D-notices, straw-men and MSM fake news #Grenfell

Earlier today the SKWAWKBOX published an article about sources who claimed that the government had issued a ‘D-notice’ restricting information on the number of people killed in the awful fire at Grenfell Tower.

That article has just been updated to reflect the latest information. Having spoken to a Brigadier at the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee (DSMAC), the SKWAWKBOX is satisfied that no D-notice was issued.

However, the matter has not been fully settled – the question the SKWAWKBOX sent to the Home Office today was broader:

dnotice enquiry

or any other form of restriction‘. So far, the Home Office has directed this blog to the DSMAC, to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the Metropolitan Police, but has not said ‘no’ in answer to that straightforward question. That may or may not be significant, but the matter of the D-notice, at least, is settled.

However, the reaction of a number of mainstream media outlets was noteworthy.

It was inevitable, of course, that someone was going to pull out the ‘fake news’ accusation and the Guido Fawkes site appears to have been the first – and descended straight to fake news to do it:

guido grenfell.png

That’s no surprise, as it has done so in the past, too. Why was it fake news? Simple: the article did not say what he claimed. Here’s what it did say:

if true grenfell

‘If’ is a small word with a big meaning. The article – read it for yourself if you wish, it’s unchanged apart from the addition of an update, with an amendment to the title to reflect that – was reporting what sources, including one firefighter, had told this blog and was very careful to make that clear.

Even the title of the article was carefully constructed, with speech-marks to indicate that it was quoting the allegations of others rather than making claims:

d notice title

Another journalist at Fawkes overplayed his hand a little and gave away the real aim of the fake news by putting an irrelevant picture of Jeremy Corbyn on his tweet, as well as attacking the straw-man of ‘claims’ that the article didn’t make:

kempsall guido

But while it’s unsurprising that Fawkes would seek to portray the article in a damning and inaccurate way, it was much more surprising that an array of journalists from other publications followed suit.

Evidently without actually bothering to read what the article actually said:





It’s a sad commentary on mainstream journalism that they didn’t bother to actually read and respond to what was said and seemed happy to accept Fawkes’ headline.

Even the Daily Mirror got in on the act, admittedly without jumping to the same ‘lie’ nonsense in its headline, although the main body of the article still stated that the SKWAWKBOX had claimed something it had not:

mirror d notice.png

Edit: The Telegraph even parroted the fake news on its front page, so desperate is it to attack Corbyn:

telegraph fake news.png

The usual accusations that the SKWAWKBOX was trying to ‘drive clicks to its site’ reared their head, as well – even though this blog pays extra to eliminate all advertising and therefore has nothing to gain by increasing ‘clicks’.

So there are a number of mainstream journalists who didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory today, especially as they essentially used fake news to attack this blog – and in so doing triggered numerous commenters to similarly misplaced outrage for something that didn’t actually happen.

As for the D-notice, the SKWAWKBOX is happy to have been able to clarify the issue, although the absence of a simple Home Office answer to this blog’s actual question remains frustrating.

However, it’s interesting that within an hour of a SKWAWKBOX article going up there was a swarm of mainstream journalists attacking it.

Or, more precisely, attacking something else they’d all decided it said.

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  1. Keep up the good work Sqwawkbox. “If” is evidently too long a word for the MSM.

  2. The fact that “skwawkbox” chose to lie about the d-notice to generate page views for this site is both pathetic and cretinous and won’t be appreciated by the families of the dead.

    1. Well, ‘Carl’, you care to substantiate that crap by showing a single instance in the article that was a lie? No, thought not.

  3. No. Your article insinuated that a D-notice had been issued. I had hoped you were better than The Canary but you’ve done yourself a major disservice. Don’t blame the ‘MSM’ for your own failings.

    1. The article stated the facts – that sources had contacted the blog with the allegation. That’s worth reporting. It was made absolutely clear that the allegations were not yet substantiated. Learn to read.

      1. “Every instinct screams that this is true”. You have to be more careful. It’s nice to get attention but as your blog is doing well what you write has consequences.

      2. I think you’re being disingenuous.

        You underline in this article the words “If it is true.that the government has issued a D-notice….”, but omit the other half of the sentence from the original article “.. – and every instinct is screaming that it is”, which signals pretty clearly your opinion of the truth of the matter.

        Putting part of the headline in quotes is a “get out of jail free card”, for which many have castigated the MSM in the past.

        You either deliberately or inadvertently set a hare running, which was picked up by both sides of the political spectrum as a real story – the “right” delighting in saying it was fake news, and the “left” delighting in their conspiracy theories being confirmed.

  4. Just carry on to doing what you are good at, which is reaching the parts the MSM deliberately never reach!
    Thanks to the stirling, and refreshingly honest work you and your colleagues on other sites do, the press are now in the last chance saloon. And as for Guido…, well, true to form!

  5. Just carry on to doing what you are good at, which is reaching the parts the MSM deliberately never reach!
    Thanks to the stirling, and refreshingly honest work you and your colleagues on other sites do, the press are now in the last chance saloon. And as for Guido…, well, true to form!

  6. In case you’re in any doubt, I get my information from the SKWAWKBOX every day, before I even look at any other media.

  7. It was interesting to note that within an hour of you publishing the original post that the BBC had begun to adopt a less pro government position to their reporting of the incident. If the concerns that you raised were in part responsible for this change then it must be considered a victory

  8. The reports of much higher on-the-ground estimates are at least worthy of investigation by the MSM, and perhaps even a mention, as opposed to interviewees having to bring them up unprompted.

    Instead, even the rabid fringes of the MSM are sticking with the very lowest numbers they can get away with while C4 and the BBC hedge themselves using near-identical language, stating that the figures are likely to “increase very considerably” (Snow/C4) or are “expected to rise substantially” (BBC).

    There is also some – at best inept – conflation of the difficulty of making a positive identifications with the much more straightforward task of stating how many victims have been discovered so far.

    The question of whether the MSM has been called upon – formally or informally – to downplay loss of life in the Grenfell tragedy in order to minimise Tory embarrassment is a reasonable one and most definitely in the public interest.

    Please stick with it SKWAWKBOX.

  9. ‘They’ said they would crack down on ‘Fake News’ and I was waiting for it to be pushed against either You, The Canary or Vox … Whilst The S*n, Mail, Beeb, Express, Telegraph and Times were allowed to continue their Disgraceful, Disgusting, Law Breaking Bile … I for One stand with You and the aforementioned alternatives… You are our Guiding light in a Storm of ‘Guidos’ ….

  10. We could all sense the MSM being very nervous about numbers, very nervous indeed. How that “caution” was unanimously decided upon is a valid line of inquiry. Off the record briefings, old boy’s phone tree, D Notice…? Who knows? So you were right to try and find out. The response, however, just underlines how unanimous that decision was and the powerful place it must have come from. Well done, Skwawkbox, keep on doing what you do. And thanks.

  11. While I am reluctant to criticise, I do think sometimes you need to be a little more cautious about publishing stories before they are proven to be true facts, otherwise you are laying yourself open to this sort of attack. The trouble is an awful lot of people have a limited ability to actually read anything properly.

  12. While I am reluctant to criticise, I do think sometimes you need to be a little more cautious before publishing stories, to make sure your facts are true, otherwise you lay yourself open to easy attacks from people who love an easy target. You have to realise that an awful lot of people cannot actually read properly, and they are supported by another lot of people who simply can’t be bothered to read, let alone do any actual research.

    1. I know what you’re saying. But in the end, if you hold back for people who can’t, or can’t be bothered, to read, you’d never write anything.

  13. Bit rich, if the torygraph has made accusations of ‘clickbait’…Coming from the rag which has advertisements looking suspiciously ‘stories’, until you get to the final sentence…’This article was sponsored by/ This celebrity was speaking to us in association with…” etc

    And ‘Gordo’ Fawkes can get to fawk – the fawking backsliding hypocrite.

    At least you had the bollocks to call the authorities to ASK if there was any substance to the rumours…And that’s all it seemed to be – a question. That fat sh*thouse staines would’ve cacked himself at the mere mention, as would most of the MSM.

    Carry on doing what you do better than the rest, Skwawky. I for one am grateful for your efforts.

  14. Keep up the great work Skwawkbox I think we all accept that there will be inaccuracies in a oneMan band run blog .For those like G Hinson etc who seem to expecting levels of forensic accuracy then you miss the point entirely of the blog I believe. If you want that then don’t read it fuck off and read the MSM .This blog and other left wing ones are a vital balance to the utter shit and lies put out by the MSM and the establishment. personally I don’t give a flying fuck if there is aD notice or not , this bastard Gvt will lie and micromanage the release of the dead numbers and to hell with the poor victims

    1. Leaving aside the obscenity, I think you contradict yourself.

      You firstly say that if I want forensic accuracy I shouldn’t read this blog, but go away and read the MSM.

      You then say that the MSM put out lies.

      1. And your agenda is to shut down this Blog to prevent inconvenient information being brought to the fore . The obscenity is called PASSION and I am fucking incandescent with rage over the tories and what they have done and folks like you who are Tory apologists make me fucking sick so stick your obscenity where the sun don’t shine ! There are going to be 100’s dead get that thro you head sunshine .

      2. I’ve got no interest in having this blog shut down, and wouldn’t know how to go about it anyway.

        If the articles are open to comment, then I will comment as I see fit, calmly and politely.

        But you can also carry on insulting me, and by extension the other 13.6m Conservative voters as you see fit.

        If Skwawkbox doesn’t want comments expressing differing views posted he can suppress them, as he has done with a couple of seemingly random ones of mine.

        But that wouldn’t sit very comfortably with the concept of free speech!


  16. If there is no D Notice there is some sort of restriction. The Grenfell residents have estimated 216 deaths but this has been unreported.

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