Right on cue, as if to demonstrate to anyone who has not already realised it, has come an escalation in the Downing Street Fake News campaign so blatant, so crude, and indeed so malevolent, that any formerly responsible journalist who had previously been taken in by the charade manufactured by Dominic Cummings, chief polecat to alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, should have woken up and taken notice.
Veteran journalist Peter Oborne called out those who had been complicit: ITV political editor Robert Peston protested - a little. His BBC counterpart Laura Kuenssberg maintained her silence. Perhaps it wasn’t really happening. Then the Member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg declared to his fellow MPs that “The prime minister always tells the truth”, and it was clear that there was not going to be a respite.
Indeed, the “10 Downing Street sources”, senior or otherwise, have just carried on. Except that they have changed tack. “Downing Street source says Peter Oborne has written an article praising the quality of information coming out of Downing Street” was the first sign of yet more disinformation: this gem would have done credit to the Central Praesidium of the Soviet Communist Party. Then came the bait and switch.
As so often, this involved the compliance of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who first put out what was clearly intended to be the bait, a post titled “Downing Street Sources Temporarily Silenced”. This, too, claimed to praise Oborne: “Oborne is right to say that hacks whose main journalistic asset appears to be phone numbers for spokesman really need to be less reliant on, and more careful about, re-broadcasting a line that the source would be too embarrassed to say in public”.
Then came the obligatory putting of the boot into the Lobby system. “The reality is that it isn’t in the interests of hacks to open up the Lobby system or insist more often that quotes are on the record. Transparency will devalue their role because information scarcity makes their possession of a spokesman’s phone number more valuable”. Yeah, right. Bullshit.
And then the switch: The Great Guido, once again, proclaiming “Lammy Accidentally Realises The Benn Act Surrenders Sovereignty”. Another not-at-all-racist-honestly attack on a favourite Fawkes target. And another attack fed to the Fawkes mob by, or on behalf of, Polecat Dom. Lobby hacks get kicked, Cummings keeps on getting his smears out.
The only difference is that, instead of real political editors being fed the attack lines, they are going instead to what Oborne correctly called “the provisional wing of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party press office”. Bozo The Clown’s shit-shovellers are playing the mainstream media like fools. And the mainstream media have yet to wake up to this.
Before long, that smear of David Lammy will find its way into the Mail, the Telegraph, the Express, the Sun, and most likely the Times. Compliant Tory MPs will obediently follow suit. As a result, the likes of Peston and Ms Kuenssberg will find themselves having to mention it. There is so much bullshit coming out of Downing Street that it is going to take a lot more than a moment of reflection from the broadcasters to stop it.
When are these journalists going to smell the coffee? Don’t bet on anything any time soon.
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