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Posts Tagged ‘fake news’

Justin Trudeau rides to the rescue on Khawlah Noman’s cut hijab

Racism exits, of course. But to prejudice incidents to fit our own prejudices serve no useful purpose. When CNN reported the claim of an alleged crime, the details were not couched in circumspection and a need to stick to the facts. The story told us: “Khawlah Noman was walking to her Toronto school when a man suddenly appeared behind her and cut her hijab.”

Fact. Nasty stuff. The story continues: ‘”I felt really scared and confused,” the 11-year-old girl said at a news conference Friday.’ A news conference for a nasty but not major crime seems overblown. No? You kind if wonder what role the police are taking. Child makes claim. Police stage press conference and issue a statement of fact.

The man approached the child from behind Friday morning as she made her way to school with her younger brother. He pulled the hood off the girl’s jacket and cut her hijab with a pair of scissors, police said.

More facts.

The story was so important that it went to the very top. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter:

“My heart goes out to Khawlah Noman following this morning’s cowardly attack on her in Toronto. Canada is an open and welcoming country, and incidents like this cannot be tolerated.”

Was an alleged incident being used to polish the State’s sound morals? Canada was standing with Khawlah.

The facts kept on coming. Reuters wrote a report which was picked up by many publications. The following words appeared in the Daily Mail, NY TimesThe National and the Huffington Post:

Toronto police are investigating an attack on an 11-year-old girl whose hijab headcovering was repeatedly cut on her way to school on Friday, heightening pressure on Canadian governments to take further action against attacks on Muslims.

Newsweek rehashed the news:

Khawlah Noman, a sixth grader at Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Toronto, Canada was walking with her younger brother to school when a man came up behind her, pulled off her jacket hood, and started cutting the bottom of her hijab.

Trudeau was breathless with pain as he told people that attacking children was not the kind of country Canada is.



It happened!



And now a report tells us:

An 11-year-old girl’s report last week that a man tried to cut off her hijab as she walked to school didn’t occur, Toronto police said Monday.

“After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described in the original news release did not happen,” police said.

“The investigation is concluded.”

Kids, eh.

Posted: 17th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Donald Trump’s gorilla channel dupes the media

Donald Trump watches a channel that only shows gorillas fighting. It’s true. We read it on Twitter. Pixelated Boat, the self-styled “Prince of Lies”,  shared an extract from Michael’s Wolff’s book on the President, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House:


donald trump gorilla channel


“On some days he’ll watch the gorilla channel for 17 hours straight,’ an insider told me. ‘He kneels in front of the TV, with his face about four inches from the screen, and says encouraging things to the gorillas, like ‘the way you hit that other gorilla was good.’ I think he thinks the gorillas can hear him.’”

We know it’s true because no sooner had “Prince of Lies” tweeted it than the New York Times broadcast it as fact:


donald trump gorilla channel


Newsweek had more.



The Atlantic’s contributing editor Shadi Hamid hooted:

“This is my favorite part of Wolff’s book so far. Amazing for what it says about this administration! (It’s worse than you think!!). So amazing, I can barely even believe it. It’s *literally* incredible.”

Even more incredible than Pixelated Boat’s previous Tweet to the Gorilla TV news:




David Burge nails it: “is that the gorilla turned out to be Trump and the stupid gorilla-obsessed Trump turned out to be the media.”


Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

US ambassador to Holland says his own words are ‘fake news’

Little things are more satisfying than showing a politician as a fool. There’s pulling a shoelace from under your socked foot, sure. But watching a politico get caught out is a joy. And so it was when Dutch-born US ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, described his own news as “fake news”.

Asked by Dutch reporter Wouter Zwart about is own choice of phrase, Hoekstra was defiant. “You mentioned in a debate that there are no-go zones in the Netherlands, and that cars and politicians are being set on fire in the Netherlands,” said Zwart. “I didn’t say that,” replied Hoekstra. “This is actually an incorrect statement. We would call it fake news.”

Hoekstra is then shown recordings of him stating: “The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burnt, there are politicians that are being burnt … and yes there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”

Hoekstra then told Zwart he’d never used the phrase “fake news”. “I didn’t call that fake news. I didn’t use the words today. I don’t think I did,” he offered.

Mr Hoekstra served as chair of the House intelligence committee for two years…

Posted: 23rd, December 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Daily Mail reported Mugabe’s demise 2 days before he went

As Robert Mugabe spends time with his money, it’s worth noting how the Mail knew he was going well before anyone else. On November 19 at 5:08 pm, the Mail thundered: “Robert Mugabe STEPS DOWN to end 37 years in power.” The was wrong, of course, Mugabe resigned two days later.

robert mugabe daily mail


How did the Mail know? And what were those people celebrating – Mugabe’s staying and going? The Mail’s Facebook page published this update:


robert mugabe daily mail error


Follow the link and the Mail story now reads: “Robert Mugabe now faces impeachment after REFUSING to resign”. Indeed, the paper’s Twitter link is confused. Having stated that Mugabe was gone, the updated teaser was picked up and tells readers: “Robert Mugabe REFUSES to step down.”



Such are the facts.


Posted: 2nd, December 2017 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: The Metro and Google News trick fans with Sanchez to Man City story

Egregious balls in the Metro, which declares: “Arsenal News: Alexis Sanchez has decided to join Manchester City.” It’s one of the top three Arsenal stories on Google News:


But when you click on the story, things are not so clear. We read:

Alexis Sanchez has decided that his next destination will be Manchester City, according to reports.

But according to the Metro, Sanchez has decided to join Manchester City, right? It says so in the headline on Google News. But reading on, the Metro cites a different source to itself:

The Daily Mirror claims that the Chile international will not sign a new deal and Arsenal are now deciding whether to cash in on the 28-year-old in the January transfer window.

The Metro doesn’t bother to link to the Mirror’s story. But we do. And it does not say Sanchez has agreed to join City. It says Arsenal are in talks to extend Sanchez’s deal at Arsenal and that if the Chilean doesn’t stay in London, he could leave for City if they pay a big enough fee.

But Sanchez has made his mind up, right? Wrong. The Metro adds:

The Daily Mirror reports that Sanchez’s future in January will be decided by Arsenal’s season so far and whether the club are in with a realistic chance of winning major silverware.

Utter balls, then, in the dire Metro, which tricks people into reading its bilge.



Sanchez has not decided to join Man City. Other than that the story is correct.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Theo Walcott leaves Gunners in tabloids betting scoop

Arsenal are ready to sell nice middle-class boy Theo Walcott in January, says The Week. “Gunners are getting ready to blast the dead wood from the Emirates and top of the flops is Theo Walcott,” thunders the review magazine.  The mag’s source is The Sun, which says Arsenal are “preparing to sell Walcott in January”.



Who wants Theo, then? Well Walcott, has “attracted interest” from “West Ham and Everton”. On the Sun’s website, we  read: “He has 18-months left on his £110,000-a-week contract, and is one of the club’s highest earners, according to TeamTalk.”

Over there we learn that “Arsenal are reportedly preparing to sell Theo Walcott in January, unless he can cement himself in Arsene Wenger’s first team.” The source for this TeamTalk story is The Gambling Times.

The Gambling Times mentions a betting company in its report, which carries no source to support its well-travelled scoop, which features unchallenged in the Sun, The Week, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Star. What The Gambling Times does cite in its Arsenal news is a betting company. “We spoke to BetVictor and their Head of antepost Football Michael Triffitt about Walcott and their market on his future, with West Ham, Everton and Southampton the favourites to land him,” says the paper, which tags BetVictor in its SEO. Indeed, BetVictor features in many of the site’s articles, including a daily horse racing tips sheet – and Triffitt is a not infrequent source of opinion.

Is it news or is it affiliate marketing? It’s worrying that the national press don’t make any attempt to differentiate between the two…

Posted: 4th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined – wrong

Pop musical group, "The Monkees" are shown in this Oct. 20, 1966 photo. At top are: Peter Tork, right, and Mickey Dolenz. At bottom are: David Jones, left, and Mike Nesmith. (AP Photo)



Ever hear the story about how in 1967 The Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined? Rolling Stone, that bastion of factual news reporting, told us as much:

In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.


In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.


Incredible fact.

And it must be true because in 1986 the Washington Post told its readers:

In 1967 they sold 35 million albums, twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.


In 1967 they sold 35 million albums, twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.


In 2016, Vice repeated the fact:

In 1967, The Monkees TV show was a smashing success, and the self-titled album released to complement the show sold 35 million records, outselling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.


In 1967, The Monkees TV show was a smashing success, and the self-titled album released to complement the show sold 35 million records, outselling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.


The Daily Mail also backed up the fact:

They ended up being pretty much the biggest thing on the planet; in 1967 the ‘Prefab Four’, fronted by Jones, outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones


In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.


The story of The Monkees being bigger than The Beatles and Rolling Stones combined has made it into books:



And, of course, it’s on Wikipedia. In The Beatles Wikipedians, we learn:


Title: The Beatles Editor: By Wikipedians


All facts. And all utter balls. Mike Nesmith, one of The Monkees, tells us how the story came about in his autobiography Infinite TuesdayThe Monkees were in Australia. It was November 1977. Nesmith was being interviewed:

As we sat down for the interview, before he asked the first question, I told him that I was going to lie to him. He was taken aback, then seemed a little nonplussed and asked why. I said it was because I didn’t trust the press, that I didn’t expect him to tell the truth, so neither would I …

I said that some of the things I would say would be true and some false, and it was up to him to figure out which was which, according to the normal standards of journalistic responsibility. He asked how he would tell the difference between when I was lying and telling the truth, and I said, “You won’t. That is the point of the lie …”

Then came a point where he asked me about the sales of the Monkees records, and I saw the chance. It isn’t too well known, I said flatly, that we sold over thirty-five million records in 1967. More than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined … he diligently wrote all this down, and I wondered for a moment if I had chosen too outrageous a lie to tell, but it turned out it had been just right.

The next day in the paper, there it was, printed as fact.

Nesmith calls the story a “complete fabrication, totally bogus, class-A mendacity lie”. In 2015, Nesbitt told all to Gilbert Gottfried.



Fake news, eh. It’s nothing new.

Spotter: Tim Blair, Gilbert Gottfried

Posted: 17th, September 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Crystal Palace balls: Sam Allardyce gets a call

The Sun has big news for fans of Crystal Palace, the goal-shy Premier League team. Frank de Boer has been sacked. His managerial record at Palace reads: played – 4; lost – 4; goals scored – nil.

But who will replace Mr 100%. Well, it’s Roy Hodgson, the former England manager, who yesterday joined Palace on a two-year contract. The Sun suggests that Roy got the job only after Palace had offered it to one of their former mangers, Sam Allardyce.


the sun sam allardyce crustal palace


Says the paper:

Sam Allardyce reveals he has received a phone call about taking over at Crystal Palace

He did? No. He didn’t. Click the link and readers are transported to the paper’s story, which informs them:

Allardyce took a phone call from Palace chairman Steve Parish… seeking his thoughts on what the club should do next.

The former England boss was not offered the job, but Parish was quick to seek advice from the 62-year-old when the position became vacant.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 13th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Donald Trump’s police escort looks like a penis

@AynRandPaulRyan tweets: “Here’s a picture of the police escort that Trump got to go golfing (again) this weekend. Do you think they were trying to say something?”


Donald trump motocade


It’s a fake, of course. That’s not Trump’s car. The police are not Americans. The image is adapted from Vladimir Putin’s motorcade powering through Moscow. The original motorcade looked like this:



Posted: 15th, June 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester terror fake news: Daily Mail looks for phantom missing children (in Australia!)

More fake news from the mainstream media as the Daily Mail appeals for help finding children missing after the slaughter at Manchester Arena. The paper tells readers: “Parents are trying to find children missing after explosion at Ariana Grande gig in Manchester.”


Manchester missing children daily mail


The tweet is popular; the Mail is on it.


missing people manchester


Don’t panic.


Manchester missing children daily mail



Photographer Rachel Devine was shocked to see the picture of her 12 year old daughter Gem being circulated on the internet, when she was in fact safe at school.

The Melbourne mum has told the Hit Network, she just wants people to know her daughter is safe and well. “I have no idea who stole her image or why.”



Twenty-two people went to a pop concert and never came home. And the media works out how to milk them for advertising clicks and retweets.

Posted: 23rd, May 2017 | In: Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester terror fake news: Daily Express and Daily Star spot a gunman in Oldham

Many are dead in the attack on a pop concert in Manchester. What say the reputable news sources?

The Daily Express has news:


Daily Express fake news gunman Manchester


The Express’s sister publication, the Daily Star, echoed the chilling news that a second armed man was at large in Manchester. He was outside Oldham hospital waiting to strike.

And then, having spread a fake news story, the Express realised it was utter balls. Having garnered clicks from tragedy, the paper updated its earlier fake news report.



Wily stuff to make it look as though those reports were based on anything factual. The “Town Council deny”, rather than the paper “admits”.

The Express’s scoop appears to have been based on a single Facebook comment.



The paper notes:

Laura Bailey-Wood wrote on Facebook: “DO NOT COME to Oldham Hospital I’m currently inside… Man outside with GUN.”

Oldham Council wrote on Twitter: “We have no information to this effect at all. Please only trust or share official sources of information.”

Over in the Star, the fake news is no less opportunistic. The paper’s story has now been changed to read:



But the paper’s earlier URL still suggests an armed man was at Oldham hospital. Humans get the update but those news bots keep the scoop high on the search engines. The URL contains no word on fakery.

The rewrite in an  exercise is bad journalism. The headline is changed but the paper’s teaser still trills:

OLDHAM hospital was placed on lockdown after a terror attack in Manchester – sparking fears a gunman was on the loose.



Jamie Micklethwaite writes:

Oldham Hospital stopped admitting new patients after it was overwhelmed by casualities [sic] from the blast. The lockdown sent Twitter into panic – with many people reporting gunshots had been heard there.

Twitter into panic – and also Daily Star readers, no doubt. In the panic to get the story rehashed, the paper spots lots of “casualities”, whatever they are. Still, nice shot of Ariana Grande’s cleavage. Twenty-two people never made it home from a pop concert, but it’s all about clicks, right. So go for it. Phwaor!

Micklethwaite continues:

Rumours a gunman was on the loose quickly spread.

See Daily Express and Daily Star.

An Oldham Royal Hospital source confirmed they had been placed on lockdown – but due to the explosions at the MEN.

No gunman was at large.

The gunman was an imaginary figure – but he remains very real to anyone who gets their news from the Daily Express and Daily Star.


Posted: 23rd, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Google Translate News: Moscow hack gives Manchester’s fat slags and ‘disgusting’ gays a thrashing

If anyone is going to call British women fat slappers and out homosexuals it’ll be the British press. So when Alisa Titko, a writer for Komsomolskaya Pravda, ridiculed British women and lambasted Manchester for allowing gays to be loving in public, that champion of feminism and homosexual rights the Daily Telegraph was aghast. Chris Graham alerted the paper’s readers to Titko’s “homophobic rant”.

Manchester is a city of “fat people” and “debauchery”, a columnist for Russia’s largest selling newspaper wrote in a homophobic article that described the sight of gay people as “disgusting”.


gay putin clown


He relays Titko’s words – words she wrote in Russian – to English speaking readers:

Having recently visited Manchester, she wrote: “It is true that there are many fat people in Manchester. Local young women don’t mind when fat hangs down from their stomach and body – and does not fit into their jeans. Whatever, when they go to a nightclub they put on tight fit leggings and mini-dresses.”

Do all East European columnists speak like Alan Partridge’s East European lover?



Here’s more from Alisha Titko (trans: Alice My-Tit):

“In Manchester there is a whole part of the city for gay people. Nobody told me about it, I have found it myself when I was walking around the town. There is even a plate there saying ‘Gay Village’. It is the most popular place for such couples, there are cafés and clubs there with small rainbow flags. Of course, a young man with a girl can also go into the gay club but they should know that if somebody approaches them, it maybe not just for a chat but for something more deep. Of course, it is hardly possible that men turn gay because girls are too fat and non-sexual. But it can influence it too.”

Who says the mainstream press is dying on its arse?

Over on Komsomolskaya Pravda, you can read Titko’s words in her native Russian. But it’s more fun to shred it through Google Translate. So I did. And it gives us:

Moscow does not need gayest street in Manchester

Look out for the claim that a quarter of men in Manchester are gay, a bride can marry a butterfly and things can go “deep” with just a friendly ‘Wotcha cocker!”:

From his friends in Moscow more often I hear that to homosexual couples should be treated more tolerant. Like, people love each other, and what’s the difference … Let. But we should not talk about it openly, to go around the city by the handles and kissing passionately. Shockingly so. And I never understand. Couple – people of different sexes. Historically, only men and women have children. These are the basic things. Understandable. But here, gays and lesbians have found a way – the children they give birth to a surrogate mother or take the baby to an orphanage.

And on such a quiet talk in the newspapers, on television. But in my head does not fit, when I know that some of our idle singers and actors (never would have thought!), And do not dream of the traditional family, and because they are better men. As a girl I was upset, their female fans, probably, too. And such relations are not only in show business, there are gays and lesbians among stylists, managers, and flight attendants. Yes, and no matter the profession. But it is becoming so commonplace that already scares. Where rolling part of Russian society? Why is it more openly demonstrated, and even citing that in Europe – is the norm.

I saw these your rules. In Manchester, for example, there are a quarter of gay men. And about it I whispered to no one in your ear, I found it myself, walking around town. At the beginning of the quarter even have a label “gay village”. It is like this place for couples. They then its cafes, clubs with small rainbow flags, even in Ukraine, the rainbow will be greater when dokrasyat Arch of Friendship of Peoples. Of course, Manchester geyskoy clubs start up and a guy with a girl. But the single boys and girls need to understand that it may be appropriate to meet and not to just talk, and for more in-depth.

Gays and lesbians in the evenings, not hiding emotions, rest not only in private clubs, and even open out onto the veranda. On the walls causing posters. For example, kissing Batman and Superman.

– Do you realize that we have something going with you staring, and they may think that we are not just friends, – told me Anna.

– Well, let’s say that we are not a lesbian, if that – I said to her friend.

At one of the tables was a wedding of two rather large girls, one was a veil, and on the other – the butterfly. We sat next to their mothers and girlfriends. At another table sat a man in a leather mask and pop out of her tongue to lick his partner’s eye. Ahead was a pretty nice guy in stylish jeans and jacket. With him is another. And how I would like to believe that they are just tourists and come here by chance as we are. But no. A friend took his belt and with a playful smile, pulled to itself, and then a couple came in one of the cafes.

– Yes, they are full of women that men are simply disgusting – throw in our conversation with a friend friend Anton. – You’ve seen the same as fast food and potato they eat. A beer of any drink huge glasses. As they say, the result is obvious.

Full in Manchester really quite a lot. And local girls not steamed that fat hanging from the abdomen, flanks , does not fit into jeans. In the clubs, they still pull tight leggings and dresses-mini. Of course, it is unlikely that men become gay because of the fact that the girl thick , not sexy. Although this, too, can influence.

– How good that in Moscow there are no streets. Well, now imagine. Come on Tverskaya , svarachivaem on Chamberlain and Grand Dmitrovka men in leather pants and whips. Oh, no – I can tell your friends after we leave the gayest village. – And if not banned gay parades, all these “free” men in pink, with arrows and bare nipples would be, for example, on the New Arbat.

– How to go there after some ordinary people? – disgust ask about Anna.

– Even so?

I can already imagine that some would say the familiar: “That’s not you they offend They are different This is a limitation of freedom….” Yes, what is freedom? Mom as a child gave a little belt. It is a measure of promiscuity. This is necessary precisely to hide, and not to put on display, and even demand to marry. I like the approach of registry offices in Russia . They say: “The law stipulates that marriage is between a man and a woman, period.”. And what’s more there gay people in Russia – it is bad and shameful.

It’s bad parenting parents, not inspected, not explained. And then the son grows and the mother says, you became a grandmother, but I do not have a wife. Or: “Mom, men – all goats, I love Lena “. Even after five years, they will lead their children to school. And they ask: “Why are the other two parents?” And what to say? There are different family? But the main question: what generation we are waiting for?

PS Let’s be Russian. Create a normal family. Have children in wedlock. And do not confuse love with debauchery.

It’s not fake news – it’s The News According to Google Translate.

Posted: 5th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Morata to Chelsea (if Arsenal let him leave)

Transfer Balls – fake news for football: The BBC says Chelsea “have reached an agreement” to sign striker Alvaro Morata, 24, from Real Madrid. The Beeb’s source is Spanish site Diario Gol. As ever, I like to use Google Translate to tell the source’s story.


morata real madrid


The headline’s a belter: “Morata lynch to a crack of Real Madrid: the checkmate to Zidane.”

The teaser’s good too: “The one of The Factory explodes against the mister.”

Diego Castro’s words according to Google Translate are:

The worst. Karim Benzema was signing one of the weakest seasons since joining Real Madrid in 2009 . The goalkeeper has scored the same goals as Álvaro Morata in almost double the number of minutes played. The canterano has played 1,593 minutes , while the French accumulates 2,597 ‘ .

Benzema is no goalkeeper. But the gist is that Morata is the better striker of the two.

But what about Chelsea? Well, Morata has “never been the first choice of Zizou”. Adding: “The French strategist always opted publicly for his compatriot, regardless of the level of his players… Zidane always put him ahead of the team’s needs.”

And Chelsea? Only this: “Morata has been wanting for Chelsea for weeks, with more than a verbal agreement.”

It’s not exactly done and dusted. The Week says Morata is only “among potential targets” for Chelsea. The Daily Star says Morata might be heading to Manchester United. And Corriere dello Sport says AC Milan will outbid Chelsea for Morata’s signature.

So there’s no agreement, then. Which makes it odd that the Daily Star can announce that the deal taking Morata to Chelsea has been done:

alvaro morata chelsea daily star


And let’s not forget that according to these fine sources, Morata plays for Arsenal:

alvaro morata arsenal

Such are the facts.

Posted: 20th, April 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Facebook and Google stuff the fake news turkey

Thanks to the Facebook system you can know what is and is not fake news. In “How to spot fake news” Facebook offers its millions of slack-jawed readers 10 tips for spotting fake news. One signal points to bad spelling. Apparently, all true news sources have impeccable spelling. The Guardian is doomed, as is anything seen through the prism of Google translate.

Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s newsfeed, explains the purge on fake news: “False news is harmful to our community, it makes the world less informed, and it erodes trust.” Doesn’t it make the world more informed, albeit with more questionable news and facts? Mosseri says Facebook’s missive is “an educational tool to help people spot false news”.

No longer a handy tool for bragging about your kids, reaching out to mates and simple, glorious entertainment, Facebook is now a text book from which we can all look and learn. It is devoid of bias. It just present the facts. Really.

And where one follows the fake news trend, another follows the follower. Google has created “Fact Check”. Click on it and Google will show you which stories have been checked and given the Google seal of approval. “We think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree,” says Google. “As we make fact checks more visible in search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions.”

Who checks the checkers? And why should consensus be more trustworthy than contrarianism?


The Californian tech giant announced on Friday that it is rolling out globally a feature in its search and news results that will assess the authenticity of information shown.

Google isn’t doing this fact-checking itself: Instead, it’s relying on respected independent fact-checking organisations like PolitiFact and Snopes to provide the info.

Any hint of bias there?


fake news


Investors should go long on shoe leather. All those internet hacks pounding the news beat to reach the root of the story will be a joy to watch. These New Cops will find the secret insider who demanded secrecy and hold them to the light. Good luck! (Tip 1: carry cash. Lots of it.)

Shannon Love adds:

Secrecy is so integral to the production of news stories that several recent scandals have occurred because even the editors and publishers do not always know who all of journalist sources are.

This system only works if the consumers trust the media to honestly and accurately transmit the information from the secret sources. Once an iota of doubt about the reporting arises both the story and the organization’s brand is in danger.

The internet era works against old fashion media secrecy. Many more people can ask many more questions about every story. Any potential inaccuracies are brought to light nearly instantly. The old media institutions are then required to justify their stories or risk losing the critical assumption of trust. But they often can’t justify their stories without burning their sources. Bloggers have no economic interest in secrecy. They can tell stories in a perfectly transparent fashion. This gives blogs a tremendous trust advantage.

The era of secrecy and unnamed sources will soon come to an end and with it the economic advantage that old media currently holds over the blogsphere. The days of major media will soon be over. The questions is what will replace it?


Unless fact checking is simply about using one (good) database to combat another (bad) database? Is news just part of the Internet of Things? Should we leave it to the robots and teccies to pump out a smart-phone ready story?

The late late Michael Crichton noted:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

There is great journalism out there. It’s rare. It’s often risky. And it’s expensive to produce. The internet came along and pulled Big Media’s curtain aside to see and show what was going on. That newspaper story wasn’t the cut-to-column conclusion to a huge work of investigation, experience and nous. It was the entire job. Unlike proper journalists in ties and brogues, bloggers just rolled out of bed and wrote. Aside from their mates, no-one trusted these pyjama-clad amateurs. But it worked because they used hyperlinks, photos, graphs and videos to show the story. Your no-authority blogger was just laying it out there like a huge plastic turkey on a plate. With social media, news and views are bigger and cheaper than ever to broadcast. Why buy a newspaper for the news when you can get that stuff anywhere? Buy it for the opinion – it’s why columnists get the big bucks. Of just take the free copy with your groceries, watch the best bits of TV news on Facebook and always be sure to look at the ads.

This could help us to understand why Big Media thinks fake news newsworthy. Fake news is nothing new. Why in the post-Brexit Age of Trump is fake news a hot topic? At a guess, I’d say it was in part about discrediting the popular vote – fake news equals fake votes – and because at a time of division, Big Media wants to straddle everything and corral everyone into its customer base. Trust us. Don’t trust them.

Posted: 14th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Pierre Omidyar’s new journalism is no truth serum for fake news

Combatting the rise of so-called fake news is billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who will pay $100 million to fund investigative journalism. Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, his philanthropic investment company, aims to give $1 billion to good causes.

The company could, of course, pay more taxes and let democratically elected Governments invest the money. In 2016, eBay paid £1.1 million tax on £1 billion of UK sales. But that’s another argument. Corporations pay tax on profits not revenues. And being tax efficient might be a badge of honour. This one is about fake news.

Omidyar aims to alter the “root causes of the global trust deficit”. Omidyar Network partner Stephen King adds: “A free and independent media is key to providing trusted information and critical checks and balances on those in positions of power.”

Good news, then. Free speech has a new champion. And he’s got very deep pockets and long arms.

But the Washington Post says the money is to “boost journalism and fight hate speech”. But hate speech is free speech. How can you talk truth to power it you can’t offend the powerful for fear of being called a hater? How can you encourage government accountability and transparency if you can’t say things they would rather no-one knew?

As for fake news, the incessant talk of its unbridled power to corrupt society speaks less of a mistrust in journalism (you can and should read more than one news source) than it does of the elite’s panic rooted in the popular vote for Donald Trump and Brexit. Unable to grasp the truth that the majority employed reason when they voted against the status quo, the condescending losers call them thick. No need to work out why the working classes grabbed their chance to revolt and say ‘enough’ when you can reduce them to pliable, unthinking goons. But the knowing are not without sympathy for the fools who got it wrong. “You deplorables didn’t understand you were voting badly because you were tricked by a Russian news bot and demented demagogues. We should take your right to vote away but let’s see if you can first be re-educated.”

The knowing should take care not to use any text book featuring dodgy dossiers about Weapons of Mass Destruction, Jews drinking gentile blood, Benjamin Franklin’s tales of platoons of “scalping” Indians working in league with King George III to slaughter patriots and the myriad other fake news stories the powerful have employed down the ages to prop up the establishment.

Nowadays anyone can pump out a bogus news story. The power has shifted.

So will a big investment in investigative journalism help us see the truth of things and reveal stories the powerful, famous, protected and criminal don’t want revealed? It can’t hurt. It’ll also be interesting to see which stories keep appearing at the top of Omidyar’s objective news cycle.

And amplifying alternative voices is a lot more attractive than any paternalistic regime acting as journalism’s gate-keeper, ‘checking the facts’ and telling us what is and is not true. There is always more than way to view a story. But if look hard enough, truth can be discovered. More news is good news.


Posted: 5th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Wenger stays and Allegri agrees to take over

It’s been a huge two days for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Only yesterday, the Star was pleading with Wenger to make up his mind and tell everyone if he was going to sign a new contract and stay at Arsenal for a further two years.

The paper said Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri was tired to waiting to get the call to move up from the Italian giants to English football’s also-rans. The Star thundered:

EXCLUSIVE: Massimiliano Allegri sends ‘come and get me’ plea to Arsenal


wenger daily star


Words from Allegri on his dream to manage Arsenal: none.

Of course, the Star is a rich source of fake news. On February 28, the Star told its readers ‘Allegri confirms he’s joining Arsenal’.


daily star arsenal fake news wenger


You click on that news headline and you get told on the Star’s website: ‘Calciomercato has this afternoon sensationally claimed Allegri, 49, will join the Gunners this summer.’ On that Italian site, we’re told:

The news comes from his hometown of Livorno, where reports are circulating that the manager let this story slip at dinner with friends.

And that’s it. No quotes. No links.

Looking for more, a search for ‘Allegri’ and ‘Livorno’ produces a story on another Italian news site. It says the Allegri to Arsenal news is sourced in the – get this – Daily Express, sister organ to the Daily Star. In the Express we learn that Allegri and Arsenal have agreed a deal.



daily express arsenal fake news wenger


All done and dusted, then. No dithering at all. Allegri in. Wenger out. Which brings us to today Daily Star story that Wenger is, er, staying at Arsenal.


arsene wenger daily star


All utter balls, then.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 12th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Guardian makes beyond-satire error in Private Eye fake news story

Satire is not dead. The Guardian, however, might be beyond parody. In a story entitled ‘Private Eye flourishes in satire’s new golden age of ridicule’ the Guardian features a photograph of the magazine’s editor, Ian Hislop, sat ‘at his desk in the magazine’s office’.


private eye fake news guardian


But that isn’t his desk. It isn’t his office. Had the Guardian conducted a muon of research – and get a load of that phone! – it would have realised that the image shows Hislop [got that bit right!] in a replica of the editor’s office at a V&A Museum exhibition.

Says one voice in the Guardian’s report: “It’s hard in the post-truth, fake news, alternative facts time to distinguish between what’s real and what’s comedy.”

He’s not kidding.


Posted: 13th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0