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Fake news: spot the deliberate mistakes

August 5, 2018

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website –

I don’t get to see much fake news on Twitter, apart from the output of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and a few others I’ve opted to follow for their entertainment value. Or at least, not directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

But occasionally someone retweets without comment a post so pernicious that it’s hard to tell whether the originator actually believes what they’re propagating or has a keen sense of humour.

I offer this little gem, which I stumbled upon yesterday, as an example:

The suggestion that the wise, gentle David Attenborough would have authored this tirade is so absurd that I snorted with laughter when I first read it.

I’ve no idea where the words come from, but apart from picking out the absurdities – of which the worst is the idea that Britain’s beloved national treasure would claim that calling Israel’s enemies terrorists was worse than injecting them with pathogens and harvesting their organs – it’s worth taking a look at the route whereby this billet doux came to me.

The originator is someone whose profile is thus:

He (his profile photo is that of a male, but then again you can never be sure on Twitter) has more than three thousand followers.

The person whom I follow, who retweeted, is a columnist from Saudi Arabia whose output I often read when I was working there. His articles showed him to be an advocate of free speech and relatively liberal values in a country which locks people up if they stray beyond invisible red lines.

Here’s his profile:

He has over three thousand followers.

He and his brother, who is also a well-regarded journalist, share a deep disapproval of Israel, which is presumably why he retweeted the post.

Does he or the other guy actually believe that David Attenborough, whatever his private views, would utter such words in public? And do they also believe, as is implied, that, at 92, he is likely to be a member of parliament, unless of course MP means something entirely different?

Do they care? Or are they just having a laugh?

Either way, I wonder if their aggregated total of six thousand followers, as well as others who in turn retweeted and liked the post, would be able to tell the difference, or whether Attenborough himself would share their sense of humour. He might take the view that the tweet was grossly libellous. It is, after all, a very serious subject.

I’m sharing this stuff not because I’m an advocate of the State of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians, but out of a sense of amazement that people could be so carefree with the reputation of a person who has dedicated his life to the preservation of our planet in all its glories.

Yes, we, humanity, are “worst than animals”, because in combating what we see as injustice, we so often do unjust things.

And on Twitter, to do an injustice only takes a few minutes.


From → Media, Social, UK

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