‘Mainstream’ journalists “become press spokesmen for Boris Johnson” and “passing on smears and lies” instead of “doing the job of a journalist”
Highly-respected journalist and commentator Peter Oborne has appeared on Channel 4 News to accuse Boris Johnson and his advisers of “total unscrupulousness” in putting out fake news and narratives – and “a very large number of very senior journalists” of failing to do “the job of a journalist”.
Oborne – a Conservative supporter – went on to mention the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and ITV’s Robert Peston as examples of journalists instead simply passing on Number 10’s leaks and briefings so uncritically that they “become effectively press spokesmen for Boris Johnson and… Dominic Cummings”.
This allows Johnson and Cummings to say one thing officially and then convey an entirely different – and often completely untrue – narrative in the public sphere.
Journalists who should know better are “shamelessly” propagating Downing Street “propaganda and fake news” – or even “smears, lies, fake news” – as Oborne describes it in an excellent new article on the Open Democracy site, accompanied by examples.
To the obvious consternation of his Channel 4 interviewer, Oborne didn’t pull any punches – even naming his own employers at the Daily Mail as regular participants:
This carefully-constructed mechanism for misleading the nation has existed for years, worsening significantly when then-PM David Cameron installed many Tories in positions of power in the BBC, and was routinely exploited by previous Tory governments.
But under the even more ‘total unscrupulousness’ of Boris Johnson and his handlers, it has become a cancer sickening and disabling our democracy.
Well done Peter Oborne for a clear and fearless denunciation.
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