Don Basilio, a Hero for our Times
Thursday October 27, 2022
‘Russian spy among the guest lecturers of a Budapest elite college? ’The question mark at the end of this headline above a recent article in an English-language Hungarian media outlet, Daily News Hungary, is an excellent example of the vigorous dishonesty practiced by journalists around the world, both in major national newspapers, including Dutch ones, as well as in minor media like this Hungarian one. Gideon van Meijeren caught a mendacious Dutch journalist red-handed this week but they are the same all over the world.
The question mark in the headline illustrates the dishonesty. It is nothing but an attempt to say something while denying that you are saying it. Right at the end of the piece, with breathtaking chutzpah, the journalist writes, ‘Of course, all the above written does not support he (Laughland) was ever a Russian spy.’ But of course that is the whole thrust of the text, otherwise the headline would have been ‘Innocent academic wrongly questioned by British police. ’You have to get to the end of the article to read this miserable disclaimer, whereas the intent of the text is to make the reader see the headline (while overlooking the question mark).
Ever since I started working at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in 2008, and long before the concept of ‘fake news’ became common (around 2016) I observed the industrial production of fake news at close quarters because it concerned me personally. Whether the journalists contacted me or not, it made no difference: they always wrote the same story - that IDC was a front organisation for the Kremlin. The accusation was always more interesting than the truth, even though the accusation was always identical. In the last 15 years, the so-called ‘news’ has not progressed one jot.