Michael Gove – a politician best-known for making a series of nonsense claims about Brexit and then stabbing Boris Johnson in the back – got exactly what he deserved when he claimed that the social media were peddling “fake news” about the Tory government’s attitude to animal welfare.
The government recently rejected an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would have transferred the EU’s protocol on animal sentience – basically an acceptance that animals experience feelings – into UK law. The claim was that animal sentience is already recognised.
Here’s the BBC report:
“Michael Gove has hit out at the way social media “corrupts and distorts” political reporting and decision making following a row about animal welfare.
“The environment secretary said attacks on MPs over a vote on an EU protocol about “animal sentience” had been “absolutely wrong”.
“The Commons vote sparked protests and a celebrity-backed social media campaign.”
Mr Gove stated, on the BBC’s Today programme:
"We have to stand up for the way social media corrupts and distorts reporting and decision-making."
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) November 24, 2017
He said: “On social media there was a suggestion that somehow the MPs had voted against the principle that animals are sentient beings, that did not happen, that is absolutely wrong.”
“There is an unhappy tendency now for people to believe that the raw and authentic voice of what’s shared on social media is more reliable than what is said in Hansard or on the BBC.
“More than that there is a particular concern somehow, a belief somehow that outside the European Union our democratic institutions can’t do better than we did in the EU. We’ve got to challenge both those points.”
His claim that the social media aren’t accurate has provoked a strong response from those who remember some of Mr Gove’s own howlers – especially with regard to the EU referendum, without which the debate over animal sentience would not have happened:
Interesting to hear Michael Gove complaining about the distortions of social media. £350m? Turkey? EU army? #R4Today.
— Craig Oliver (@CraigOliver100) November 24, 2017
— Josh Kaile (@JDKaile) November 24, 2017
— Surrey Scoop (@SurreyScoopUK) November 24, 2017
CAMPAIGN: Michael Gove slams rumour that he had a big red bus with a massive lie painted on it as an example of ‘distorted reporting’ on social media.
— The DM Reporter (@DMReporter) November 24, 2017
Michael Gove says social media distort news. Michael Gove, who lied and lied about Brexit.
— Norman Lebrecht (@NLebrecht) November 24, 2017
Michael Gove, whose wife spews out a column for the Daily Mail, thinks social media distorts politics. Michael Gove thinks social media the problem. Michael Gove.
— Paul (@PaulOnBooks) November 24, 2017
Oh yes. Let’s all remember that Mr Gove’s wife is Daily Mail ‘journalist’ Sarah Vine.
Ms Vine infamously wrote an article claiming that Theresa May had an advantage over Nicola Sturgeon in a meeting with the Scottish First Minister because Mrs May had better legs.
She also produced a piece after her husband made an unacceptable “rape joke” – again on the Today programme – belittling concerns about sex scandals in Westminster as “hysterical” and a “witch hunt”. Many MPs have since resigned or been suspended as revelation after revelation became public knowledge.
All things considered, it was only a matter of time before somebody made the obvious connect – and it was Lily Allen:
Is that a *mic drop* moment?
This response is fantastic, too:
I'm starting to question whether Michael Gove is sentient or feels any pain.
— Barbarossa Smith ✨ (@barbarossa69) November 24, 2017
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