Douglas Carswell

16 NOV 2016

Few do post-truth politics better than the Beeb

"There is no plan for Brexit, leaked memo says", declared the BBC yesterday, following the front page story in the Times. Both somehow failed to mention that the memo was written by consultants with no access to Number 10. Post-truth politics, anyone?

The real story was that Deloitte issued a report saying the government needed 30,000 more people for the Brexit negotiations – many of whom could no doubt have been recruited via outsourcing to Deloitte. It wasn't news – it was a sales pitch.

Of course, it also isn't news that pro-Remain media can't tell the difference between analysis and lobbying. During the referendum campaign, they consistently presented Project Fear propaganda as fact – without ever mentioning that many of the prophets of doom had a vested interest in the Brussels gravy train.

But this particular piece of shoddy journalism does raise a more fundamental question of trust – especially in the BBC.

Since the US election, the BBC has been talking about the role of 'fake news' stories on Facebook in building support for Donald Trump. Perhaps it should be looking closer to home?

Admittedly, there is a big difference between the BBC and Facebook. Unlike the BBC, Facebook isn't bound by a charter that mandates it to keep content politically impartial – or funded by a tax on television sets.

There's a reason established outfits are losing market share to new media on the web. It's not because the new outlets are necessarily seen as any more reliable. It's that readers are sick of supposedly respectable sources like the BBC packaging their own prejudices as news.

The Beeb probably thought it was skewering the government yesterday. Instead, it has only damaged its own reputation. If BBC bosses want to save it from obsolescence, maybe they should stop peddling propaganda, and stick to their remit.

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