Friday, 24 November 2017

Why do the BBC rate Michael Gove and the Guido Fawkes blog as more reliable sources than the British Medical Journal?


In November 2017 the widely respected British medical Journal published a study suggesting that Tory austerity dogma is linked to 120,000 excess deaths since 2010.

The BBC quashed any coverage of this shocking study on the advice of a shadowy advisory group that is part-funded by organisations like the Daily Mail and the UK government themselves. Apparently the British medical Journal and the academics who worked on the study were not reliable enough to warrant any coverage whatever.

Fast forward one week and the BBC joined various other outlets in championing an absolute sham of an article from the Guido Fawkes blog accusing other websites of being "downmarket trash clickbait" in an attempt to create a furore over fake news.

It is absolutely indisputable that Tory MPs voted to defeat an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill designed to ensure that the UK government recognises animal sentience after Brexit. Here's a link to the vote on Hansard. We can all see from the public record that the Tories voted against the amendment to recognise animal sentience, making sure it lost by 313 votes to 295.

Tory MPs such as the current Environment Minister Michael Gove (the 3rd Tory Environment Minister in the space of two years!) gave assurances that the Tories would one day legislate to recognise animal sentience, but surely such promises from Brexiteers like Michael Gove are only as believable as their outright lies about using Brexit to give £350 million a week to the NHS?

Claiming that they have no intention of scrapping the thing whilst simultaneously voting against amendments to prevent them from scrapping the thing is exactly the same Tory trick used to justify voting against amendment 58 to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which sought to stop them from using Brexit as an excuse to revoke workers' rights, equality legislation, environmental protections, workplace safety rules, and consumer protections.

Anyone with a grain of sense should be able to see that any government with an honest commitment to recognising animal sentience, or protecting our EU derived rights could have no real objection to supporting amendments designed to ensure that they can't just scrap these things further down the line.

The crux of the Guido Fawkes article was that the horrified public reaction to the Tory scuppering of the animal sentience amendment was "fake news" because we're simply expected to believe Michael Gove's subsequent statement that "this government will ensure that any necessary changes required to UK law are made in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure animal sentience is recognised after we leave the EU"

How naive would you have to be to believe that this statement would have been made without all the negative publicity and petitions?

And how naive 
would you have to judge Michael "350 million for the NHS" Gove on his words, whilst completely ignoring his actual actions in colluding with his Tory colleagues to vote down an amendment which would have prevented him (or any future Tory Environment Secretary) from backtracking on that commitment.

So the Guido Fawkes article is accusing everyone who shared articles and petitions criticising the Tory vote against the animal sentience amendment of spreading "fake news" because ... well ... we're supposed to just believe politicians like Michael Gove are not lying to us!

This Guido article clearly uses the term "fake news" in the same way Donald Trump uses it. Not to describe news that is demonstrably fake, but as a pejorative term aimed at discrediting news that they don't like.

In a way the Guido Fawkes article is an example of fake "fake news" news.

But that didn't stop the BBC from jumping on the bandwagon and promoting the narrative that the uproar about animal sentience is "fake news" because everyone is suddenly supposed to take Michael Gove at his word now, instead of judging him by his actual actions.

Incredibly the BBC gave Michael Gove (the man who told us that Britain "has had enough of experts") a platform to whine that "there is an unhappy tendency now for people to believe that the raw and authentic voice of what's shared on social media is more reliable than what is said in Hansard or on the BBC".

One minute he wants the public to disregard experts, analysis and evidence when it suits his Brexiteering agenda, then the next he's crying that people don't believe his claims that his words have more weight than his actions!


The way that the central argument from this Guido Fawkes fake "fake news" news narrative was hastily turned into BBC headlines, while an academic study from the British Medical Journal was deemed unfit for coverage just goes to show how standards of journalism and impartiality at the BBC have degenerated:

A study conducted by reputable academics from some of Britain's top universities and published in the British Medical Journal was deliberately buried in order to keep it out of the public consciousness as much as possible because it would reflect very badly on the government, and none of the academics involved were invited onto the BBC to discuss the implications of their study.

Yet some cobbled-together nonsense labelling all social media criticism of the government as "fake news" because we're all suddenly supposed to take lying Brexiteers like Michael Gove at their word now is deemed worthy of BBC news coverage because it fits with the mainstream media groupthink that independent media and social networks are significant threats to their ability to control public perceptions in the way that they did so brazenly when they decided to not bother reporting on the 120,000 excess deaths scandal.

Is it any wonder that more and more people are turning to independent media for their news when the BBC treat the likes of Michael Gove and the Guido Fawkes blog as more reputable sources than the British Medical Journal, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and University College London?



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