Torygraph sensationalism about John Bercow’s Reading comments: Fake news?

[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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2 thoughts on “Torygraph sensationalism about John Bercow’s Reading comments: Fake news?

  1. NMac

    The “Torygraph” is little better than the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Express. It is a tabloid disguised as a respectable broadsheet, which plays into the hands of hard-line Tories by feeding them political propaganda which panders to their prejudices.

  2. Zippi

    Is this really our affair? He is the Speaker of the House of Commons. Surely, it is up to the members of the House, to scrutinise his behaviour and see whether, or not, he has fallen short of the standards that are required of him. As far it is being so-called “fake news” (remember £everson?) I don’t see it. Surely, the issue is whether, or not he has upheld his duty of impartiality etc. according to the standards required of him by the House as laid out in the rules. I will not not stand in judgement of him, for I know not the rules and am not in a position to exercise any judgement should I know them, nor, as far as I am aware, is any other member of the public. If Mr. Bercow knew what he was doing, he should be able to defend himself adequately, if, indeed, he needs to.

Comments are closed.