Posts Tagged ‘Boadicea’

Ian Hislop Presents Beeb Programme on Fake News

October 6, 2019

According to this week’s Radio Times, Private Eye’s editor, Ian Hislop, is going to present a programme tomorrow at 9.00 pm on BBC 4 on fake news. The programme’s titled ‘Ian Hislop’s Fake News: A True Story’. The blurb for it on page 75 of the Radio Times runs

The concept of “fake news” may seem like a recent, politically motivated invention, but Ian Hislop takes a long view and finds that fake news was found to be profitable long before the uncertain times of internet trolls and echo chambers. He recounts the story¬†of the 1835 New York Sun “scoops”, which told its readers there was evidence of flying man-bats on the Moon. He also learns how fake news caused a real war between America and Spain.

An additional article about the programme, written by the Radio Times’ editor, Alison Graham, on page 73, runs

Ian Hislop looks sceptically at Christopher Blair, an unapologetic purveyor of fake news, or rather, made-up nonsense that’s simply designed,¬† claims Blair, to provoke the American alt-right into a frothing frenzy. It’s all done,m he says, in the name of satire.

Of course, Hislop knows a thing or two about satire, and he is unconvinced, worrying that sending such pap into the universe means even sensible people doubt the truth of real and actual news stories.

In a jolly, occasionally serious history of fake news, which of course didn’t begin with Donald Trump, Hislop goes back to 1835 and an American newspaper’s pile of piffle about telescopes trained on the Moon spotting herds of bison and “flying man-bats”. It was a sensation as crowds thronged the street outside the paper’s offices, demanding more. Thus an important lesson was learnt: fake news sells.

The Origin of the Press in 17th Century Wars of Religion

The 1835 Moon hoax is notorious. It was based on Britain sending a real astronomer to oversee the construction of a telescope and astronomical observations in South Africa. The editor of the New York Sun used this as the occasion to run a spectacular story about this astronomer having discovered, through his telescope, life on the Moon. But fake news also long predates that incident as well. The ultimate origin of the news media lies in the 17th century and the 30 Years’ War in Germany and British Civil War. The first newspapers were written to inform merchants around Europe about evens in Germany, during a conflict which ended with 1/5 of the population dead of starvation. During the British Civil War supporters of both sides wrote news sheets not just to inform people of events, but also as propaganda. And some of it was very definitely fake news. This was a deeply religious age, and the wars were religious conflicts between Roman Catholics and Protestants in Germany, and the monarchy and Anglican church on one side against parliament and the Puritans and other, more radical Protestant groups on the other. Visions, omens and miracles were widely publicised, as it was believed that these showed God’s anger or favour towards the different factions. And some of these look very, very much like fake news. Such as the supposed encounter by a British ship out in the English channel with a merman, bearing a scroll in his hand. This fishy fellow told the astonished sailors that he was heading up the Thames to present the scroll to Crown and parliament in order to get them to desist. Or something like it. Whatever happened, it all seems very dubious to me, and looks very much as though the story ultimately had its origins in a tavern somewhere, written by the kind of hack, who used to write for the Scum and the Sport. Back in 1983 the Scum ran a story in which a medium supposedly contacted the spirits of dead British heroes and heroines to see which politicians they backed. Boadicea, apparently, gave her support to Maggie Thatcher and the warriors of Goose Green. While the Sport told us all how a B52 bomber had supposedly been found on the Moon.

The Sport and the Weekly World News

The Sport always struck me as an attempt to imitate the American Weekly World News and other tabloid newspapers. It was the Weekly World News that gave the world very obviously fake stories about aliens giving their vote to Bill Clinton and interviews with a man, who claimed his mother was the yeti. Quite. This all looked like harmless fun, a bit of sensationalism that despite academic fears, no-one ever really believed. But there are allegations that there was a much more serious, even sinister side to this. According to former tabloid reporter in his book about this side of the press, Grossed-Out Surgeon Vomits Inside Patient, the American intelligence agencies were planting false stories in them as deliberate disinformation.

The British State and Official Fake News

And it isn’t just the tabloid press that published disinformation and black propaganda on behalf of the government. Over here, the IRD – a department of the British secret state – used to plant fake stories in the newspapers as part of a propaganda battle with the Communist bloc. They also concocted fake stories to destabilise the IRA and other Republican groups in Northern Ireland, and to smear the Labour party as having connections with Communism or Irish nationalist terrorism. Indeed the amount of lies put out by the IRA and other terror groups and the British government was so bad, that academics trying to make sense of what was going on in Ulster stated that they had no idea what was going on. And we’ve seen a resurgence of the British government’s black propaganda against Corbyn and the Labour party with the tweets and fake news sent out across social media by the Institute for Statecraft, which has extensive links with British intelligence and the cyberwarfare section of the SAS.

BBC’s and Private Eye’s Lies about Labour Anti-Semitism

It is also richly hypocritical of the Beeb, and Ian Hislop, to produce a programme on fake news too, because of the role they have both played in promoting fake news against the Labour party. The BBC news team are incapable of opening their mouths about the Labour party without lying. This has become so bad and egregious that there is now a group appealing for funding to produce their own film refuting the lies about anti-Semitism in the Labour party put out in a recent, much criticised edition of Panorama. see, for example, Mike’s article at https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/10/03/leading-labour-figure-joins-documentary-to-counter-biased-bbc-panorama/

And Private Eye have been exactly the same in this regard. There is much excellent material in it, but it has shown itself as frantic as the rest of the lamestream press in denouncing Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as anti-Semites, simply because they are critical of Israel, or have pointed out that those who are, are historically correct. As Mike did when he wrote a piece stating that Ken Livingstone was right about Hitler initially supporting Zionism. That was the piece that got Mike attacked as an anti-Semite, and libeled as such in a series of articles in the press. These also claimed that he was a Holocaust denier. They were all flat-out lies, and the newspapers retracted them after Mike complained to IPSO. Nevertheless, Private Eye and the rest of the press are still pushing their lies about Corbyn and the Labour party, just as Mike, and others like him, like Jackie Walker, are still receiving foul abuse from ignorant fanatics.

And the Beeb’s history of right-wing lies doesn’t stop there. There’s also the infamous case where they put the footage of the police attack on the Miners during the Miners’ Strike the wrong was round. It was reversed, so it appeared to show the miners attacking the police. And I’ve no doubt there are many, many other incidents like this.

BBC Trying to Regain Loss Credibility with this Programme?

It’ll be interesting to see if the programme has anything to say about these incidents. But I’m not holding my breath. This looks very much like the Beeb tackling this subject partly as a way of trying to burnish its own squalid image. The BBC and the rest of the lamestream media are rapidly losing credibility in a digital age, when you can go on the Net and find out what’s really been said and done. Along with real fake news, it has to be said. This is frightening them, as the younger generation are turning away from the Beeb’s news output altogether. The Beeb is also frightened by the fact that they are increasingly unable to shape consensus opinion, and express this in statements that claim that as a society we are in danger of becoming more fragmented as people stick to the media niches they like, which may be very different from everyone else’s. Cut through this verbiage about fears about a more ideological fragmented society, and the real fear is that of the Beeb’s management and news hierarchy that they are no longer as credible or as influential as they were, and thus are increasingly irrelevant. As shown by the fact that BoJob has tried to make the internet work for him by circumventing the Beeb and holding some kind of ‘people’s Prime Minister’s Questions’ on the Net.

The Beeb has rightly become notorious for its fake news against the left, and this programme looks like an attempt by the Corporation to try to reclaim some of its loss credibility. By presenting a programme on fake news, it tries to show that it doesn’t do anything of the sort itself. And you can trust it, because the editor of Private Eye, which did prick the establishment, is presenting it. But Private Eye was set up by people, who were very much part of the establishment. John Wells was the headmaster at Eton, for example. And Ian Hislop is very much part of the same, privately educated, Oxbridge set.

It will therefore be very interesting to see if the programme has anything to say about the Corporation’s role in peddling fake news. But I very much doubt it will.

Mirror: IDS Blames 9/11 for Failure as Tory Leader

October 8, 2015

More insights into the weird psychology of Ian Duncan Smith. According to the Mirror, Smith blamed the al-Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers at 9/11 for his failure as the then leader of the Conservative party in a speech at the Tory party conference. The Mirror article begins

Leadership flop Iain Duncan Smith has blamed the 9/11 atrocities for his failed bid to be Prime Minister.

The top Tory made the claim as he launched an extraordinary attack on Tony Blair – saying he ‘milked’ the situation for all it was worth.

More than 100 Tory activists applauded Mr Duncan Smith’s comments at a packed fringe meeting at their party conference.

Fresh from a speech celebrating welfare cuts , he claimed Mr Blair’s focus on foreign policy contributed to his failure to get a foothold as party chief in 2001.

“The day before I got elected the twin towers were struck,” he told the crowd last night.

“So first of all we got no lift on my announcement. It had to be buried the following day, hardly anybody was paying attention.

“The following day I appeared for the statement in the House, straight in. I didn’t sleep that night, had to sort out shadow cabinet positions, got them all done, got in there and we were straight in.

“Now you know, when the nation is kind of at war there is only one person they look to and it is the Prime Minister, because the Prime Minister is powerful. He’s the one who directs it.

“And Blair, of course, which maybe you can argue, he milked that for all that was worth.”

It’s another piece of Tory double standards, especially coming after David Cameron’s smearing of Jeremy Corbyn yesterday as a supporter of terrorism, who didn’t really care about the 3,000 odd victims of 9/11. That was a gross lie. It appears from this that IDS doesn’t really care for the victims of the biggest terrorist outrage on American soil either, except in so far as they ruined his career as the leader of the Tory party.

As for ‘milking’ a foreign policy crisis and the ensuing war, this is exactly how Maggie Thatcher used the Falklands War to prop up her career as prime minister. Following the British victory over the Argentinians she was lauded by the Tory press as the 20th century incarnation of Boadicea. The Scum in particular harped on about how the Conservatives hoped the ‘Falklands Factor’ would help win them election after election. It helped cement her image of the defiant guardian of everything ‘British’ against foreign aggression and domestic terrorists like the IRA. This was even when she was holding secret talks with them while attacking Labour’s stance on Northern Ireland and the sympathies of many of its members with its Roman Catholics.

Several of the commenters to this blog have pointed out that Smith shows all the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and I think they have a point. This comment certainly shows the man’s egotism and colossal self-pity. He, of course, was never responsible for his failure. It was all somebody’s else’s fault. He comes across as the type of burned-out boxer portrayed by Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront, a shambling wreck c boasting about how he could have been a ‘contender’.

Blair did indeed ‘milk’ 9/11, just as Maggie milked the Falklands. He and Bush also used it as a pretext for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Many Tories, to their credit, condemned the invasion. A friend of mine even started buy the Spectator because of its anti-war line. IDS was not denied the opportunity to tackle him for his foreign policy failures, particularly as the majority of people in this country opposed the invasion of Iraq. IDS cannot blame 9/11 for being ousted as leader of the Tory party. It was due to his own incompetence, and the legacy of his predecessors. But, like some exiled dictator convinced that the people still love him, he simply can’t see this. Perhaps, like Imelda Marcos, he takes refuge from cold, hard reality amongst a massive collection of shoes.

And on a purely, personal ad hominem note, it strikes me from the photos of IDS that have surfaced from the conference that the minister for the murder of the disabled has put on weight. It seems he’s been living very well in his career denying benefits to the poor, the sick and disabled, during which tens of thousands have died. Stilloaks has pointed out that the total death toll of people who have starved to death, or taken their own lives through despair due to his wretched ‘welfare reforms’ is now up to the 70s, if not actually beyond. Marie Antoinette may not have said, ‘Let them eat cake’ when she heard of the starving French masses during the Revolution, but from the pics, Duncan Smith definitely has had a few champagne breakfasts.