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Author Topic: The Political Thread  (Read 1177029 times)

TordelBack

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16425 on: 18 November, 2019, 03:25:00 pm »
I'm not even saying he's guilty of a crime (he almost certainly is), or that he had to admit that on the telly - just that there are obvious ways of 'fessing up to being a complete chump that would make him appear to be a remorseful human being who made awful mistakes in his associations, instead of an arrogant lizard who thinks he still enjoys the rights of prima nocta and doesn't see what's all that wrong with that anyway.

He somehow managed to expose himself as one of Dave Stone's inbred Brit-Cit royals, and I just can't imagine how stupid anyone has to actually be to achieve that.
« Last Edit: 18 November, 2019, 03:28:32 pm by TordelBack »

Funt Solo

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16426 on: 18 November, 2019, 10:57:21 pm »
Okay - Brexit's defeated me. Now I just want Britain to leave Earth entirely.
fate amenable to change

IndigoPrime

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16427 on: 19 November, 2019, 10:53:20 am »
Peter Oborne in The Guardian:

“I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.”

Hawkmumbler

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16428 on: 19 November, 2019, 10:56:54 am »
Okay - Brexit's defeated me. Now I just want Britain to leave Earth entirely.

SPACE!

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16429 on: 19 November, 2019, 12:14:16 pm »

IIrc, the Dan Dare Poster Prog predicted Brexit - after a fashion. I'm sure this point's already been made but it only just occurred to me...

As for BBC executives thinking that lies are fine so long as the liar is trustworthy - well, they seem to be living in a post logic world. Maybe we should all lie about having paid our license fees because to admit not doing so would undermine trust in the British public.

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TordelBack

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16430 on: 19 November, 2019, 12:20:20 pm »
Peter Oborne in The Guardian:

“I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.”

"It's wrong to expose lies" = "lying".  Wasn't this essentially the Inquisition's position re: Sidereus Nuncias?

Frank

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16431 on: 19 November, 2019, 01:32:32 pm »
Peter Oborne in The Guardian:

“I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.”

This is a great example of what I was on about earlier.

Oborne's been doing the rounds on this topic for weeks, now, slagging off every aspect of the UK print and broadcast media and naming individuals, much to the consternation of Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

This specific article opens with seven paragraphs about Sky News and names a presenter. Oborne cites another broadcast example involving Channel 4's Michael Crick and one from the BBC's Andrew Marr.

But what's the anecdote about unnamed executives chosen to be highlighted here? The public have been trained over the course of thirty years. Oborne's a Tory who wrote for the Telegraph and The Mail, but he's worth listening to:

https://boris-johnson-lies.com



Professor Bear

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16432 on: 19 November, 2019, 01:43:44 pm »
There's a running joke about Jo Swinson which was started by several lefty shitposters on Twitter that involved crudely photoshopping squirrels under the wheels of the LibDem battlebus, and Swinson this morning made a public statement on LBC saying stories about her being a squirrel murderer are "sophisticated fake news operations".
You might assume this is Swinson being cack-handed at PR and boosting shitposts that at best reached a couple of thousand people, but an equally-valid reading is that Swinson had to clarify this because some actual for-real journalists fell for it as they haven't had to think critically for so long.

Proudhuff

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16433 on: 19 November, 2019, 03:14:20 pm »
Peter Oborne in The Guardian:

“I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.”

Just how many of these News execs have previously worked for the Tory party in some guise?
I believe the answer may be more than one
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference and the promise of an early bed

Tjm86

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16434 on: 19 November, 2019, 06:36:54 pm »
BBC executives, [ ... ] personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.”

I'm trying to figure out what the bigger joke is here:

a) there is anyone left in Britain that actually has any trust left in British politics and has not been institutionalised;
b) allowing politicians to dissemble and not calling attention to their falsehoods is the best way of shoring up the aforementioned tissue-thin trust;
c)  there is anyone left in the UK that actually believes anything that Johnson says;
d) by failing to hold politicians to account the BBC is going to repair its damaged reputation for partiality and support any argument for continuing support of the license fee;
e)  anyone gives a damn what BBC executives 'think'.

Let's face it the only reason we know Johnson really wanted this election is because he said he didn't ...

shaolin_monkey

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16435 on: 20 November, 2019, 05:30:04 pm »
‪I say we wire up Orwell’s grave to the grid and turn off some coal plants ‘cos he’s spinning so fast. ‬

Frank

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16436 on: 20 November, 2019, 06:30:46 pm »

Yeah ... I'm reminded of those weeks when TordelBack or Jimbo has to explain what's been happening in Deadworld or Grey Area.

Oborne's been on a weeks-long crusade against the use of unattributed quotations from insiders by journalists, which he believes promotes the dissemination of lies.

Oborne's piece for The Guardian (above) seeks to bring attention to this issue by ... using an unattributed (indirect) quotation from an insider?

Like I say, Oborne has a valid point and is worth listening to, but cherry-picking his work to reaffirm a pre-existing bias you just sort of feel is probably true is doing him and his work a bigger disservice than the one lapse he made towards the end of an otherwise well-evidenced piece.

Since you all find Oborne so trustworthy and compelling, you'll be sure to read the full text of his argument explaining exactly what he thinks is wrong with UK media:


British journalists have become part of Johnson’s fake news machine. It’s chilling. From the Mail, The Times to the BBC and ITN, everyone is peddling Downing Street’s lies and smears. They’re turning their readers into dupes.
 
“Number 10 probes Remain MPs’ ‘foreign collusion’.” This huge banner headline dominated the front page of The Mail on Sunday on 29 September.

Turn to page 2 and “a senior No 10 source” was quoted in bold type: “The government is working on extensive investigations into Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and Hilary Benn [who tabled the Bill] and their involvement with foreign powers and the funding of their activities. Governments have proper rules for drafting legislation, but nobody knows what organisations are pulling these strings.”

This story was granted huge prominence and followed up the next day by the Daily Express, Sun, Times and the alt-right news site Breitbart.

Nick Robinson didn’t ask the obvious question. Was there an investigation at all?

On the BBC’s ‘Today’ programme the following Tuesday, presenter Nick Robinson asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the investigation. Johnson gave credibility to the story when he declared there were “legitimate questions” to be asked of the MPs.

But Robinson didn’t ask the obvious question. Was there an investigation at all?

I rang Dominic Grieve. He told me he had not sought the help of any foreign government “in drafting and tabling a British statute”.

He added that he was “not in receipt of any sources of foreign funding”. Nor, he said, had he been contacted by Downing Street or anyone else about any investigation.

I then rang the Downing Street press office, and asked an official whether there was an investigation as stated in The Mail on Sunday.

He told me categorically: “No investigation.”

Yesterday a Cabinet Office spokesperson told openDemocracy: "There was never such an investigation."

In other words, the Mail on Sunday splash that Downing Street was investigating Grieve, Letwin and Benn was fabrication. Fake News.

There has, however, been no retraction from The Mail on Sunday. As far as the newspaper’s readers are concerned, the story remains true and the senior British politicians behind the Benn Act continue to be investigated for suspicious involvement with foreign powers.

Of course this bogus story fitted like a glove with the dominant Downing Street narrative that the Benn Act – which ruled out a No Deal Brexit – was actually a ‘surrender act’ designed to thwart Brexit altogether.

There’s been a lot of this sort of thing over the past two months. Dodgy stories and commentary linked to Downing Street or government sources started to appear in the press and media after Johnson installed his own media team, which was largely drawn from the Vote Leave campaign that won the 2016 Brexit referendum.

With the prime minister’s evident encouragement these Downing Street or government sources have been spreading lies, misrepresentations, smears and falsehoods around Fleet Street and across the major TV channels. Political editors lap it all up.

Another case in point involves Amber Rudd, the former work and pensions secretary who stated after her resignation on 7 September that her repeated requests to see the attorney general’s legal advice on the prorogation of Parliament had been refused.

Two weeks later, Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman – who had broken the story of Rudd’s resignation – tweeted a “govt [government] source” saying: “Amber Rudd was given every opportunity to see the legal advice but chose to resign without doing so.”

Shipman’s ‘government source’ then accused Rudd of lying, saying: “It is utterly dishonest to suggest it was in anyway withheld.”

Tim Shipman allowed his Twitter account to be used as a vehicle for someone unknown to smear a prominent public figure.

Amber Rudd told me that she had repeatedly asked to be given the legal advice, including on two occasions approaching attorney general Geoffrey Cox.

She was told again and again that she would be given it. When she was not, her private office told her that Downing Street senior adviser Dominic Cummings had intervened to ensure she was not shown it.

It remains the case that the claim made by Shipman’s government source that Rudd had been “given every opportunity to see the legal advice” was wholly untrue.

This brings us to the major problem with Shipman’s decision to share with his 130,000 Twitter followers a venomous remark made by an unnamed person accusing Rudd of dishonesty.

Had the comment been made on the record by an official government spokesperson Shipman would have been well within his rights.

The spokesperson would have been accountable for her or his allegation against Rudd. He or she could have been identified and questioned about it.

Instead Shipman allowed his Twitter account to be used as a vehicle for someone unknown to smear a prominent public figure as dishonest.

An unpleasant and vicious example concerns the Downing Street smear campaign mounted against former chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond.

This started on 18 August after Sunday Times news reporter Ros Urwin published the leaked Yellowhammer dossier setting out the painful short-term disruption that would confront Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The government hit back, saying Yellowhammer was an “old document”. This false claim was made first by Michael Gove, minister in charge of Brexit preparations, and later by Tory chairman James Cleverly.

At this point ‘a senior Number 10 source’ went into action alongside Gove, briefing journalists that the Yellowhammer dossier was out of date.

But this ‘source’ added the vicious twist that it had been “deliberately leaked by a former minister to influence discussions with EU leaders”.

The result was that most of the following day’s newspapers did not focus on the Yellowhammer disclosures about the dangers of a No Deal Brexit.

Instead most turned Yellowhammer into a whodunnit – which of May’s ministers had been the leaker?

The Times headline read “Boris Johnson accuses ex-ministers over Brexit chaos leaks”.

The Daily Telegraph’s read “No-deal leak blamed on Hammond’s Remainers”.

Boris Johnson’s Downing Street media machine had thus achieved a double success. It had distracted attention away from the real story, namely that No Deal Brexit carried real dangers of economic disruption and civil disorder.

And at the same time, it had smeared political opponents.

Most newspapers dutifully pointed the finger at Hammond. The Daily Mail (for which I write a political column) reported: “A No 10 source blamed former frontbenchers led by Philip Hammond.”

This was a brilliantly successful if cynical media operation. But it soon became apparent that the leaked document was dated 2 August, nine days after the Boris Johnson government had entered office.

It was therefore mysterious how a member of the May government could have leaked Yellowhammer to the Sunday Times. The leak had occurred on Johnson’s watch, not May’s.

No newspaper has yet written a story about the failure of Johnson to reply to Hammond’s letter. I expect that political journalists don’t want to upset valuable Downing Street sources.

There is an implicit deal. In return for access and information (much of it false) the political media spins a pro-government narrative.

This means that Johnson’s Downing Street can malign political opponents, lie about them and get away with it. But it can do this only because political journalists and editors allow it to.

It’s not just the print media which allow themselves to be manipulated by Boris Johnson’s Downing Street.

Take BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg’s reporting of the government’s formal submission to a Scottish court that Boris Johnson would comply with the so-called Benn Act, and so if need be request an extension of membership of the EU on 19 October, supposing no deal had been struck.

But the prime minister’s submission was accompanied at the same time by a breathless tweet thread by the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, reporting [a “senior No. 10 source”] clarifying that message.

“Yes, the government would comply with the ‘narrow’ provisions of the Benn Act – but the source went on to suggest that shadowy MPs were behind the act and that the government had ways of undermining it.

“And thus Number 10 perpetuated the prime ministerial paradox: that Boris Johnson will comply with the Benn Act and yet still leave the EU ‘do or die’, deal or no deal, on 31 October.”

Kuenssberg is therefore open to the criticism that she was being manipulated by Downing Street. Her tweets to her 1.1 million followers meant there were two government positions.

This compliance is part of a pattern. Political editors are so pleased to be given ‘insider’ or ‘exclusive’ information that they report it without challenge or question.

Another culprit is ITV News political editor Robert Peston, who regularly preens himself on his special insight into the mind of Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings.

In a Twitter thread on 25 September, he cited a “senior government source” to the effect that there was a way for Johnson to avoid complying with the Benn Act.

According to Peston’s informant, Johnson “still believes he can lawfully render the Benn Act null and void” by sending a second letter to Brussels that would counteract the first.

Unmitigated nonsense, said legal experts. But the message Downing Street wanted was out there.

This has become a signature technique of the Johnson media machine. Officially no comment. Meanwhile it makes its views known to friendly political editors, who push them without much inspection or analysis out into the public domain.

Jill Rutter, a former director of communications at the Treasury, notes: “That may be how Number 10 wants to operate: to allow the prime minister to look statesmanlike while the dodgier tactics emerge from an unnamed source.

“But this way of operating does the public a big disservice – it allows Downing Street to get its message out without having to take responsibility for it.

“These are not official words. The prime minister does not have to account for them. And there is no way to interrogate the source.”

It’s a classic case of what Johnson once called “having our cake and eating it”. This means that the British media are not just failing to hold him to account. They are not even trying. They are behaving as cheerleaders to the government. They are allowing the prime minister to get away with lies and dishonesty which they would never have permitted to his predecessor, Theresa May, let alone Jeremy Corbyn.
Guido Fawkes is the provisional wing of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party press office

I haven’t cited the Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph or The Sun – all of them Johnson cheerleaders.

Nor have I examined Guido Fawkes, which has transformed itself within a remarkably short space of time from an anarchic website challenging lobby freemasonry to the provisional wing of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party press office.

The price of privileged access and favourable treatment is turning readers and viewers into dupes

Of course political journalists have always entered into behind-the-scenes deals with politicians, but this kind of arrangement has gained a new dimension since Boris Johnson entered Downing Street with the support of a client press and media. As a former lobby correspondent (on the Evening Standard, the Sunday Express and The Spectator) I understand the need for access. The job of lobby journalists is to produce information.

But there is now clear evidence that the prime minister has debauched Downing Street by using the power of his office to spread propaganda and fake news. British political journalists have got chillingly close to providing the same service to Boris Johnson that Fox News delivers for Donald Trump.

I had to edit Oborne's piece to meet the wordcount restriction imposed by this forum, but none of the text I excised featured the words BBC, Kuenssberg, or Today. You can read the full text here:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/british-journalists-have-become-part-of-johnsons-fake-news-machine/




Jim_Campbell

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16437 on: 20 November, 2019, 07:38:20 pm »
TL; DR.
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Professor Bear

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16438 on: 20 November, 2019, 08:22:18 pm »
You love to see it.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #16439 on: 20 November, 2019, 09:35:50 pm »

Interesting.

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