Thursday 12 January 2017

The right-wing hypocrisy over "Fake News"

Whatever your view on the Buzzfeed decision to publish the unverified Watersports-gate Trump dossier, it's pretty difficult to argue that it was "fake news". Buzfeed didn't make up the dossier or its contents. They didn't make up the fact that the US secret services were made aware of its existence before the Presidential election, but chose to sit on it. They didn't make up the fact that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump were briefed about the dossier after the Presidential election. They simply made the decision to publish a leaked document without making sure that the allegations it contained were verifiable first.

The sight of Donald Trump scrawling an ALL CAPS Twitter rant about the leaked dossier being "FAKE NEWS" was one of the most blatant displays of hypocrisy we've yet seen from him.

This is a guy who fuelled conspiracy theories for years over Barack Obama's birth certificate! This is a guy who spread the fake news that the father of his Republican leadership rival Ted Craz was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy! This is a guy who openly lied about having seen Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the September 11th attacks (the only 9/11 celebrations that were ever actually verified were a bunch of deliriously happy Israelis). This is the guy who claimed that climate change is a conspiracy invented by the Chinese!

Donald Trump isn't the only one to have a hysterically hypocritical hissy-fit over the Watersports-gate dossier. Rupert Murdoch's UK propaganda sheet The S*n printed a bizarre editorial slamming Buzzfeed for supposedly "making a mockery of journalism" becuase of their decision to publish the documents, which is quite some allegation from a newspaper with such a history of printing extraordinary front page lies. Consider their disgusting efforts to pin the blame for the Hillsborough disaster onto the victims, their brazen misrepresentation of an opinion poll result in order to spread front page anti-Muslim hatred or their use of an undisclosed source to falsely claim that the Queen backed Brexit.

Not only does the S*n's "making a mockery of journalism" allegation contrast with their own appalling track record of making a mockery of journalism, it was printed on the very same day that the S*n published a fake news story about a supermarket attack in Ourense, Spain.

The sensationalist S*n story claimed that the person who was arrested was a Muslim who was carrying a bag of explosives and shouted "Allahu Akbar" before opening fire in the supermarket.

Both the Spanish police and the Mercadona supermarket chain confirmed that the man was not a Muslim and that he had no terrorist connections. In fact the police stated that he was a Spanish national who had "decreased mental faculties".

Whether you think Buzzfeed's decision to publish the unverified Watersports-gate dossier was justifiable or not, it's clearly nowhere near as unjustifiable and irresponsible as completely making up the details of an apparent mental breakdown in order to make it look like a terrorist attack by an Islamist extremist.

The hysterical reaction to the Buzzfeed Watersports-gate story from right-wingers is yet another demonstration of what a staggeringly hypocritical bunch of special snowflakes they are. They're willing to make up and dish out fake news whenever it suits their interests (which is incredibly often), but as soon as others resort to similar tactics (like publishing unverified content) they start shrieking and crying victim!

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