Time and again that deluded tool of special interests, Lord Justice Leveson, will eat those words in return for his rank ignorance and opinionated myopia.
There is nothing that destroys the trust people have in a movement, or its credibility, or indeed undermines its objectives, as comprehensively, as being shown to be wilfully spreading inaccurate or knowingly false information. But that is exactly what the Daily Express stands accused of today.
As Richard explains on EU Referendum, leading Eurosceptic journalist Christopher Booker, was approached by a newspaper who asked him to write a ‘robust’ commentary on the ‘plan’ by the EU Commission to ban the Union Flag from British meat packs. Booker, along with Richard who often provides much needed forensic research expertise, soon discovered there is actually no such plan and went back to the newspaper concerned to tell them there was no story – foregoing what likely amounts to a four figure fee in the process.
This was after the Daily Express had contacted the European Commission about this ‘story’ only to be told it was not true. Rather than dropping the piece, having been unable to deliver the narrative it wanted, the Express had commissioned John Ingham to write an article about this non existent plan the Express published despite the editorial team knowing it to be false.
An absence of fact checking is bad enough for the financed and resourced legacy media, but publishing a story for which they have been told there is no evidence and no basis in fact, is reprehensible. This lack of integrity, this unprincipled behaviour, is damaging to the Eurosceptic cause. If the Express knowingly published this story having been told it is false, how many other times have they done the same thing? How much more false material is there waiting to harm the case for withdrawing from the EU?
As if this isn’t bad enough, it seems this false story has elicited outraged commentary from people whose very job necessitates them to sort fact from fiction using vast resources available to them.
Yes, that’s right. UKIP’s seemingly infinite capacity for failing to do detail and instead shooting from the lip, has seen Paul Nuttall MEP, the party’s Deputy Leader, quoted on the UKIP party website as saying:
The EU is has launched this horrible offensive against national identity and scrapping appearances of the national flag is a way of doing that.
Consumers look for simple symbols like that when they buy meat to know they are buying British. We already have food supply chains that are far too long and British shoppers have lost faith in supermarket stock since the horse meat scandal.
Now I wouldn’t be surprised if shoppers instead are faced with the ring of stars logo instead. Well the general public are losing faith rapidly in the EU and will be seriously offended by these latest moves.
Really it makes more sense to be offended by something real rather than imagined, but hey ho. With UKIP offering official comment that condemns plans that don’t exist, perhaps the faith the general public will lose will be in what the party has to say on EU matters. On reflection, despite my regular complaints that UKIP is failing in its role by not using its platform to counter Europhile FUD, it is probably a blessing that its spokesman and MEPs stay silent on such EU related matters. They should stick to filling vacant parish council seats until they can get their act together.
By knowingly publishing a false story the Daily Express is making fools of its readers and treating them with appalling contempt. Rather than bolster the Eurosceptic cause they may well have done the opposite. So much for the mainstream media’s ‘powerful reputation for accuracy’. It was a blogger who flagged up the media’s error and demonstrated integrity by setting the record straight. Electronic pub gossip, or reliable and accurate guardian of the truth, m’lud?
The only way to defeat the Europhiles and their campaign of FUD is with the truth, with facts and with evidence. The Express is therefore not an ally of our cause, but a ticking time bomb that could blow it apart. The paper’s editors and journalists need to shape up or sod off. We don’t need or want what they’re bringing to the table.