The current media phrase du jour is Fake News. What has for some time now been touted as mere opinion, “edgy”, “challenging”, or “telling it like it is” is now getting called out for what it is - propagandising, misinformation, and most often, lying. And now we have those who have made their names peddling Fake News playing “look over there” in order to smear reputable news sites for personal gain.
To no surprise at all, this sly and creepy tactic has not taken long to be deployed by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, where newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham was full value for his nickname yesterday as he tried - and failed miserably - to pin the Fake News tag on the Guardian.
Under the heading “Murdoch Requests Correction Over Guardian Fake News”, readers of the Fawkes blog were told “Anyone with a Twitter account will at some point have seen one of the many memes quoting Rupert Murdoch on why he backs Brexit: ‘When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice’. The quote was first attributed to him by Anthony Hilton in the Standard and repeated in the Guardian and Indy, as well has being shared thousands and thousands of times on social media by the usual Murdophobes. Today Rupert has written to the Guardian to demand a correction”. A sentence from Murdoch’s letter to the paper was then quoted.
Milk, no sugar, there's a good teaboy
The post was a pack of lies from start to finish. Let’s itemise the Wickham whoppers.
Murdoch did not request a correction from the Guardian. He merely stated that he had not used the form of words quoted in his letter.
It was not a Guardian story. As Wickham concedes, the attribution of the quote was first made in the Evening Standard. So why not kick them?
It is not provably false news. Murdoch may have said something with the same meaning; he may not. But Wickham is not in a position to say one way or the other.
Murdoch’s claim is directly contradicted by a former Prime Minister. John Major, in testimony given before the Leveson Inquiry (video HERE) asserted that Murdoch told him that he wished the then Tory Government to change its policies on Europe, and that if it did not, News International’s papers “could not, and would not, support him”.
. Considering it’s the Guardian that has been targeted, one might expect the Fawkes blog to link to the paper’s website. But the only link provided is to the Standard. That’s not good enough.
That the quote was widely shared is not down to the Guardian. If the Standard puts a story out there and it gets shared, how can you blame another outlet for it?
No citation from the Independent is given. Wickham claims the Indy also ran the quote, but again, gives no citation. That’s just lazy.
Murdoch did not write to the Guardian to demand a correction. See first point above.
The objective of the post is not to kick the Guardian. Wickham’s true purpose can be gleaned from the final sentence in the paragraph quoted: “Today Rupert has written to the Guardian …”. Yes, the real objective of this smear is crawling.
Alex Wickham is trying to ingratiate himself with Rupert Murdoch in the most fawning, grovelling, simpering manner. “Please Rupert, see I’ve kicked the Guardian for you Rupert, give me a job Rupert, you gave Harry a job Rupert, I’ll fit in anywhere Rupert, I’ll even lick the crap out of the crack in your jacksy Rupert”. Pass the sick bucket.
Rupert Murdoch, as any fule kno, is known, even to those who know him personally, as KRM. And Alex Wickham is about to exhaust the contents of yet another fire extinguisher, as his pants are once again well alight.
The only false news in this story is the kind coming from the Fawkes rabble. Another fine mess, once again.