While those in and around the Brexit debate digest the news about Cambridge Analytica and that 50-million-strong data breach, somewhere out there on the right there are excuses being readied. Because not only has the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr been proved right in spades, those who smeared her as a conspiracy theorist have their own questions to answer. And those answers are likely to prove unconvincing.
So who might now find themselves covered in rather more than confusion? To no surprise at all, the answer is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, whose smearing of Ms Cadwalladr kicked off in no style at all last July as part of a post titled “BBC Promoting Cranks And Conspiracy Theorists”.
Here, they told “Last night Newsnight aired a 13 minute video investigating whether Leave.EU ‘hypnotised’ - Newsnight’s word - the British public into voting for Brexit. The package, complete with comically sinister music, was based on a conspiracy theory by a tin foil hatted journalist called Carole Cadwalladr that a shadowy American company working for Leave.EU stole the referendum. This is bonkers. Leave.EU weren’t even the official Leave campaign”. Mental health smear: check!
There was more. “The swivel-eyed Remain media can’t bring itself to believe people voted Leave of their own accord, they want to believe it was stolen. The Beeb is giving credence to a huge amount of nonsense at the moment”. And another mental health smear.
The framing of Ms Cadwalladr as not credible continued later last year with her inclusion in “10 People Who’ve Been Driven Mad By Brexit” [mental health smear: check!], alongside Alastair Campbell, who has suffered well-documented depression. Classy, eh?
This time, the schtick was “Cadwalladr appears to genuinely believe Brexit was a Russian plot, she has claimed the Leave campaign used psy-ops to hoodwink voters and doesn’t appear to realise she is being elaborately trolled by Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore who have christened her ‘Carole Codswallop’”. Banksy and Wiggy, eh? Top plonkers!
And the Fawkes Massive was not finished yet. “Last night she suggested lifelong Eurosceptic Michael Gove only backed Vote Leave on the orders of the Legatum Institute, who she reckons are agents of Putin. It’s so ridiculous even Newsnight have taken the piss. The Observer’s continued indulging of her conspiracy theories seems almost exploitative”. Mostly untrue, and tediously so. But not a word chez Fawkes today.
Not even an acknowledgement of Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear telling “We will have our full interview with @CamAnalytica whistleblower Chris Wylie here http://www.channel4.com/news imminently with details of the grab of 50 million @facebook profiles and their use by the data firm which credits itself with @realDonaldTrump's election victory”. Ms Cadwalladr was right then, and she’s right now.
But instead of waiting for the evidence, The Great Guido sided with the likes of Arron Banks - a congenital blowhard and liar with a shady financial backstory - and trashed the journalist who has been exposing serious wrongdoing.
Why would they do that? You might wish to ask that - I couldn’t possibly comment.