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Telegraph propagandists throw mud at InFacts. What a surprise!

by Andrew Gowers | 22.11.2019

Drawing a false equivalence is a cheap rhetorical trick known to propagandists down the ages. Thus two Daily Telegraph columnists, in their slavish subservience to Tory central office, have drawn a parallel between honest campaigning websites such as this one and the Conservatives’ deception in passing off a site carrying their own propaganda as one devoted to objective fact-checking. 

This whopper, hatched by columnist Harry Hodges on Wednesday evening, was repeated on BBC Question Time last night by the paper’s assistant comment editor Sherelle Jacobs. (Listen from 30-minute mark). Of course, the Telegraph has an interest in trying to discredit InFacts, but it is surreal to claim that a website that proclaims on its masthead a mission to explain “Why UK should be in EU” is pretending to be something it’s not. 

The Telegraph was once a great newspaper. But under the malign and hapless ownership of the Barclay brothers it has shrunk to nothing more than a shrill mouthpiece for the Hard Brexit brigade. Not content with its past role as a lavishly-remunerated platform for the mendacious drivel purveyed by Boris Johnson in his campaign for self-advancement, it now specialises in grotesquely spun fake news and the worst kind of public-schoolyard name-calling. 

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Jacobs, it turns out, loves exaggerating and has the habit of contradicting herself. Yes, she’s the one who two weeks ago wrote how “The Tories’ botched game plan in the Labour heartlands could cost Boris Johnson this election” only to opine last week how “Labour is on the brink of the most seismic wipeout in British election history”. 

During her Question Time performance, as well as dissing InFacts, she dismissed criticism of her leader Johnson as an obsession of the “London media bubble” (this on a programme being broadcast from Bolton). Revealingly, she also attempted to create some kind of false equivalence between facts and opinions, with the following convoluted pseudo-logic:

“In this sort of technocratic society where we revere facts, we almost become so ashamed and we have a tendency to think that our opinions are facts, and then what other people think are opinions.” Well, er, yes. Whatever.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

Categories: Brexit, UK Politics

4 Responses to “Telegraph propagandists throw mud at InFacts. What a surprise!”

  • In Facts an honest campaigning website???? Do me a favour!
    If it was called ‘in remainer opinion’ then it could be considered honest

  • Do you have a problem with remainers holding opinions? Or are they something only Brexiters are allowed to have?

    The key is in the word ‘Facts’. This website cites all its sources and explains its reasoning. As opposed to – for example – pretending 17 million Turks are poised to invade our country, or that the EU is forcing us to take millions of migrants, or that it will be easy to replicate the deals we currently have with the EU, not one of which claims has a shred of hard supporting evidence. I prefer facts to bluster, empty promises and appeals to crude xenophobia.

  • Graham, you said it yourself, it is all opinions.
    This site uses the sources it wants to use to promote one side of the argument only. Again they are forecasts, predictions and opinions not facts!
    It does make me smile when its contributors ridicule other sites for deceptively styling themselves as fact checkers when that is exactly what this site is dedicated to doing.

  • Dear “Peter”, you miss the crux (sorry, big word, make that “important bit”) of what Graham says. He indicates that the messages coming through on InFacts contain notes and links that enables one to look up where they got their information and how they interpret that. That is quite a difference with the Brexit bunch, where the sound bites, never polluted with such fact-finding links, reign supreme ( meaning, are all you get). The situation re Information surrounding Brexit gets even more alarming when your luck in life includes having been educated in a nation where being multilingual is seen as very important. This enables you to hear their newscasters and read their papers, and most of all make comparisons with some of the ridiculous claims much of the British media spoons up to their readership. You be happy to keep believing that the EU are a bunch of swarthy, slick-haired and smelly weasels mate. You’re unfortunately bound to find out some hard facts of life in the near future, especially after a crash-out. Thank God the USA is waking up from Trump, at least what’s left of the UK after Brexit is unlikely to See Johnson and Trump (and Putin) congratulating each other and frolick in the sunshine somewhere.