The customarily low standard of reportage emanating from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog might have been thought to be bad enough, but over the weekend has fallen yet further, as The Great Guido has been well and truly hoaxed by a cod article claiming to be from the Coventry Telegraph, but actually nothing of the sort. And it was that paper which called out the hoax.
As the Coventry Tel has told, “BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has found himself at the centre of a media storm after The Sun criticised posts from the presenter’s Twitter account which hit out at the ‘racist and heartless’ treatment of Syrian refugees … Now, a prankster has cobbled together a false story purporting to be from the Telegraph which indicates Mr Lineker has a financial incentive for Syrian refugees to be allowed into the country through his connections with Walkers crisps”.
How so? “The Gary Lineker child migrants row has been fuelled by a fake mock up of a Telegraph article which has gone viral online … Users of social media website Twitter have been furiously sharing the spoof article which has been posted by online satirical magazine Vive Charlie”. And what does the article say?
“The untrue article suggests there had been a raid on a Walkers crisp factory this month in which 50 illegal immigrants were arrested … But it is actually a modified version of an article from 2005 which makes no reference to Mr Lineker”. Vive Charlie then Tweeted out the link: “A screenshot of the fake article was shared from the Vive Charlie account @ViveCharlieMag with the message: ‘BREAKING. Virtue signally crisp salesman @GaryLineker’s stance on migrants is actually for personal financial gain…’”.
That Tweet was timed at 0847 hours on 21st October. At just after 1700 hours - more than eight hours later - the Fawkes blog posted “Walkers Crisps Factory Was Raided For Illegal Immigrants”, together with a screen shot of the faked article and a photo of their real target, Gary Lineker. After all, a Murdoch target is a Fawkes target, too.
And the text under the photo montage hardly gave the Fawkes mob any wriggle room: “When the advertising implied Lineker would do anything to get more crisps, they were just joking, right?” It must have been a heavy lunchtime session last Friday.
Not only that, the Fakwes blog’s other late afternoon offering from that day, “Look Inside Slug-On-Thames”, about a suggested temporary Parliament facility floating on the Thames, to be used while the Houses Of Parliament receive a much-needed refurbishment, was equally crap - because by the time the post was published, the scheme had already been ruled out. Who was it said “You booze, you lose”?
That would have been The Great Guido himself. Peddling old news and then recycling a hoax story that looked too good to be true - because it was? Another fine mess, once again.