Earlier today the SKWAWKBOX published an article about sources who claimed that the government had issued a ‘D-notice’ restricting information on the number of people killed in the awful fire at Grenfell Tower.
That article has just been updated to reflect the latest information. Having spoken to a Brigadier at the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee (DSMAC), the SKWAWKBOX is satisfied that no D-notice was issued.
However, the matter has not been fully settled – the question the SKWAWKBOX sent to the Home Office today was broader:
‘or any other form of restriction‘. So far, the Home Office has directed this blog to the DSMAC, to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the Metropolitan Police, but has not said ‘no’ in answer to that straightforward question. That may or may not be significant, but the matter of the D-notice, at least, is settled.
However, the reaction of a number of mainstream media outlets was noteworthy.
It was inevitable, of course, that someone was going to pull out the ‘fake news’ accusation and the Guido Fawkes site appears to have been the first – and descended straight to fake news to do it:
That’s no surprise, as it has done so in the past, too. Why was it fake news? Simple: the article did not say what he claimed. Here’s what it did say:
‘If’ is a small word with a big meaning. The article – read it for yourself if you wish, it’s unchanged apart from the addition of an update, with an amendment to the title to reflect that – was reporting what sources, including one firefighter, had told this blog and was very careful to make that clear.
Even the title of the article was carefully constructed, with speech-marks to indicate that it was quoting the allegations of others rather than making claims:
Another journalist at Fawkes overplayed his hand a little and gave away the real aim of the fake news by putting an irrelevant picture of Jeremy Corbyn on his tweet, as well as attacking the straw-man of ‘claims’ that the article didn’t make:
But while it’s unsurprising that Fawkes would seek to portray the article in a damning and inaccurate way, it was much more surprising that an array of journalists from other publications followed suit.
Evidently without actually bothering to read what the article actually said:
It’s a sad commentary on mainstream journalism that they didn’t bother to actually read and respond to what was said and seemed happy to accept Fawkes’ headline.
Even the Daily Mirror got in on the act, admittedly without jumping to the same ‘lie’ nonsense in its headline, although the main body of the article still stated that the SKWAWKBOX had claimed something it had not:
Edit: The Telegraph even parroted the fake news on its front page, so desperate is it to attack Corbyn:
The usual accusations that the SKWAWKBOX was trying to ‘drive clicks to its site’ reared their head, as well – even though this blog pays extra to eliminate all advertisingand therefore has nothing to gain by increasing ‘clicks’.
So there are a number of mainstream journalists who didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory today, especially as they essentially used fake news to attack this blog – and in so doing triggered numerous commenters to similarly misplaced outrage for something that didn’t actually happen.
As for the D-notice, the SKWAWKBOX is happy to have been able to clarify the issue, although the absence of a simple Home Office answer to this blog’s actual question remains frustrating.
However, it’s interesting that within an hour of a SKWAWKBOX article going up there was a swarm of mainstream journalists attacking it.
Or, more precisely, attacking something else they’d all decided it said.