As if the right-leaning part of the Web, that part of the political spectrum from centre-right through to partisan cheerleading to downright fake news and on to the ranting and paranoid conspiracy mongers, were not already full enough with sources claiming to be offering information, but instead providing nothing more that a variety of propagandising, yesterday brought yet another site vying for its place in the sun.
The new entrant is called Westmonster, and is bankrolled by Arron Banks, dodgy salesman of no discernible principle and provider of serious amounts of money to UKIP, especially when the party was being used as a self-publicity vehicle by Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. Banks is clearly unhappy with all those websites serving up information in a way that shows the Kippers in a less than favourable light.
That, of course, may be not unconnected to the inconvenient fact that many in UKIP are bigoted, racist, misogynist, intolerant and serially dishonest, this last certainly being true of Farage, as Zelo Street regulars will know. And the Kippers already have the convocation of the terminally batshit otherwise known as Breitbart to shill for them. But for Banks this is not enough: he wants his own hands on the throat of editorial control.
And while Banks’ co-creator Michael Heaver has claimed he is not going to peddle Fake News, that is exactly what they are doing from the get-go: “‘Anti-establishment’ site is being edited by Nigel Farage’s former press officer and will mix aggregation and some original content” tells the Guardian. “Arron Banks launches anti-establishment website” claims Amol Rajan at the BBC, even dispensing with the quote marks.
So, for all those who have been taken in by this slice of blatantly Fake News, let’s take this nice and slowly: Farage, Banks and Heaver cannot by their very being be “anti-establishment”. They are an integral part of the establishment. So if the rest of the media circus can’t see that one, they are unlikely to hold this shower to account.
It’s not as if the Fake News offered by Westmonster is difficult to spot: stories of “Jihadists” in Germany (Breitbart knows all about sourcing its Fake News from there), claims of non-existent post-Brexit trade deals, smearing of those the Alt-Right (for which read the far right) don’t like, propagandising for Nige and his pals, all are present.
And that logo looks vaguely fascist, with its W and M on a white background. All it needs now is a red background with a white circle in the centre and it will be a genuinely fascist one. Westmonster does no more than tread the same path as Breitbart - slavish adoration of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, delusional promotion of Kippers, self-promotion (as if anyone cares), and selecting the bits of real news it approves of.
The difference is that this is Banks’ vanity project. But there is not going to be room for all the ranters, and something is going to have to give. My feeling is that Breitbart, as the incumbent in this area, will take some dislodging, which is why Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam for once appears intensely relaxed about the new competition.
Still, if Arron Banks wants to spray his money up the wall, he is free to do so. And others are free to tell him he’s a total prat while they laugh at him. You’re welcome, Arry.