Yesterday Theresa May addressed one of main issues concerning everyday British citizens. Immigration? Brexit? House prices? Terrorism?
Alas no, she instead spoke about fake news being spread by Russians:
Theresa May has accused Russia of meddling in elections and planting fake stories in the media in an extraordinary attack on its attempts to “weaponise information” in order to sow discord in the west.
The prime minister spoke out against “the scale and nature” of Russia’s actions during an address at the lord mayor’s banquet, saying it was “threatening the international order on which we all depend”.
If the international order can be upset by fake news being planted in the media, it doesn’t say much about the international order, does it? But the reason fake news gains so much traction in the west is twofold: firstly, major news organisations are flatly refusing to cover serious issues affecting millions of ordinary people, thus giving the (correct) impression that the news is carefully managed by the political establishment. This then leaves the floor clear for nefarious parties to come in and talk about these issues unopposed. Secondly, trust in the mainstream media has fallen to rock-bottom because people have finally realised they are also in the business of peddling fake news, and now consider the difference between them and the likes of RT to be one of degree not form. The mainstream media and the politicians they pander to have only themselves to blame, but they are so lacking in self-awareness they can’t see how much they’re projecting. Consider this statement for example:
“It is seeking to weaponise information. Deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the west and undermine our institutions.”
How many fake news stories regarding Donald Trump does the BBC peddle, then? Just last week it was complicit in the fake story about Trump dumping the fish-food into the pond all at once, and relies mainly on unsubstantiated Twitter posts in its initial reporting of a story. And how much airtime did the BBC give to the non-story that was the Paradise Papers? Consider too this post from Rob Fisher at Samizdata:
Leaving aside the question of whether the state has a role in telling broadcasters what news they can broadcast (it does not), let me take a quick look at the front page of the BBC News website right now.
Here is my translation of the pertinent headlines (stories that are political I have marked in italics, and neutral stories I have omitted):
– Big companies like Apple should pay more tax.
– Tax avoidance is wrong.
– Lewis Hamilton should pay more tax.
– Bono should pay more tax.
– Rich people should pay more tax.
– The state should control who has guns.
– Mugabe wants his wife to take over from him.
– Plastic is bad and greedy people are destroying the planet with it because they are greedy.
– Global warming is still really real and only states working with the UN can save us.
– Trump is being mean to Turkish people.
– Trump wants Japan to help defend against North Korea.
– People were kidnapped in Nigeria.
– A writer used politically incorrect language.
– A woman who was rude to Trump got fired.
– People who voted for Trump probably regret it.
The idea that the BBC is an impartial reporter of the news contrasting with RT’s politically-motivated propaganda is laughable. So is this:
Listing Russia’s attempts to undermine western institutions in recent years, she said: “I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us.
Whatever damage Russia has done to western institutions is eclipsed by that carried out by the political establishment of which Theresa May is very much part. True, the Russians might not succeed in destroying western society but they won’t have to: the likes of Theresa May will manage that all on their own, cheered on by the mainstream media while ordinary people are ignored, belittled, insulted, threatened, and imprisoned.
If the western democracies were as resilient as May is making out, RT’s output wouldn’t matter. Russia presented far more of a threat during the Cold War, and there were more than enough people in the west working in Moscow’s interests, and yet we survived intact. May knows this, and so does the entire political and media establishment. Politicians want someone to blame for the divisions in society that they have caused, and the media want to silence a rival outlet that doesn’t play by the same rules as they do, i.e. by refusing to cover stories that are politically inconvenient. The sooner May is booted out and the mainstream media goes bankrupt, the better. RT might peddle crap, but they are not the biggest problem Britain faces, not by a long shot.