Hugo Rifkind Retracts Made Up Quote

Hugo Rifkind had a crack at Toby Young in his Times column on Monday, rubbishing him and the Free Speech Union. Unfortunately for Hugo, it has blown up in his face. In the column, Hugo wrote:

Toby Young founded “the Free Speech Union” out of a professed fear that free online discourse was becoming impossible due to censorious mobs and the cowardly organisations that care more about their own reputations. Within a day, he’d grown hopelessly tangled in his own contradictions, after being asked whether the far-right activist who calls himself Tommy Robinson would be welcome in his club. Only if he was prepared to “sign a statement of values not to be racist, sexist or prejudiced against Muslims,” said Young. Even the club with “Free Speech” in its name has caveats.

Rather than free speech per se, Young was agitating for something along the lines of “the freedom to speak without facing an onslaught of other people calling you scum”. 

Hard-hitting stuff, but there’s one small difficulty. Toby never said the things attributed to him in quotation marks. Why in particular would he have mentioned Muslims? Hugo just made that up or as he put it to Guido “put quote marks around what should have been a paraphrase and garbled it. Easy mistake, but still unforgivably sloppy of me. It’s been changed, I believe there’s a correction tomorrow, and I’ve written to say sorry, too. Any and all ridicule of me rightly deserved.” 

Toby tells Guido:

“Hugo picked an odd day to write a column saying the free speech crisis is a figment of my imagination, given that Reddit has just announced it will be deleting 2,000 subreddits. He’s perfectly entitled to attack me of course, and does so frequently, but making up silly quotes and attributing them to me is a step too far. I expected higher ethical standards from someone who’s won so many journalism awards.”

Three years ago, Rifkind wrote a 4000-word piece for The Times about what he called “the vitally important but hideously complex issue of fake news”. If Toby hadn’t complained, this bit of fabricated news would have stood uncorrected…

mdi-timer 1 July 2020 @ 16:56 1 Jul 2020 @ 16:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Mislead 70,000 Readers With Fake SAGE Claim

Last week Guido reported on Angela Rayner’s SAGE confusion, when she claimed advice from the left-wing, activist-packed Independent SAGE had come from the official group. While Labour’s deputy leader making the error is bad enough, today the BBC made the same mistake; with verified political journalist, Simon Gilbert, describing the Labour activist group‘s opposition to schools re-opening as “Quite the intervention from the scientific advisory group which has guided government on how to tackle Covid-19.”


The fake news was then shared by the official BBC Coventry & Warwickshire account to their 70,000 followers, along with Phil Upton – a local BBC radio host.

The BBC’s complaints team aren’t going to be happy…

mdi-timer 28 May 2020 @ 15:11 28 May 2020 @ 15:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory MPs Fall for Doctored Starmer Video

Minister Nadine Dorries and MPs Maria Caulfield and Lucy Allen were caught out this morning when sharing an edited video of Sir Keir supposedly explaining why he didn’t prosecute grooming gangs when he was head of the CPS. Dorries and Allen both deleted their shares, with Caulfield going one step further and deleting her Twitter account altogether. Good advice to MPs is make a habit of blocking accounts like this to avoid future screw-ups…

Momentum hordes have naturally piled in on the mistaken trio, who thus far haven’t shown the same concern over Momentum-doctored videos when sharing the disingenuously spliced Boris This Morning “take it on the chin” clip in their droves.

Guido doubts those same lefties will be making their fake news concerns consistent any time soon…

mdi-timer 14 May 2020 @ 12:36 14 May 2020 @ 12:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Piers Morgan Shares Covid Water Supply Fake News

This afternoon Piers Morgan shared an erroneous claim from ‘Water UK’ that the Prime Minister had “mistakenly referred to COVID-19 being in the #water supply.” The tweet, which has been doing the rounds on the loopier sides of the internet, said that “tap water remains perfectly safe”, as if the PM had suggested anything different was currently the case. Piers went as far as to call it “a very stupid mistake”. In fact the Boris quote from yesterday afternoon that is being referred to claimed nothing of the sort…

“For instance if COVID is detected in the water supply of a certain town, or in a school in an area, then steps can be taken on the spot to deal with that flare up. Measures can be taken to keep the R down locally as well as nationally.”

Actually watching the video it is clear to see that Boris was referring to the testing the waste water supply in the sewers for the virus, which is a way of measuring the prevalence in a community. He described a hypothetical scenario about what would be done if it was detected. Perhaps not a wise example to pick during a pandemic, although certainly not claiming what partisan hacks are trying to paint it as. The easily discoverable truth is obviously of secondary importance to the story and the current irresponsible media “confusion” meme…

mdi-timer 12 May 2020 @ 16:08 12 May 2020 @ 16:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Front Page Fake News

The front page headline of today’s Morning Star is a bold lie. Following the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact the Morning Star wasn’t anti-fascist. It was, as it is today, dismissive of the capitalist Western democracies, opposing rearmament and undermining the war effort until 1941. We should never allow the communists to forget…

Whereas democratic socialists like Aneurin Bevan unequivocally backed the war, Communist Party members were resolving their own stances in the wake of the Stalin-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact in August. On instructions from the Communist International’s Moscow headquarters to regard the war as one between imperialist powers for imperialist objectives. The Comintern put the Soviet national interest of the “first socialist state” ahead of the policy needs of individual communist parties and nations elsewhere. Palme Dutt, the Party’s leading theoretician, headed the majority of the traitorous central committee who took the Comintern’s line, of not supporting Britain in an “imperialist war”. The Morning Star’s editorial line reflected the central committee’s diktat, declaring in December 1939 that the war against Hitler was not “a people’s war.”

It was not until the Nazis attacked the Soviets in 1941 that the paper’s editorial line changed. The true history of the Morning Star newspaper is not one of forever fighting fascism.

mdi-timer 8 May 2020 @ 12:05 8 May 2020 @ 12:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Fake News Death Wish Daily Mirror

Yesterday the Mirror claimed Boris Johnson had a “death plan” to kill school children by forcing them back to school in June. It goes without saying there is no such plan and all the medical research suggests children are thankfully almost immune from this terrible virus. Last month they claimed that 50,000 people were set to die on Easter Sunday. The actual number who sadly died on Easter Sunday was in the hundreds. Not tens of thousands. There is tabloid sensationalism and there is absolutely disgraceful scaremongering.

There is a lot of hand wringing punditry about fake news being spread on social media by the likes of David Icke. Here’s two examples of fake news being spread by the traditional dead tree press…

mdi-timer 4 May 2020 @ 10:56 4 May 2020 @ 10:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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