Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Laura Kuenssberg Fake News controversy

The BBC Trust have admitted that their political editor Laura Kuenssberg created fake news when she misrepresented Jeremy Corbyn's position on shoot-to-kill.

The BBC Trust ruling concluded that Kuenssberg's report was "not duly accurate" because it presented "an answer Mr Corbyn had given to a question about shoot-to-kill as though it were his answer to a question he had not in fact been asked".

The original complaint against Kuenssberg alleged that her sneaky decision to splice a clip of Jeremy Corbyn talking about shoot-to-kill with a question he wasn't even asked was designed to cause "maximum political damage".

Kuenssberg is well known for letting her anti-Corbyn bias interfere with the supposed journalistic impartiality of BBC news reporters, famously orchestrating the resignation of a Labour Party cabinet member live on TV in order to damage Jeremy Corbyn's leadership as much as possible before a Prime Minister's Questions appearance in January 2016.

The role of BBC journalists should be to present the news, not to manufacture the news, nor to just make it up as they go along. Still, despite the evidence that she concocted a fake news hit on Jeremy Corbyn, Kuenssberg looks safe in her job as BBC political editor publicly funded Tory mouthpiece.

Anyone who pays attention will know that the BBC have previous form at chopping and changing the sequence of video clips in order to create highly misleading narratives. The most famous example being the reversal of the footage from the Orgreave miners' protest to make it look like the miners attacked the police, when the reality was that mounted police launched a brutal and unprovoked attack on the miners. Luckily for the BBC the Tories decided not to hold a public inquiry into Orgreave, meaning that the BBC's dodgy conduct on that day wasn't brought back into focus.

Attention-paying members of the public will also be well aware of the academic studies proving a systemic mainstream media propaganda campaign against Jeremy Corbyn that's so extreme that one investigation found that only 11% of all newspaper articles about him presented his actual political views without alteration!

When most of the print media is owned by a small clique of savagely right-wing tax-dodging billionaires, and supposedly impartial BBC journalists like Laura Kuenssberg get off scot-free after inventing fake news controversies, it's pretty obvious that the propaganda war is going to continue, however there are some things we can do about it.
  • If fake news producers are allowed to keep their jobs even after getting caught out we need to take all mainstream media stories with a massive pinch of salt. Mainstream media is obviously not all fake news, but we need to engage our critical thinking skills whenever we encounter mainstream media stories because of the possibility that they are.
  • Look for reliable alternative media sources and, if you appreciate the content they provide, consider making small donations to help keep them going .
  • Boycott appalling hard-right propaganda rags like the Daily Mail, S*n and Express. Don't just avoid buying their newspapers, avoid sharing or otherwise publicising their links on social media.
  • If you want to enhance a comment about a particular issue with a link, consider finding an alternative media article rather than linking to the mainstream press. If you can't find an independent source, try rewarding the least savagely right-wing mainstream media sources with the free publicity (Channel 4 News, Independent, Mirror, Huffington Post, Guardian).
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