When it comes to fake news, the political left alongside the establishment are quick to point fingers at the right, even when they know we’re telling the truth.
People tried it with the Cologne mass migrant rape scandal, they tried it with a German cathedral being set alight with fireworks, and more recently, they’ve tried it with a story about Swedish police opting to guard joggers who now feel unsafe in their hometowns.
In all of these instance, the facts bear out on the side of the reporting from Breitbart London.
But when the leftists themselves get their facts wrong (and they do, often) barely a word is said about it.
Over the past week British social media was alight with a story most heinously promoted by the Independent — once upon a time a newspaper, now a heavily politicised blog to the left of the Guardian.
“The Tories have voted that animals can’t feel pain as part of the EU bill, marking the beginning of our anti-science Brexit” screeched one Independent headline. Another read: “MPs refuse to recognise that animals feel pain or emotion in Brexit bill vote”.
Neither true, of course, and the Independent was finally forced to rescind their sensational claims, but not before the story went hyper-viral, reaching over seven and a half million people, according to one estimate.
In truth, as explained by Buzzfeed no less, the “most viral news story in UK politics this year” was first mooted by a recent graduate called Daniel Wild over at the FarmingUK website. Even Wild slammed the Independent’s spin of the story, telling Buzzfeed: “I think the story has got out of hand… I didn’t expect the Independent to run with this story that we did and turn it into an anti-Brexit story… They often do this – they’re quite known for it.”
“They’re just playing on their crowd on social media. It’s quite a shameless pro-EU paper, so they just play on the story,” he added.
In reality, the acknowledgement of animal sentience is already enshrined in UK law, and the reason Conservative MPs were instructed to vote against the near-tautological European Union-style amendment into UK law was simply to expedite the process of shifting relevant EU law into UK law.
Despite their admission of error, the Independent’s tweets on the matter still exist:
MPs just quietly voted 'that animals cannot feel pain or emotions' https://t.co/EzaiKwRqMG
— The Independent (@Independent) November 20, 2017
No comment has been made by the effective deputy Prime Minister Damian Green, warning over attacks on Members of Parliament as a result, despite the fact that one of the most active and violent parts of the UK political environment are green/animal rights campaigners.
The Independent’s sub-site, Indy100, even provided a hit list of sorts, naming each Member of Parliament who voted against the extraneous legislative amendment.
Some Conservative MPs received abuse and threats as a result of the Independent’s reporting.
Journalists need to take responsibility for this. Every time they print fake news, such as animals not being sentient, the death threats and abuse starts. Here is a mild example pic.twitter.com/SX0bKdN3If
— Maria Caulfield MP (@mariacaulfield) November 24, 2017
The Independent finally issued the following statement:
Put simply, what happened is this: MPs did not vote that animals are not sentient creatures…
Campaigners – and some news coverage – initially said that the Government had voted against recognising sentience. The Independent was among publishers that reported the story in that way. But it became clear that this claim was not right, even though it had been interpreted by some campaigners in that way. (The Independent updated its coverage to ensure it was accurate).
But they didn’t stop fake news merchants using their opinion pages to double down on the lie, and promoting it to their 2.4 million Twitter followers at the same time:
No, it's not 'fake news' to say that Tory MPs voted against animal sentience – here's why https://t.co/v0JyLIjZnJ
— The Independent (@Independent) November 23, 2017
Another article on the Independent website further confuses the matter, stating: “Put simply, what happened is this: MPs did not vote that animals are not sentient creatures. But neither did they vote for a law that would have recognised them as such.”
This is the fake news equivalent of “they never denied beating their wife”. Even the leftist New Statesman explained how the Conservative government is far and away ahead on animal rights issues:
Michael Gove’s new policies – including a ban on ivory sales, CCTV in slaughterhouses and an independent watchdog to deliver a “green Brexit” – have been welcomed by environmentalists and campaigners.
The moral of the story here seems to be that not only are the left just as, if not more guilty, of erroneous news coverage than anything the right offers. But when they do get things wrong — even when they have to admit it — they still attempt to promote their false narratives under the radar.
Brexit couldn’t be stopped by trade threats from Barack Obama, World War III threats by David Cameron, or indeed the allegations that the murder of a Member of Parliament was somehow linked to a poster launched by Nigel Farage.
So now — after the “please think of the children” mantra failed — they’re going after puppies. Vote Remain, or the puppy gets it.
Literally, left wing news outlets illustrated their fake news stories about animal sentience with puppies.
Raheem Kassam is the Editor in Chief of Breitbart London