The (almost) complete history of ‘fake news’


Just a week ago the BBC were investigating the history of ‘Fake news‘…..

In record time, the phrase morphed from a description of a social media phenomenon into a journalistic cliche and an angry political slur. How did the term “fake news” evolve – and what’s next in the world of disinformation?

It is, you may be surprised to hear, not a bad run down of how ‘fake news’ came to be the battle cry of the liberal elite…it does look mostly at Trump but concludes he’s not guilty…it was his opponents, including in the media, who weaponised the phrase to discredit him….

Nothing new here

Misinformation, spin, lies and deceit have of course been around forever. But what Silverman and others uncovered was a unique marriage between social media algorithms, advertising systems, people prepared to make stuff up to earn some easy cash and an election that gripped a nation and much of the world.

In the wake of President Trump’s victory, BBC Trending delved into the huge world of pro-Trump Facebook groups. Inside those hyper-partisan spaces there were some outright falsehoods circulating.

But most of the content was more traditional political communication: puffery, drumbeating, and opponent-slagging. There were memes showing Trump as a fearless leader, support for his pledges to deport illegal immigrants, and potted biographies describing the candidate as “the very definition of the American success story.” It was hardly balanced stuff – but nor did much of it qualify as “fake news”.

But pundits scrambling to explain the shock result (and in many cases, their own follies) turned to “fake news” as one possible explanation.

It admits Clinton used the phrase before Trump…despite many a BBC journo accusing Trump…

To say that President Trump was the first politician to deploy the term would itself be, well, “fake news”.

On 8 December 2016, Hillary Clinton made a speech in which she mentioned “the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year.”

President-elect Trump took up the phrase the following month, in January 2017, a little over a week before taking office.

Also it noted that ‘fake news’ may not have much impact at all in elections…Nick Robinson, Emma Barnett and Co might do well to note that before claiming that Russian fake news won the US election and Brexit….which of course is fake news from the BBC itself….

The researchers also found that the visits were highly concentrated – 10% of readers made 60% of the visits. And crucially, the researchers concluded “fake news does not crowd out hard news consumption.”

“The reach was relatively wide, but not so deep,” Mantzarlis says. “It’s quite a big step further to say, are people voting on this, making decisions on it.”

“To say it’s poisoning our democracy or it won this guy or the other guy an election, we need a lot more research to be able to say that.”

But one thing is missing from this analysis…the BBC…of course….stories such as this from the Sun today:


Labour frontbencher Clive Lewis admits broadcasting biased news reports while working as BBC journalist

A LABOUR frontbencher has admitted broadcasting biased news reports while working as a BBC journalist.

And last night the revelation by shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis plunged the corporation into a damaging storm.

Mr Lewis told left-wing Momentum members: “I was able to use bias in my reports by giving less time to one than the other.

“I reported on both but the angle and words and the language I used — I know the pictures I used — I was able to project my own particular political positions on things in a very subtle way.”

Mr Lewis made his damning comments last September at a Momentum rally in Brighton.

They were discovered in a secret recording and will be a huge embarrassment to BBC bosses.

Tory MP Damian Collins said: “He’s boasting about undermining one of our great institutions.”

A spokesman for Mr Lewis declined to comment. A BBC spokesperson said: “Our editorial guidelines ensure impartiality.”

Remarkably, or not, you won’t find the story on the BBC website.

A Labour MP admits that when he was a BBC journalist he used the platform to spread his own propaganda and the BBC doesn’t immediately investigate and put it up as frontpage news?  If it had been a Tory MP who had worked for the Mail, a Murdoch paper or Sky I can’t imagine the BBC being so coy.

Then again that’s why this site exists, because BBC bias is real, pervasive and dangerous to British society and democracy….just a few days ago David Attenborough was boasting how his nature programmes had changed government policy but he then also added that people must be careful who they vote for….given that Harrabin and Co seem to think that the Tories are toxic for the environment I imagine Attenborough isn’t suggesting you vote Tory when the chance arises.


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14 Responses to The (almost) complete history of ‘fake news’

  1. Jerry Owen says:

    David Attenborough of ‘why doesn’t somebody just shoot him’ (Trump ) fame.
    Just imagine the BBC ignoring one of it’s leading lights suggesting somebody ‘just shoot Obama’.


    • Up2snuff says:

      We are into Year 2 of President Trump’s first term. I do not recall the BBC running a programme looking back at former President Obama’s two terms in office.

      I wonder why?


  2. ChrisMorrison says:

    Fake news – how about a fresh outbreak of climate scare activists awarding themselves fake Nobel prizes. Dr Peter Scott, the scientific strategic head of climate monitoring in Britain’s Met Office, claims on his cv that he is a “co-recipient” of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. No he isn’t – stop being silly.

    Dr Stott hit the BBC airways and studios last week with the widely reported and unchallenged claim that 2017 was one of the hottest on record. Since these records consist mainly of imprecise temperature measurements mixed with copious amounts of “proxy” data and stirred with a great deal of smoothing and man-made guesses, the claim needs to be treated with proper skepticism. Falsely claiming to be a recipient of a Nobel prize would not seem to help the cause either. Needless, to say scientific skepticism was in short supply after Dr Stott spoke, The BBC led the way by failing to ask why anyone should believe climate studies based on computer models when they have been almost uniformly wrong over the last three decades.

    The Nobel scam started in 2007 when the United Nation’s IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (a dodgy political award separate from all other Nobels). Suddenly the cvs of numerous climate activists were padded with references to winning a Nobel (often minus the Peace bit) on the grounds that they had contributed to the IPPC climate reports. The most notorious was Michael Mann, of hockey stick and Climategate fame, who in the course of an American libel case suggested that it was one thing to engage in discussion about debatable topics but it was “quite another to attempt to discredit consistently validated scientific research through the professional and personal defamation of a Nobel Prize recipient”.

    By 2012, it seems the IPCC had had enough, deafened maybe by the thunderous laughter that greeted every fake claim. It noted: “The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official or scientists who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner”.

    The weather forecasting Met Office and the BBC have long been state-funded propagandists for the global warming alarm. In 2006 the BBC held a seminar composed largely of climate activists that recommended the science of human induced climate change was “settled” and little attention should be taken to given to those who approach the issue with a skeptical view. That decision seems to have prompted the writer Clive James to note recently that the state broadcaster “has spent ten years unplugged from a vital part of the global intellectual discussion, with an increasing air of provincialism as the inevitable result”.


    • Richard Pinder says:

      I have just searched through my information from the gang in Mensa. Peter Stott works with Peter Cox at the University of Exeter. This university is worse than the University of Reading and the University of East Anglia when it comes to computer generated dogma for the man-made Climate Change fraud, and sparked Mensa members into action in 2009.

      This appeared in a Mensa special interest group newsletter about a complaint to the BBC about the Climate Change program “Hot Planet” transmitted in December of 2009.

      “Surprisingly the most blatantly biased statement by the BBC said that “Anthropogenic Global Warming is a fact” the IPCC using an assumption says “very likely” and the BBC which claims to be impartial says “fact“. This also does not come from the Royal Society. (it came from the University of Exeter) This evidence proves that the BBC takes a more extremely Biased view than the IPCC or the Royal Society and conflicts with the BBC Trusts claim that impartiality is important. This also now leaves open the possibility of legal action against the BBC Trust which has continually refused freedom of information requests for details of how this decision was made by what the BBC calls “the best scientific experts“. I suspect the decision was made by Environmentalists not by Atmospheric Physicists. The BBC also claims to do independent investigations and then only talks to the scientists that make the program. The senior scientific advisor for the program was Professor Peter Cox. The BBC has had trouble with Professor Cox regarding the predictions of a Barbecue Summer and Mild Winters and his prominent role in the Climategate Scandal and with the IPCC. The BBC has no scientific investigative journalists and also it claims that it has access to 4,000 Climate Scientists but not one of these was used as an Independent Scientific investigator into Professor Cox or the program. Professor Cox did not mention water vapour, confused the southern ocean with the deep ocean and has not heard of the science of Cosmoclimatology. I suggested to the BBC that it should investigate the quality of its Scientific advisors in this case.”

      As far as can be seen, the BBC sticks with the same discredited people used ten years ago. People with irrelevant qualifications such as computer modellers and environmental scientists, pitched against complaints from Atmospheric Physicists and Solar Astronomers, complaints that have never been upheld by the BBC.


    • boohanna says:

      “the science of human induced climate change was “settled””

      It’s called “Atmosphere Cancer” now so clearly not…..


  3. honestus says:

    whether they (Lewis and his ilk) admit to their partisanship or not matters not in the least. Whether our public funded broadcaster acknowledges any of the multitude of examples of bias, the likes a ten year old could identify (“Our editorial guidelines ensure impartiality”) is also of no great concern. The BBC are fast becoming a parody, a sham broadcaster who’s audience laugh at their feeble denials and inept deflection and like Trump – I don’t care. They longer it goes on, the more irrelevant and feeble and inept they appear.


  4. magicoat says:

    ……….Tory MP Damian Collins said: “He’s boasting about undermining one of our great institutions.”
    My God…how many other MP’s actual believe that twaddle!! The BBC is at the forefront of presenting us with Fake News..has done for years.
    Challenge the BBC through its complaints procedures and you enter a superbly constructed and very well designed three dimensional maze.


    • GCooper says:

      I have even tried to have a discussion with them about the choice of BBC channels broadcast on Freeview. It is impossible. They simply lock you into a circular argument from which there is no escape and no exit. It’s like something out of Kafka.


  5. The Highland Rebel says:

    As long as we have that vile wretch Amber Rudd at the Home Office nothing will be done to stop this affront on democracy and the British people.
    btw Breitbart picked up on BBC bias today.


    • GCooper says:

      Yes, indeed. A woman who rose without trace or qualifications. She must be one of the first to go when the cull of May’s useless acolytes takes place. It can’t come too soon.


  6. Beeb Brother says:

    How they must regret their hubris in declaring Trump won because of ‘fake news.’ So a few whacky stories from Macedonia were pivotal but the relentless torrents of mendacity from the MSM were ok? Trump is literally Hitler and Hillary Clinton is noble, honest and not in the slightest bit corrupt?

    How glorious it has been to have Trump relentlessly attack them as fake news; saying how their ‘sources’ are made up, they endanger security by publishing leaks, ignore stuff they shouldn’t as so on. He has been relentless, just as they have been with their opponents – denouncing anyone who opposes their lunacy with shrieks of ‘racist!’

    How can anyone ever trust them again after Trump and Brexit? The world has not collapsed as they said – quite the opposite. The real and present danger is the main stream media and more and more people realise that.


    • Alicia Sinclair says:

      Wonder what effect Trumps relentless calling out of “fake news” has had on the BBC Licence fee tax take?
      Bet it`s cost the BBC plenty-bet also that “More Or Less” would never be bold enough to hazard even the slightest hint of that question either,
      Some things you`ll never hear asked of”


  7. Blackwell says:

    ‘Nick Robinson, Emma Barnett and Co might do well to note that before claiming that Russian fake news won the US election and Brexit’

    As BBC programmes are available to view/listen to for 30 days, and its news websites archive reports for perpetuity, I’m sure you can substantiate that?

    ‘Remarkably, or not, you won’t find the story on the BBC website.’

    Not. At the time you wrote this there was only one media source on the planet covering the story….the Sun.
    Some 24 hours later…..there’s 2. The Sun and the Daily Mail. You’ve got them bang to rights there.


  8. Number 7 says:

    “If it had been a Tory MP who had worked for the Mail, a Murdoch paper or Sky I can’t imagine the BBC being so coy.”

    Has anybody watched Sky News since the Referendum????????????