Saturday 5 October 2019

'Fake news' - will this phrase save us? 'Politically correct' didn't

Still on the subject of what Michael Gove really said at the German Embassy on Thursday and the untruthful tweet about it by one Professor Neumann, a German who was present and is a lecturer at King's College London, it's another case, like Sir Roger Scruton's very shameful sacking, of how people with malign intent misuse social media and spread what is to coin a phrase fake news. 

This is Douglas Murray's report.

Whatever you think of him and however much you might not like him (I don't much like him either), we must all be grateful to Donald Trump for coining that phrase 'fake news' and showing the world that the media are political actors. 

This is simultaneously much clearer and much less clear now that the political consensus, meaning what unites the traditional parties while they fight each other, is under attack.

President George H W Bush coined the phrase 'politically correct' to point out the Communist origins of a lot of vexatious ideas. I thought at the time that the phrase would ridicule and laugh out of business those ideas but it didn't at all. Instead it is no longer politically correct (i.e permitted in many circles) to use the very phrase itself.

Had Professor Neumann been untruthful in defence of Cecil Rhodes, let alone the Amritsar massacre, or had he had his picture taken next to man in an Islamophobic t-shirt he might have been given the old heave-ho. Had he said that boys are better at maths than girls he certainly would have had to go.


  1. Trump generates and promotes endless piles of hot, steaming fake news himself, from the days he put out his own lying press releases under a fake name.

  2. I do not know the story but I believe you. Please tell us what he did.
    I did not say he was truthful. Unfortunately he certainly isn't which is very bad indeed. Nor is Hillary. I can't say which is worse. Both make Nixon look a boy scout.

    But the heritage media with one or two exceptions is out to get the Donald and they are very unreliable or dishonest on many other things especially but by no means limited to Muslims, immigrants and ethnic minorities.

  3. I think the legacy media accepted reluctantly that its prognostications had been wrong and would have been OK with going along with aspects of Trump's program. But when Trump threatens to "destroy and obliterate" Turkey's economy, as he did today, the reaction is not going to be positive -- that's a bit much even for the Trump-stroking Daily Mail.

    Hillary Clinton is not president and hopefully ponying up both-sides-do-it is a weak argument. She never wildly accused Ted Cruz's father of assassinating John F Kennedy, anyway.

    I know so many pious retired-Navy and law enforcement Mr Probity types who are bending over backwards to excuse the erratic and unhinged statements made by this president. I do wonder how long it can go on.

    1. I know a pious retired State Department man who does bend over backwards as you say. I wonder what Donald Trump's legacy will be. I hope he transforms the Republican and Democrat parties. I see little evidence of the former. One or two intelligent people have appeared among the Democrats who see that the weather has changed.