that they now support the government’s entirely sensible position on animal sentience. Tough 24 hours for celebs on Twitter. Still, at least they’re not Olly Murs… 

mdi-timer 24 November 2017 @ 18:30 24 Nov 2017 @ 18:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Indy Retracts Animal Sentience Story

The Independent has retracted its story claiming that “the Tories have rejected all scientists and voted that animals don’t feel pain” and admitted that it circulated false information to potentially millions of people. In a clarification published last night, the Indy says its report “was not right”:

“Put simply, what happened is this: MPs did not vote that animals are not sentient creatures…

Campaigners – and some news coverage – initially said that the Government had voted against recognising sentience. The Independent was among publishers that reported the story in that way. But it became clear that this claim was not right, even though it had been interpreted by some campaigners in that way. (The Independent updated its coverage to ensure it was accurate).”

The original Indy story was shared thousands of times and was a key factor in half a million people signing a petition repeating the claim. Stories about the Tories and animal sentience were viewed by 2 million people this week. Doubt the Indy’s retraction will be seen by a tenth of that.

mdi-timer 24 November 2017 @ 01:26 24 Nov 2017 @ 01:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ben Fogle Sorry For Sharing Animal Sentience Fake News Story

Fair play to Ben Fogle, who tells Guido “I am happy to apologise and add clarity” after he tweeted the viral fake news story on animal sentience to his 336,000 followers. Sue Perkins, Rachel Riley, Caroline Lucas and the RSPCA have been less willing to admit they were wrong…

mdi-timer 23 November 2017 @ 17:00 23 Nov 2017 @ 17:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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