Our occasional contributor VT responds to the already infamous Guardian article Russia spread fake news via Twitter bots after Salisbury poisoning – analysis After 37 hours this article remains uncorrected, despite numerous notifications of its libellous misrepresentation. If anyone would like to contact the Guardian and ask for a correction you can email Paul Chadwick, Guardian Readers’ Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guardian political editor Heather Stewart has outdone herself with this real little masterpiece of fake news, thereby destroying any pretension she might have had to be a reputable journalist.
In short, in this crudely faked anti-Russian disinformation piece, the Guardian has published as pseudo-fact, without any doubt or criticism, a UK regime propaganda handout alleging that Russian bots are “unleashing disinformation” in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning. Most of the article just regurgitates the blather of freshly-minted war criminal Theresa May and anonymous UK regime officials; the evidential basis of the article, such as it is, is simply this:
One bot, @Ian56789, was sending 100 posts a day during a 12-day period from 7 April, and reached 23 million users, before the account was suspended. It focused on claims that the chemical weapons attack on Douma had been falsified, using the hashtag #falseflag. Another, @Partisangirl, reached 61 million users with 2,300 posts over the same 12-day period.
Obviously, the implicit characterisation of any doubt about the supposed Douma chemical attack as “disinformation” is, to say the least, unproven. But the bigger problem is that the supposed Russian bots … aren’t.
One supposed bot – @ian56789 – did indeed have his Twitter account suspended based on this slander and he is pretty upset about it, although he has now had it reinstated.
The other one, @partisangirl, is actually the very well known Syrian blogger, commentator and analyst Maram Susli. She’s not really a bot either, of course.
Nor is either of these supposed bots based in Russia.
It’s ironic that an article purporting to denounce Russian “fake news” and “disinformation” is itself blatantly faked disinformation on behalf of the perfidious UK regime, but such are the times we live in. There is nothing surprising here: this is just what we should expect to find in the main stream of the media sewer nowadays.
But let’s take a closer look at this particular fake news item to see what it can tell us about the quality of the falsehood on sale at the Guardian propaganda outlet and to gaze for a moment, with pity as well as contempt, on the pathetic hacks slaving away there, day after well-paid day, to supply the ideological pabulum needed to disinform and prejudice the public.
The first point to note is the grotesque obsequiousness and imbecilic credulity of the article. It simply repeats everything the UK regime says uncritically, as if UK official mouthpieces are never, ever, mistaken or mendacious. So-called journalism like this is justly referred to as stenography for the regime. “The need for independent journalism has never been greater,” says the Guardian. Well, yes… but that’s not the Guardian itself at all.
Verdict: infantile naïveté, chauvinism and gross servility.
Secondly, note the crassly Russo-phobic tone of the piece. A clear intent to arouse dislike and fear against Russia unmistakeably underlies the bot-panic fakery. That vicious animus is not at all innocent, especially since mass hatred against another nation, when successfully whipped up, always promotes war, death and destruction.
Verdict: bigoted, immoral hatemongering.
Thirdly, note that the supposed “Russian-based bots” are actually real – and non-Russian – human beings. Ms Susli, in particular, is famous and should be familiar to anyone who has followed the Syria crisis. But Heather Stewart’s evident ignorance provides her no excuse in any case, because even basic fact checking, if she had bothered to do any, would have disclosed that these individuals were neither robots nor based in Russia.
Verdict: utter journalistic incompetence.
Fourthly, consider what it means when dissenting voices are slandered, misrepresented and delegitimised, as this horrible piece of work does. During times of official war hysteria, dissent is at its most precious and should be promoted by all genuinely critical, independent media. Instead the Guardian has willingly become part of the regime’s repressive apparatus.
Verdict: creepy neo-McCarthyism.
Finally, once the article fell apart and was exposed as fakery, the Guardian did nothing about it. It’s sill there on the site, still misleading readers, without any correction (at the time of writing). Heather Stewart herself made the risible excuse “it’s not my analysis – as the piece makes clear – it’s the government’s”.
So, even when caught out promoting a lie, the Guardian has persisted with it instead of retracting it.
Verdict: shameless dishonesty.
Is it false memory that prompts me to hanker for the good old days at the Guardian – when the warmongering lies were competently manufactured, slickly packaged and often appeared deceitfully credible?
Surely we can expect a better standard of disinformative propaganda from the flagship organ of British imperialist liberalism? Because otherwise even the imperial regimes and their individual oligarchs will be disinclined to shake their money trees to cover the bloated deficit of an organ whose journalistic bankruptcy is approaching even faster than its financial one.