Many users of social media, especially those on the left, give broadcasters, and especially the BBC, a hard time because their reporting does not always serve up news that is acceptable to them. That the real world may bring unpalatable truths, though, is part and parcel not only of everyday life, but the Beeb’s duty to report. That is not a problem. What is a problem is when the oxygen of publicity is given to right wing fake news outlets.
Milk, no sugar, hold the smears
And there is no greater bringer of - at least borderline - fake news than the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. The Fawkes massive are also no strangers to failure, today bringing another flop at they try to do their press masters’ bidding by laying into independent press regulator Impress. The post is another fake news item. It is going nowhere. And it is not the only Fawkes flop.
Jo Coburn, today's Daily Politics presenter
Much more significant has been the vicious attack on Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, who represents Kensington. This has followed the usual sneering and bullying template established by the Fawkes blog’s newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, which had previously been utilised to try and unsettle new intake MP Laura Pidcock, allied to a little bullying and threatening towards her Parliamentary researcher.
Another fake story ...
The attack on Ms Dent Coad, which began two days ago, generated no front page newspaper exposure yesterday. It has generated no front page newspaper exposure today - despite the Fawkes rabble calling in their pals, notably LBC host Iain Dale and Murdoch hack Iain “a clear public interest defence” Martin, and persuading a number of Tory MPs to do their clear partisan duty and kick the Rotten Lefty (tm).
... a nasty threat ...
The use of threats was typified by Wickham telling his followers “Corbyn to have ‘a chat’ with Emma Dent Coad. That chat might take a slightly different tone after tomorrow morning’s story”. Yeah, we’re going to do her in good and proper in the morning - are we not men? WE ARE GUIDO! Sadly, there was no story “in the morning”. It was an empty threat, another attempt to scare by reputation, another slice of fake news.
... two pals roped in ...
But that did not stop the BBC Daily Politics from humouring The Great Guido and running the Dent Coad story as if it were a serious news item, rather than a nasty bunch of fake news merchants and their Press Establishment masters trying to take out an MP whose focus on the Grenfell Tower aftermath could cause the Tories significant discomfort.
... make that three pals
Why did the Beeb effectively promote the Fawkes fakers? The story, such as it was, had been promoted by the Fawkes rabble solidly since Monday and had got precisely nowhere. What interest is served by giving prime time coverage to another attempt by the Fourth Estate’s boot boys to bully and intimidate a woman Labour MP? Was there equal coverage given to Ms Dent Coad’s latest report and campaigning on the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster? And if not, why not?
And the inevitable result
Why is a respected public service broadcaster giving airtime not just to a borderline fake news site, but one so beset by failure? It would be interesting to see the answer.