Top Corbynista Angela Rayner is upset with irresponsible politicians who have been peddling “rumours” that Tameside hospital in her constituency faces downgrade. Rayner has reassured her constituents the stories are “totally untrue”.
What kind of person would peddle such false speculation?
Much of the furore seems to have emanated from a press release fired off last week by Labour’s new national elections organiser Andrew Gwynne:
“Speculation is rising Tameside Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit could join 23 other A&E units across the country that have been identified for a possible downgrade or closure… I am extremely concerned… I’ll be speaking to the Chief Executive of Tameside Hospital”
Was Rayner’s tweet was aimed at her party’s election chief? When telling the truth to your constituents gets in the way of your colleagues’ shameless electioneering…
H/T Jen Williams
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) February 13, 2017
“Fake News” is the politico-media panic of the moment, blamed by Hillary supporters for the triumph of Trump. On social media the charge of “fake news” is levelled against any report the accuser disagrees with. That definition is useless and we need to better categorise political news terms. Below is Guido’s Guide to News…
Disinformation: false information which is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organisation to a rival power or the media. Example: “Dossier reveals Saddam Hussein’s armoury of chemical weapons is on standby for use within 45 minutes.”
White propaganda: for the most part, truthful with factual elements, although not always the whole truth. Example: The BBC World Service’s Russian TV channel.
Grey propaganda: propaganda that seems like it’s presenting legitimate arguments with no agenda behind them, but often ultimately untrue. Example: “IMF says Brexit uncertainty would trigger UK recession” analysis that turned out to be propaganda based on the worst case scenarios of economists.
Black propaganda: information put out by an opposing government or institution and made to look as though it came from a friendly source. Example: the Zinoviev letter was a front page splash in the Daily Mail 4 days before the 1924 election, British security services faked a letter from Soviet official Grigory Zinoviev which damaged the Labour Party.
Fake news: news that is produced to either generate clicks and advertising revenue or to either enhance or discredit or boost a politician, policy or organisation. Ranging from hoaxes to lies. The originator of “fake news” knowingly produces it with the objective in mind. Example: Russian state-backed Sputnik News.
Alternative facts: untruths. Example: Sean Spicer on Trump’s inauguration crowd size, The Canary’s Portland conspiracy theory.
News with views: news that mixes reporting of facts and events with an underlying slant, often ideological. Example: “Keith Vaz Is Not a Fit and Proper Person.”
Objective news: this is the legally required output of the BBC and broadcasters in the UK. Supposedly balanced with both sides of an argument being presented to the viewer. This obviously raises the question of how you balance truth and falsehood or the political extremes against the mainstream. Example: supporters of monarchal absolutism never get a fair break on the BBC, do they?
Subjective news: what broadcasters and broadsheets actually produce even if they claim to produce objective news. Example: BBC report in 2005 “Himalayan glaciers ‘melting fast’ says study“. A decade later it turned out they meant by 2350 not 2035.
Infotainment: most popular news about pop and soap stars, celebrities falls into this category. Politics is often described as showbiz for ugly people, which leads to infotainment reports. Largely harmless fun for readers. Example: Tory MP Shows His Cock to Kids.
There will be no technological solution to the age old issues of fake news and propaganda. Ed Snowden is right. Readers need to use their critical faculties, which by and large they do. “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
BBC: We want to avoid reporting fake news, so please clarify something for us.
Corbyn: I’m really surprised the BBC is reporting fake news. pic.twitter.com/lsYGGdb7y4
— Jamie McConkey (@JamieMcConkey) February 9, 2017
BBC: I’m aware of the issue of fake news at the moment.
JC: There’s a lot of it about.
BBC: Well, there’s a story going about that you’ve set a date for when you’re gonna quit as Labour leader.
JC: That’s on IMadeItUpYesterday.com.
BBC: Is there absolutely no truth in that?
JC: Absolute nonsense.
BBC: So your future as Labour leader is absolutely intact? You’ve not considered whether you as leader are damaging the party?
JC: I’m really surprised the BBC is reporting fake news. There is no news.
The Trumpian rebrand continues, bigly!
Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May claiming Margaret Thatcher “supported Apartheid”. He’s tweeted the same:
A demonstrably untrue statement straight out of the Trumpian playbook that the Labour leader is currently copying. Nelson Mandela praised Thatcher’s role in helping to end Apartheid, famously saying:
“She is an enemy of Apartheid. We have much to thank her for.”
Amhed Kathadra, one of Mandela’s closest friends, said Thatcher was instrumental in ending Apartheid:
“Her word did count – I’m sure of it… Mrs Thatcher wasn’t one of our oppressors.”
F W de Klerk said of Thatcher’s contribution to the end of Apartheid:
“She exerted more influence on what happened in South Africa than any other political leader”
Robin Renwick, Britain’s former ambassador to South Africa, has written at length about how Thatcher quietly campaigned to end Apartheid. He says Thatcher told P W Botha “very firmly” to end Apartheid and “exploded” at the South African ambassador, telling him “Apartheid must go”. Renwick says the claim Thatcher supported Apartheid is a “myth“. Fake news from Jez…
BuzzFeed have stuck their neck out publishing what they admit are unverified allegations about Trump in Russia. Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith emailed staff to explain this extra-ordinary departure from the usual journalistic norms:
From: Ben Smith
As you have probably seen. this evening we published a secret dossier making explosive and unveriﬁed allegations about Donald Trump and Russia. I wanted to brieﬂy explain to you how we made the decision to publish it.
We published the dossier, which Ken Bensinger obtained through his characteristically ferocious reporting, so that, as we wrote, “Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.”
Our presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers. We have always erred on the side of publishing. In this case, the document was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media. It seems to lie behind a set of vague allegations from the Senate Majority Leader to the director of the FBI and a report that intelligence agencies have delivered to the president and president-elect.
As we noted in our story, there is serious reason to doubt the allegations. We have been chasing speciﬁc claims in this document for weeks, and will continue to.
Publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, and people of good will may disagree with our choice. But publishing this dossier reﬂects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.
Ben actually disses his own story, which they have been unable to stand up. Would the New York Times have published this – no. Would Guido have published it? Possibly, if we thought the source was credible enough. Imagine if we published a story about a union leader consorting with a prostitute based on widely circulating rumours and off the record briefings, naming no names and getting no affidavits or pictures. Would that be credible?
Trying to rack my brains for something I once wrote about the Donald. Have to do it manually in the cuts archive as you can’t find anything on the bloody Times website. Who says staying awake in semi-darkness attempting repetitive hand movements is a waste of time? Eventually I get lucky: “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” and her response: “If he wasn’t my father I’d spray him with mace.”
Pretty pleased nobody spotted that quote during the entire election campaign. I beat the entire US media – they must be collectively distracted by the intensity of reporting on @realDonaldTrump’s Twitter account.
I tweet out my scoop: “Why does the world recall Trump saying “if she wasn’t my daughter, I’d be dating her” but not Ivanka’s reply?” Everybody’s re-tweeting it. What a story! 500 re-tweets already…
My find has already been followed up by the Telegraph, Independent, Express, Chicago Tribune, The Hill and The New York Daily News. None of them credit me. Better send another tweet reminding everyone who was responsible.
Slight pang of doubt though. Why did no one recall Ivanka’s reply? I wonder how not one member of the whole US media had unearthed such a great quote. Notable lack of people saying, “oh, I came across that already”. Ah well, look at those re-tweets…
Friday 25th – Evening
Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no. Someone has traced the quote back to a joke told by a comedian in 2006. Ivanka didn’t say it at all. And my accidental lie has gone halfway round the world. So this is what they mean by all that ‘fake news’ going round.
I’m going viral again. But in a bad way.
*according to Guido.
The New European has big feature trailed on their front page today on how Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond “built the Brexit juggernaut” and are are “UKIP on Tour” . There’s only one problem. The ex-Top Gear team backed Remain:
The sacked ex-Mirror columnist Kevin O’Sullivan only mentions this in passing 86 lines after he confidently wrote: “For them, Brexit isn’t a political decision, it’s a way of life.” Fake news headlines…