How does the Telegraph treat Navalny?

Usually I comment on the misinformation in the Guardian and Independent about Russia. But I strayed today over to the Telegraph. In this article there are some ‘points of misinformation’ but overall this is much better reporting that in the the Guardian and Independent – where extreme confirmation bias leads to a fake narrative. Comments:

The closest the activist came to an elected position was in 2013, when he stood for mayor of Moscow against Kremlin-backed candidate Sergei Sobyanin, scoring around 30 percent in a vote he said was tainted by fraud

This of course isn’t a lie. It could be said to be straight reporting. On the other hand; of course Navalny says that the election he lost was “tainted by fraud”. It is part of his strategy to do this. And it seems to be part of the format of liberal reporting to always give the point of view and explanations of the Navalny camp and to take them at face value. In reality it may well be that Navalny simply didn’t have enough support in Moscow. The idea in always repeating these ‘claims’ is of course to keep Navalny’s campaign alive. (The independently owned magazine ‘Morning’ published an article with multiple political observers saying that the elections were unusually fair [1]).

Five years later he attempted to run against Mr Putin for the presidency but was kept off the ballot paper because of a controversial conviction for embezzlement. Authorities have since resurrected that charge and are using it as the basis for his current detention.

This is not true. “Authorities” have not “resurrected” an old charge. Navalny’s probation for that conviction has been extended – before the current poisoning incident and apparently in line with Russian law. [2]

Continue reading “How does the Telegraph treat Navalny?”

Praise for our dear leader

More and more like North Korea everyday. The Prime Minister (still at the helm despite tens of thousands of totally avoidable deaths during the pandemic) has penned an “open letter” to “parents”. The Guardian in full-on sycophantic mode prints this particular PR stunt (designed to distract from the government’s disastrous handling of the epidemic) without any attempt to criticise it, in effect acting as the Prime Minister’s personal broadcaster. Oh well. Such is life in modern Britain.

Vaccine propaganda

The liberal press (at least the Guardian and the Independent) have been running a campaign of official misinformation about coronavirus vaccines in the UK.

  1. Both papers have routinely been referring to the millions of people who have been vaccinated in the UK. At times they repeat government lies without criticism as in this example. At times they incorporate the faked claims about the numbers “vaccinated” directly as in this Guardian editorial. This is government misinformation. The vast majority of the people included in these figures have received the first shot of a two dose vaccination. They therefore cannot be said to have been “vaccinated”. Period. In the case of the Pfizer vaccine the second dose has been postponed by many weeks – in an untested and rogue deviation from the manufacturer’s tested regime and against the advice of the WHO and BMA. The efficacy of a single shot of Pfizer after 3 weeks was not part of the Stage 3 trials. No one actually knows what efficacy a single shot might have though initial data from Israel is not encouraging. [1] These people have not by any stretched of the imagination been “vaccinated”. We would expect the government to lie. It is disturbing to see the media acting much as say Chinese state media does – echoing the official line even if the line is 2+2=5. (Or half a vaccine = a whole vaccine).
  2. Recently a report emerged in the German press that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is ineffective in older people. This is consistent with the results of the stage 3 trials for this vaccine which showed 62% in one group and 90% in a second. [2] At the time of release the producers tried to spin a story that the higher result was due to an unexpected and “serendipitous” event – one of the doses had been lower and in some kind of supposed miracle a lower dose leads to higher efficacy. [3] It subsequently turned out that that the group with the higher efficacy result had excluded people over 55 – a rather more prosaic and likely explanation. [4] The Guardian story which refers to the German media reports has the headline: “Why experts say there is no basis to claims in Germany about efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine”. Very interestingly the article carries the footnote: “This article was amended on 26 January 2021. A previous headline did not sufficiently convey the conclusions of the article and, if read without the context of the text, had the potential to be misunderstood”. It looks like someone (the government? AstraZeneca?) had been onto them and told them to bury the story. However news today is that the German regulator has specifically said they cannot recommend using the vaccine on people aged over 64. [5] Presumably the Robert Koch Institute in Germany can be considered “expert”. The story in the German press which the Guardian tried to shoot down on someone’s instructions turns out to be true. The Guardian does publish this new information (you could hardly hide it) but I don’t see them admitting their former mistake anywhere.

In both cases the media is producing vaccine propaganda. The danger of this approach is that people will suss it and this will undermine credibility in the vaccines – which obviously do have value even if not (in the case of AstraZeneca) the value the authors claim for it. Essentially this vaccine propaganda has about as much respect for truth as the messages of the “anti-vaxxers”.

Notes

  1. https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n217
  2. https://www.devex.com/news/the-oxford-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-shows-62-to-90-efficacy-98613
  3. https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-astrazeneca-dosing-in-idUSKBN28329M
  4. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32623-4/fulltext
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/28/germany-recommends-oxford-astrazeneca-covid-vaccine-not-used-over-65s

Sick lies from sick people

Boris Johnson on the UK’s Covid death toll (one of the highest per capita in the world):

“What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering.” [1]

Amnesty International on just the case of deaths in care homes in the first wave:

“totally avoidable” and “monumental scandal”.

One of them is lying their head off.

Also one of them is connected to a small group of people who have received large (massive) and lucrative contracts as a result of UK gov. ‘efforts’ to ‘minimise suffering’.

Guess which one is lying.

These people have taken cynicism and greed and lying to levels that even a hardened cynic like me could never have believed possible.

Notes

  1. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-britain-johnson-ev/uk-pm-johnson-we-did-everything-we-could-to-minimise-covid-loss-of-life-idUSKBN29V24T?il=0
  2. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/10/uk-older-people-in-care-homes-abandoned-to-die-amid-government-failures-during-covid-19-pandemic/