Tom Watson’s ludicrous and agenda-driven ‘inquiry‘ into ‘fake news’, to which he has appointed Daily Mail- and S*n-columnist Michael Dugher as head, is a transparent attempt to silence inconvenient alternative news sources that expose propaganda and disinformation.
The real issues with fake news, at least in this country, originate with the recognised print and broadcast media, whether billionaire-owned rags or the Tory-suborned BBC.
Take, for example, a story published last weekend by the Times, once the ‘paper of record’ and now owned by Rupert Murdoch. The Times attacked MP and Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon for arranging to take a Christmas holiday in Cuba.
The story – now apparently taken down from the Times site but with no correction issued as far as this writer can find – was a perfect example of mainstream ‘fake news’, as Burgon himself was quick to point out:
Sunday Times 'story' slating me for going to Cuba for Christmas holiday is untrue. If only I were! Cover prisons crisis – don't run rubbish.
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) December 19, 2016
It will be interesting indeed to see whether Watson – to be fair to him, no friend of Rupert Murdoch – includes such ‘mainstream’ publications in his inquiry.
The story was not only fake, but also shamelessly hypocritical, because the Times has regularly (paid?) travel editorials extolling Cuba’s attractions – and even exhorting readers to ‘get there pronto’:
If the Cuban tourist board paid the Times for these articles, it is to be hoped they’ll be demanding a refund given the Times’ use of the island nation as a cosh to attack Mr Burgon for daring to arrange a (fictitious) holiday there.
That the Times has fallen from being the UK’s ‘paper of record’ to a purveyor of fake – and blatantly hypocritical – news is yet another reason why the UK government should be seriously questioning Rupert Murdoch’s existing media holdings, let alone considering allowing him to extend them by buying out Sky News.
And it’s one more vindication of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s stated intent to break up the billionaire-owned media oligarchy.
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