Showing the world that they care about the NHS (cue hollow laughter) the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have dedicated a whole post to the service today without slagging it off or otherwise dispensing falsehood and misinformation. That is because, for once, the NHS is not The Great Guido’s target. That honour goes to left-leaning commentator Paul Mason.
Mason, who has incurred the displeasure of the Fawkes folks’ masters, those being the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate, for dispensing opinions which cause many of them significant discomfort, had said before any of Sunday’s front pages were revealed that there would be a move to keep the growing problems of the NHS off those front pages. He also referred to the larger part of the press as “propagandists”.
That aside may happen to be true - minor point, eh, lads - but one does not put one’s head above the parapet and say such things without there being a sustained effort afterwards to shoot it off. The Fawkes rabble did not need to wait to be prompted: the prospect of being thrown a few more biscuits was too appealing to pass up.
And so it came to pass that The Great Guido posted “Paul Mason’s Trumpian NHS Crisis Conspiracy Debunked”. What has Trump or Trump-like behaviour to do with it? Well, nothing at all, but then, when you’re running a borderline Fake News operation, you just chuck anything over the fence in the hope it’ll stick. This is followed by “Over the weekend Paul Mason emerged from his leather-jacketed midlife crisis to reveal his latest conspiracy theory”. Ho Yus. The Fawkes folks calling “conspiracy theory” on others.
But go do on. “Mason reckons the press are conspiring to keep NHS stories out of their papers so they can please their proprietors and secure invites to Downing Street drinks parties”. No, O Great Guido, that is not what he said. What Mason said was that the press would find ways to take the NHS story OFF THEIR FRONT PAGES.
And Mason was right, with one exception: the Observer, aka Guardian on Sunday, put the NHS on its front page. The Mail on Sunday ran a major story on the same subject, but on inside pages only. Mason was proved right. But The Great Guido ploughs on, telling a whole stack of lies, before telling their readers that Mason is telling, er, lies.
So we see “Mason told his followers that journalists at the Mail on Sunday had kept the NHS crisis out of the paper” (no citation), “Mason said there was ‘No NHS crisis’ in the Sunday Telegraph” (ditto), “Mason also claimed the Sunday Times had ignored the issue” (ditto), and “Mason said the same of The Sun on Sunday” (ditto). Then they wibble “Mason has so far failed to tweet any of this coverage or admit he was telling his followers a pack of fibs”. That is because he did not claim what the Fawkes mob are claiming.
Paul Mason said “front page”. Apart from the Observer - which the Fawkes rabble has ignored - he was right. The evidence the Fawkes blog manages to pony up confirms that he is right. That can only mean one thing: The Great Guido is indeed running a borderline Fake News operation. And in this he is succeeding magnificently.
And it will dent Mason’s credibility not one jot. Another fine mess, once again.