In this week’s Spectator, I’ve written about the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), the BBC-led consortium that’s trying to cleanse the internet of mis- and disinformation, i.e., an attempt by legacy news media companies to smear independent news publishers as ‘unreliable’ in an effort to stem the exodus of their viewers and readers. As noted by the Daily Sceptic earlier this year, the TNI is embroiled in an antitrust lawsuit with various independent news publishers in the U.S. which is now due to be heard in the District of Columbia. Here’s an extract:
I won’t comment on the merits of the lawsuit, but in the ongoing, titanic struggle between the mainstream media and alt-media, the former has taken quite a beating in the past week or so. I’m thinking of the reputational damage suffered by the BBC and its TNI partners due to their reporting of the explosion at the al-Ahli hospital. Within minutes, they faithfully regurgitated the propaganda of Gaza’s Ministry of Health that the hospital had been razed by an Israeli airstrike, killing several hundred civilians. This, in spite of the fact that the Ministry of Health is run by Hamas.
“The Israeli military has been contacted for comment,” said the BBC’s Jon Donnison in his report from Jerusalem. “But it is hard to see what else this could be, really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli airstrike.” Reuters took the same line, posting on Twitter: “BREAKING: An Israeli air strike killed hundreds of Palestinians at a Gaza City hospital crammed with patients and displaced people, health authorities in the besieged enclave said.” …
We now have good grounds for thinking almost every detail of these reports [as well as the reports of AP, the Washington Post and the New York Times] was wrong. …
In other words, the Gaza hospital story was a textbook example of passing on disinformation: false information intended to mislead.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Official figures show the BBC Today programme has lost around 375,000 weekday listeners since October last year. The Telegraph has more.