[Image: Julian Mason/Flickr.]

This Site did not really touch on the Telegraph‘s spin when I reported the claims about Mr Bercow’s appearance at the University of Reading. I didn’t see the point; there was nothing in his words to suggest any wrongdoing.

So now I think we should be grateful to Dr Mark Shanahan, lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the university, for providing details of the exact circumstances in which Mr Bercow made his statements.

The main point has to be that it is nonsense for the Telegraph to claim that Mr Bercow’s comments had “emerged” or been “obtained” by its reporters, as they had been in the public domain for more than a week before the newspaper published its story.

So it seems the Telegraph has created a fake story claiming inappropriate comments were made by Mr Bercow (that were not inappropriate at all) in circumstances that were hidden from the public and had to be unearthed (when the information was available on YouTube for all to see).

But is the damage done? Is a false claim, backed with false evidence, enough to convince a gullible public?

Here’s the YouTube video of the Bercow Q&A session:

The attention on Mr Bercow is based on a one-minute clip of a 90-minute Q&A, which was streamed live on Facebook and published openly on YouTube – rather more mundane than the language used in some stories, which variously described the footage as having ‘emerged’, or been ‘seen’ or ‘obtained’ by the Telegraph.

The event was public, the Speaker was aware it was being filmed, and video had been publicly available on Facebook for more than a week (and on YouTube for three days) before the story broke.

Mr Bercow had agreed to us both filming the event and streaming it live on the internet via Facebook. In the event, almost 3,000 people watched a lively 90-minute session, punctuated by probing questions from members of the 200-strong audience, and detailed and heartfelt answers from our guest.

Anyone watching would have left the room (or switched off their computer or phone) knowing the speaker’s views on Brexit, on Trump, on the media and many aspects of Parliament.

Reading politics students are now getting a lesson in what political opponents can do when a University guest becomes a political target.

Source: The truth about John Bercow’s comments at the University of Reading

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