After the revelations over the weekend in the Observer, and yesterday’s exposé of data mining specialists Cambridge Analytica by Channel 4 News, has come the very deliberate, and all too predictable, pushback. This was begun last night with the disgraceful complicity of the BBC as CA’s head man Alexander Nix was allowed to spin for his supper in an interview recorded before either he or the Beeb knew what Channel 4 would be running.
Nix blustered “I think that their undercover sting was intended to embarrass us … by presenting a mischaracterisation of the facts”, whereas what Channel 4 News demonstrated was that he had proposed a dirty tricks campaign in order to discredit election opponents. There was bugger all mischaracterisation of those facts possible, and so both Nix and BBC Newsnight fell at the first hurdle.
But those who wanted to wade in with the damage limitation had not even got started, as a supremely arrogant pile of bluster by Mark Wallace at Conservative Home has demonstrated. Here, he explains why nobody really understands what it’s about, how Carole Cadwalladr got it wrong, and how everybody he wants to discredit is “bullshitting”.
Nothing, he stresses, is improper about use of data for micro-targeting. Leave EU is dismissed as “the clown car project of Arron Banks”, any connection between them and Vote Leave dismissed as they were “two campaigns that loathed each other”, any work for the Trump campaign wasn’t really important because, well, Ted Cruz, and remember, folks, that the rotten leftie Guardian is BULLSHITTING!
And I believe that like I didn’t believe any of Wallace’s crap from his days at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, another repository of deliberate spin and misinformation. Nor should anyone believe the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who said nothing about CA - until this morning.
The Great Guido has entered the fray in classic spin mode - give a little away in order to divert attention. Under the headline “Cambridge Analytica Boss Considers Resigning”, readers are told “Cambridge Analytica’s poundshop Bond villain and bullsh*tter extraordinaire Alexander Nix says he is considering resigning after he was filmed telling an undercover reporter he could entrap politicians with Ukrainian prostitutes”.
Hey, someone else is BULLSHITTING! And there’s more. “Nix tells the Times: ‘If that is going to help the company that is the right thing to happen’. It seems he was making all this up to land a client and his comical exaggerations could see him having to quit over something he hasn’t actually done”. IT WAS ONLY A BIT OF FUN! So why is the Information Commission going in to CA right now, backed by a court order?
He didn’t do what Channel 4 News showed him actually doing. He made up something that he clearly pitched in order to land a client. Let’s not drive this one round the houses any longer - the only bullshitting being done here is by the likes of Wallace and his pals at the Fawkes blog (Wal and Staines are buddies going back several years).
Give it up, lads. This story has a long way to run, there is more coming down the track, and you’re just making yourselves look stupid. So no change there, then.