Wednesday, 27 November 2019

3 extraordinary fakery scandals in a single day from 3 of Britain's biggest broadcasters

Yesterday provided yet more damning proof that we've entered the era of full on fake news in British politics, which goes so much further than randoms making up fake websites and spreading copy n' paste lies.

We've now reached the level where mainstream journalists are spreading ludicrous made up nonsense, because they know they can get away with it, because nobody will hold them to account.

The Hindu Council

The first piece of fakery was spread by the ITV journalist Paul Brand, who tweeted an anti-Labour letter from the "Hindu Council" accompanied by the dramatic claim that "Major interventions in this election today from pretty much every major faith in Britain. Astonishing".

But if you actually read the letter, it's a poorly written anti-Muslim diatribe, full of bizarre clunky language, spelling mistakes, weirdly tangential points, utterly brazen bias in favour of the Indian BJP government, and seething undisguised hatred of Muslims and the Labour Party.

Then if you look up who the "Hindu Council" are it turns out to be a tiny ultra-obscure pro-BJP pressure group with just 206 Facebook followers!

206 Facebook followers: "major intervention" ... "extraordinary"!

It looks an awful lot like Brand didn't research where the letter came from, didn't even bother to read the lamentable diatribe, and just tweeted it out as a "major ... major ... astonishing" scandal because the letter chimed with the anti-Corbyn agenda!

The anti-Corbyn mob obviously pounced on Brand's Tweet and retweeted it over 3,000 times amplifying it beyond the scale of anything this bunch of hyper-partisan weirdos could ever have dreamed of.

Then the Daily Mail picked up on it and included it in one of their grotesque anti-Labour diatribes, but they couldn't even find a picture of the leader of this ridiculously obscure 'Hindu Council' outfit (Anil Bhanot), so they had to include a picture of Corbyn himself in the article header image instead!

Instead of reporting the news, Brand blatantly created it by lavishing free publicity on a nasty hyper-partisan bunch of Muslim-bashing BJP extremists, and by fabricating the absolute fiction that this tiny ultra-obscure operation is somehow representative of the entire Hindu faith in Britain, purely because their vile, incompetently scrawled letter chimed with the mainstream media "Get Corbyn" agenda.

Leaked chat screenshot

The next piece of fakery was even more absurd, and even more widely retweeted, with multiple iterations of the image in question going viral on Twitter.

The original source for the screenshot was the Sky News Technology correspondent Rowland Manthorpe, who published an outraged Tweet about a supposed Labour WhatsApp plot to media-manage the reaction to the Andrew Neil - Jeremy Corbyn interview (more on that later).

The glaringly obvious thing about the leaked media management instructions from a supposed Labour campaigner is that they're all right-aligned, which means, as anyone who has ever used a messaging app will know, whoever leaked this set of instructions to the press is actually the person who wrote them.

You would have thought that the Sky News technology correspondent should have an understanding of the absolute basics of how messaging apps work, but apparently not.

Manthorpe shared the screenshot with absolutely no indication that the leak had been composed by the person who leaked it.

When pushed on the actual source of this screenshot, Manthorpe said it was posted in a Labour activist group, then said that the post has now (conveniently) been deleted.

He won't say which activist group it came from, nor who leaked it to him, so it's entirely unattributed, as well as being obviously fake.

All we know about it really is that whoever came up with this scam was so utterly thick that they didn't even bother setting up two accounts so that they could send it to themselves, then leak what they'd written themselves as received messages, rather than sent ones.

But despite the ridiculous cack-handed fakery of it, this absurd screenshot has been spread all over social media, and seen hundreds of thousands of times, all triggered by a technology correspondent who apparently doesn't know how messaging apps work!

Andrew Neil's lie

Corbyn's interview with Andrew Neil went about as well as anyone would have expected given Neil's ridiculous interview technique of spewing furious monologues, and then continually hectoring and interrupting when his interviewee victim attempts to reply.

Neil caught Corbyn in an all time classic trap, called the wifebeater fallacy, listing a load of Labour's failings on antisemitism, then demanding Corbyn apologise for it all, even though he had absolutely no influence over almost all of it (Labour disciplinary procedures are independent from the party leader for obvious reasons).

Corbyn refused to fall into the wifebeater trap, because he knew the mainstream media would play it as an admission that he was personally apologising for being an anti-Semite, which he obviously isn't ... but it's a double edged sword, so literally all of the front pages of the right-wing propaganda rags bar the Daily Star are blaring about Corbyn refusing to apologise to Jews!

The only problem is that in his barrage of 'evidence' about Labour anti-semitism, Neil included an outright lie.

He said "let me give you the case of Lesley Perrin...She posted a video denying the Holocaust and questioned whether the six million figure was accurate. And what did the Labour Party do? It gave her a written warning. No expulsion, no zero tolerance, just a written warning".

This seems unequivocally bad, but then look into the actual facts of the case and it turns out that Perrin actually quit the Labour Party as soon as the investigation into her comments was opened.

Labour didn't let her off with "just a warning" as Neil claimed, because they actually had no power whatever to investigate or discipline her, once she'd quit the party.

Of course it's fair game and a legitimate line of questioning to ask Corbyn about antisemitism, and what Labour are doing to combat it, but if the problem is as awful as so many people are making out, why on earth is there a need to exaggerate and make things up?

Neil's lie isn't actually as bad as the previous two examples, because he could simply have got his 'facts' muddled up in his extended Labour antisemitism monologue, but it's far worse in scale because him hectoring Corbyn to apologise for something that didn't even happen formed the basis of anti-Corbyn hatchet jobs on the front pages all of the billionaire-owned right-wing propaganda rags the following day.


The BBC's Andrew Neil won't be held to account for lying about Labour disciplinary procedures. Just like Sky's Roland Manthorpe won't be disciplined for sharing the kind of obvious fakery a technology correspondent should be able to spot instantly. Just like ITV's Paul Brand won't be disciplined for boosting a ridiculously obscure bunch of politically partisan, far-right Islamophobes purely because their rabid screed aligned with the "get Corbyn" mainstream media agenda.

These people, from three of the UK's biggest and most influential news broadcasters, will suffer no consequences whatever for amplifying extremist groups, spreading ridiculous fakery, and telling lies about antisemitism, so they'll obviously do it again, and again, and again, because they know they can get away with it, and because they know they get rewarded with masses of attention when their fakery goes viral.

No consequences for them means terrible consequences for the rest of us: which will manifest as the continued deterioration of journalistic standards to the point where journalists can just spread whatever made-up bollocks and lies they like in order to generate retweets, and front page headlines, to the point it becomes almost impossible to differentiate between what's real, and what's just partisan fakery.

How are we supposed to believe anything we see from mainstream media broadcasters when their journalists are willing to just make stuff up, and amplify palpable nonsense, purely to fit the partisan political agenda they're pushing?

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



andy said...

As much as I hate to have to say this, Perrin did get a warning letter before she left the party. I find the link and post

Bonzo said...

Are you sure it was a warning letter? The procedure is to send a notification of investigation. The warning letter would only be sent at the conclusion of the process.

andy said...

sorry to be the bearer of bad news but i think you should correct the article

Rob Burley: Lesley Perrin did leave the Labour Party shortly after these comments came to light, but the Labour Party wrote to her giving her a warning for her conduct. We've seen this letter. They didn't expel or suspend her but issued a "Reminder of Conduct"

Patsicuppa said...

Perhaps that’s all they could do if she had left ?

Patsicuppa said...

Perhaps that’s all they could do if she had left ?

andy said...

Maybe it all about time and dates i try to find out but to be honest i dont really no how the proceedures work. Ill get back to you if i find anything.

I have mixed feelings about the interview. In one way I feel people are sick of this Antisemitism crap so maybe it will backfire anyway. On the other it would have been nice to concentrate on real issues. EG 130 economist support Corbyn plans on economy etc etc .
I actually live in Spain I received my postal vote yesterday and sent it this morning.
Ill get back if i find anything

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Ultraviolet said...

One point you haven't commented. In that graphic about the religious leaders piling on, the text at the top says this Hindu group joined the Muslim Council of Britain in backing the rabbi attacking Corbyn.

They didn't.

Not in the slightest.

They trolled the media by backing the sentiment, with a classic bait and switch which attacked the Tories for their Islamophobia.

So that was a piece of blatant fake news, reporting an attack on the Tories as an attack on Labour.

Ultraviolet said...

Andy, there is now a comment in that reddit link which says that the letter is not the conclusion of the matter. It is something done pending a decision by the NEC.

So I don't think the BBC is off the hook - at least not yet and as a result of the mere existence of that letter.

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