A group of prominent mainstream British journalists — including former editors at The Economist and The Guardian — are backing a new Europhile website designed to attack what they say are the “inaccuracies and twisted logic” promoted by Eurosceptics. The group’s aim is to help argue the case for Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.
The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger and Bill Emmott of The Economist are “frustrated by what they see as campaigners and pundits playing loose with the facts”, reports Politico. Mr. Emmott’s earlier contributions to the European debate include the risibly Europhile BBC television programme ‘The Great European Disaster’ — described by Breitbart London’s James Delingpole as “propaganda worthy of Leni Riefenstahl”.
As a result these media establishment heavyweights have joined forces with Hugo Dixon, the founder of the financial commentary website Breakingviews which was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2009. He is described by Politico as “an outspoken advocate for Britain’s membership of the EU.”
The new ‘fact checking’ site — InFacts — is said to be Mr. Dixon’s brainchild, but he is far from alone. Scheduled for launch in January it reportedly grew out of a get-together he had with some of his journalist contacts at his West London home in the summer.
Other supposedly objective media figures joining Messrs Rusbridger and Emmott in support of pro-EU advocacy include Geert Linnebank — a former editor-in-chief of Reuters — and celebrity economist, columnist and former editor of The Observer, Will Hutton. In total there will be 11 part-time editors as well as four full-time staff tasked with monitoring media coverage, conducting research, and writing.
Mr. Dixon explained what his site is about:
“We’re going to be doing a mixture of making the positive case for being in and rebuttal. [We will be] trying to keep people honest. If people know there are people out there who are watching and who are going to swoop if we find things that are inaccurate, that will be helpful…”
He continued: “It’s a fairly complicated issue, the question of whether we should stay in or get out, there are lots of arguments on both sides.
“The arguments are much stronger on the In case than Out case, but there are clearly arguments on both sides and counter-arguments. I don’t think this is getting out very much to the general public.”
In Mr. Dixon’s view, “the only issue which is impacting on the general public is the migration issue” — one he does not think is “being presented in the right way” because in his opinion concepts like free movement of people and open borders are confused and misunderstood by the general public.
InFacts is reportedly funded by the editors and several private backers, but is not officially affiliated to any existing In campaign.