Lies, damned lies and news coverage

Who, I wonder, is the biggest liar? Is it the “Government spokesperson” who creates a fabrication to cover the humiliation of their boss? Or is it the media commentator who, knowing the truth, chooses to go along with, and repeat as “fact” the fabrication and in so doing deliberately deceives millions of viewers or listeners?

I was watching the recent utter and total humiliation of the current occupant of the job of UK Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, at the hands of Russia’s Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov, in case you had forgotten, dismissed Truss as “like talking to a deaf person”. Given that he has been a major figure on the world stage for many years now, and that we are in the midst of a major international crisis, that’s a stinging rebuke. But I heard one commentator try to fob it off as “a rite of passage” for any new Foreign Secretary, as though Lavrov dismisses everyone like that. Now, just sticking to UK politics, I cannot think of any previous Foreign Secretary who has been dismissed in such a way. If they have, the media have certainly not been forthright in reporting it and given the generally partisan nature of the UK media, if the Mail or Express weren’t reporting such comments, the Mirror and Record certainly would!

Can you imagine that kind of abusive language being used about Anthony Blinken of the US or Germany’s Annalena Baerbock or Olaf Schulz who have just taken office? When Boris Johnson gets a reported 45 minutes with Putin but Emmanuel Macron gets 5 hours it tells you who matters and how much. But still, the UK media peddle the line that the blond buffoon is leading the international response. 

The UK isn’t even in the room when the decisions are being taken far less leading them and that’s a major change which is down to one simple fact. No-one trusts them to either be prepared or to keep their word.

This is a circumstance which is not just due to withdrawing from the EU, although that has certainly diminished the UK’s standing in the world, it’s the constant failure to prepare for meetings, ignore your experts and enter into agreements you don’t understand. And then, as in the NI Protocol, whine like a child when the reality comes crashing into your dreamland. 

I was recently given a copy of Peter Oborne’s excellent little book “The Assault on Truth” and I heartily recommend it. He writes in considerable detail how the brexiteers lied their way to victory and to Number 10. Oborne provides the details of not only the lies but lays out how the media had the truth handed to them on a plate but refused to pursue it and in so doing aided and abetted them.

It’s a moot question who is the biggest liar. What’s abundantly clear is that we are all losers as they play their games.