As the date pencilled in for the UK to leave the EU draws ever nearer, minds are becoming focused on the prospects for deals - and, indeed, no deal. The result of that focus, though, is proving highly variable, especially when it comes to factual accuracy. Indeed, for those hacks working in the service of the more desperate right-leaning titles, facts are proving to be the first casualty of their own particular information war.
Christopher Hope ...
So it has been at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, where chief political correspondent Christopher “No” Hope has decided that what happened yesterday in Paris, where alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson met with Président Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace, did not really happen. This has allowed him to declare victory for Bozo The Clown in the retelling.
... and the fruits of his dishonesty
As with Bozo’s meeting with Angela Merkel the previous day, full advantage was taken of the language difference, and that most Telegraph readers believe that speaking languages other than English means speaking English very loudly, and very slowly. So it was that Hope told his followers “Brexit latest news: Major boost for Boris Johnson as Emmanuel Macron says Withdrawal Agreement can be amended”.
There was only one problem with that claim: Macron had not said what Hope claimed. As Georgina Wright of the Institute for Government summed up, “My take on Macron: - Repeats EU stance: open to further talks but UK must put fwd workable alternatives that solve border & protect SM - Says time is short: cautions that WA is unlikely to fundamentally change - Reminds that EU Commission who negotiates, not EU leaders”.
She then added “In other words, nothing new”. So there should have been no surprise at the blowback. “Why are you reporting the opposite of what was said? I listened to the whole press conference and Macron said nothing of the sort … Macron said nothing of the sort. He said the WA has been agreed by the 27 and will not be reopened. Go get your ears syringed and then listen again” being typical. And there was more.
“Macron said no such thing … He said nothing remotely like this … That's simply untrue … No he didn’t, liar … In your dreams … President Macron said NOTHING of the sort. You and the torygraph should be ashamed of peddling lies”. But there it is in the Tel this morning, demonstrating how far the former paper of record has fallen.
“Johnson demands fresh border plan … PM orders ministers to turbocharge search for new Irish solution as Macron says Withdrawal Agreement can be amended”. Tell the readers the truth? Ah, but that’s so last Century.
This wilful detachment from reality prompted Rob Hutton to devise a new way through the Brexit minefield: “One possible Brexit solution is for the Telegraph just to announce the backstop has been removed, and everybody else to agree to stay quiet”.
Given Christopher Hope’s shameless ability to paint rank dishonesty as premium standard journalism, that might just work. Small mercies, and all that.
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