This week, our free and fearless press has once again lost sight of the old but reliable adage that warns something looking too good to be true may just look that way … because it is too good to be true. Add in the herd mentality of the Fourth Estate, and an inability to realise that the Telegraph is not described as increasingly desperate and downmarket for nothing, and you have the fiction that is Farage The Movie.
Naturally, the UKIP-loving Express was in its element, telling “Bad Boys of Brexit: The Movie - And you'll never guess who's tipped to play Farage in epic … NIGEL Farage's life story is to be made into a £60million six-part Hollywood film series … The former Ukip leader and the party's top donor, Arron Banks, are set to sign a deal with a Hollywood studio for the series based on Mr Banks' diary of the referendum campaign”.
Do go on. “Oscar winner Kevin Spacey or Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch have been tipped to play Mr Farage”. Now, at this point, the bullshit detector should be screaming so loudly that anyone with brain engaged and a hole in their backside would avoid the alleged story like the plague. But only slowly was reality allowed to intrude.
The Evening Standard told readers “Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign has caught the eye of film bosses who are keen to transform it into a £60 million TV series … Farage and Arron Banks are reportedly gearing up to sign a deal with a Hollywood studio next month”. So it’s only “reportedly” being made, with bosses “keen to transform” Banks’ diaries.
And the Independent is that little bit more sceptical: “Mr Farage and Arron Banks, one of the co-founders of the Leave.EU campaign, are reportedly all set to sign a £60 million deal with a major Hollywood studio for a TV series next month”. So again, it’s “reportedly”, and Banks and Mr Thirsty are “set to sign”. But they haven’t.
Meanwhile, someone at Business Insider appeared to have seen the Telegraph story coming, making sure the caveats were clear for readers to see: “A major Hollywood studio is about to sign a £60 million ($78 million) deal to dramatise the events that led to Brexit, The Sunday Telegraph reported … The newspaper said an agreement will be signed in Los Angeles next month to adapt book ‘The Bad Boys of Brexit’”.
Moreover, BI also cautioned “It is also not clear what form the project will take” and quoted broadcaster and publisher Iain Dale as saying “The main question is Danny DeVito is available to play Arron Banks”. There is a heavy hint there that rather a lot of newspapers have been unable to take. So let’s cut to the chase.
The alleged studio involved is not named, although there is more of that oh-so-dependable speculation. Nothing has been signed. It looks like the story has come from a single source. And Farage and Banks, who are the only ones wanting to shoot their mouths off about it, are not known for their dedication to pure unvarnished truth.
Farage The Movie is a con. The Telegraph was desperate enough, and friendly enough with the former UKIP leader, to take the bait. The remainder of the press was, to a greater or lesser extent, gullible enough to go along with the idea.
Nigel Farage cons the press once again. They have no-one to blame but themselves.