We all make mistakes, and Zelo Street is no exception; no media outlet is above the weaknesses of humanity. But there is a gaping chasm between occasionally getting it wrong, and deliberate deceit, and here we arrive at the world of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have of late taken to calling out others for peddling what The Great Guido has decreed is Fake News.
To this end, the Fawkes blog has accused Byline Media, The Canary, BuzzFeed, the Labour leadership, James O’Brien and Skwawkbox of peddling Fake News, and has rather grandly issued “Guido’s Guide To News, Fake And Otherwise”. But one name is missing from this roll call, and that is the Fawkes rabble itself. So let me correct them.
Yesterday The Great Guido told readers “Labour Breaks Own Leveson Pledge”, going on to say “In a 2014 speech delivered to mark the second anniversary of the Leveson Inquiry, Labour media supremo Tom Watson said …”. Not a good start.
Selective reporting: Watson was giving the second annual Hacked Off Leveson Lecture, delivered to a packed house at One Great George Street. But, as a media establishment poodle, it is understandable that the Fawkes blog doesn’t mention Hacked Off.
Fake News, you say? What might that look like? Well ...
Then comes the extract from Watson’s lecture: “We all - every party including my own - need to comply with the Leveson recommendations on the contacts we have with senior journalists, editors and proprietors. There is a lot of talk about the public’s right to know, well given the shabby history, the public has a clear right to know when their elected representatives are mixing with these people and why … All parties need to do what the judge asked on that point”. Oh dear, Fawkes folks!
There’s a key word missing from that, a word on which the entire post hinges. Now what could that word be? One word, sounds like a household cleaner, six letters, begins with P. Come on now, have to hurry you, no conferring … it’s, er, PLEDGE.
Tom Watson did not pledge either himself or his party to do anything. So the whole premise of the Fawkes rabble’s attack is based on lying - and not for the first time.
And there’s more: “The Tories have written to Jeremy Corbyn to raise the issue ‘that the Labour Party has not published any transparency data relating to meetings with proprietors, editors and senior media executives since the last general election’”. That’s not true either: only one Tory, Luke Hall MP, wrote to Jezza.
... it might just look like this
Not going well, is it? And it’s not done yet: “Despite Max Mosley giving £500,000 to Tom Watson to get him to push the Leveson agenda” tells The Great Guido. But there is no evidence to back this up. Still, details, eh? Have another go.
“Labour has broken its very own Leveson pledge”. There was no Leveson pledge in the first place. So it would have been difficult to break it.
Worst of all, this is crude deflection: the one party leader who has been meeting media barons and editors is Theresa May, and well the Fawkes rabble know it. Staines and his pals have no room to lecture anyone about Fake News. Another fine mess.