Exposed: The 9 Foundational Lies of GB News

GB News launched on Sunday 13th June with a declaration of intent from chairman and lead presenter Andrew Neil. Among other things, Neil proclaimed that the channel would give “voice to those who have felt sidelined or even silenced in our great national debates” and would cover “the people’s agenda.”

Neil has since taken a break from the channel, admitting to a “rocky start” (some of the funniest gaffes and technical mix-ups from the first few weeks are documented here), but GB News ploughs on – now with less taking the knee and more Nigel Farage!

As the mask slips further, revealing something that looks more and more like Fox News, we revisit Andrew Neil’s opening speech and pick apart the contradictions.

FALSEHOOD 1: “Welcome to the launch of GB News, Britain’s news channel…”

Andrew Neil at his French chateau

The best place to start any analysis of an organisation is its economic base. Does the funding model for GB News tally with the channel’s claim that it’s British and will focus on the concerns of the British people?

This seems somewhat unlikely when the two main funders are mega-rich New Zealand and US businessmen.

“The chairman and a founding partner of Legatum, the investment firm that stumped up some £20m to become co-lead investor in GB News, is the New Zealand-born, Dubai-based Christopher Chandler” according to The Guardian.

The Guardian also point out that “US media group Discovery Inc is the other co-lead investor. Its significant shareholder is John Malone, the libertarian and erstwhile Murdoch cable rival”.

Still, at least ONE major investor is British: businessman Sir Paul Marshall.

According to Byline Times, Marshall is the man who convinced Michael Gove to throw his political weight behind Brexit. His hedge fund “successfully bet on the ensuing political and economic chaos after its initial big wins on Brexit.”

Perhaps Marshall threw his financial weight behind Brexit because he’s so patriotic! If so, why did he “(set) up a fund in Dublin to avoid the impact of crashing out of the EU”?

Andrew Neil is as British as they come, you may think – until you read this Independent column about his French chateau. “I get out of London as much as possible when Parliament is not sitting” Neil boasts, “I either come here or go to New York”.

Where does he go in New York? Neil owns a New York apartment, purchased for $3.2 million dollars.

And that’s not even the worst of it: the apartment is in Trump Tower.

Neil, it seems, like the other big players in GB News, is a multi-millionaire globe-trotter with an affinity for ostentatious, Trumpian wealth.

Which brings us to…

FALSEHOOD 2 – “dedicated to covering the news that matters to you”

The three primary funders of GB News are ruthless, neoliberal businessmen.

Two are non-Brits with little apparent connection to the country outside of business interests.

The third funder is such a “patriot” he pushed for a disastrous Brexit while using EU loopholes to insure himself against the consequences.

Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky’s propaganda model (explained here) highlights the impact of ownership on news output. The model is supported by an abundance of evidence.

We would suggest to you that the economic base of GB News is in direct contradiction of its stated aims. Rather than being in step with the ordinary man, the funders are wealthy libertarians who play the markets and reap the rewards of deregulated capitalism. Their concerns cannot be said to be the same as those of ordinary Brits.

FALSEHOOD 3 – “giving a voice to those who have felt sidelined or even silenced in our great national debates”

Claire Fox: Someone you wanted to see MORE of?

Guests on GB News in its first week included:

Claire Fox

Darren Grimes

Alan Sugar

Michael Portillo

Nigel Farage

Need we say more? The core of GB News guests are so “sidelined” they’re on TV practically every day. Or in the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Express, Spectator, Talk Radio, LBC, The Sun, the BBC…

FALSEHOOD 4 – “We are committed to covering the people’s agenda. Not the media’s agenda”

Will the “people’s agenda” to nationalise key industries be promoted by neoliberal-funded GB News?

What is “the people’s agenda”? Politicians and the media always talk about “what the public want” or “what people want” but how do they know? Is there any objective way to study this?

Public opinion polls are perhaps the closest to an objective measure and are regularly studied by organisations like YouGov.

Polls like the one featured above continually show that a majority of the public think Royal Mail, trains and utilities should be nationalised. The findings are all the more remarkable since you’ll struggle to find ANY pundit on ANY mainstream media outlet who argues for nationalisation. The corporate media, as you’d expect, continually propagandise for privatisation and the private profit it generates.

Is this the only issue on which the public view differs from the elite views that dominate politics and the media?

Check out this opinion poll on nuclear weapons. It highlights that a majority of the public think “on the whole nuclear weapons make the world a more dangerous place by increasing the chance that any war involving nuclear-armed countries may escalate into a nuclear war.”

This seems like a sane and rational view, but how many mainstream newspaper columnists opposed the renewal of Trident? Can you think of any? Not so long ago the media mocked Jeremy Corbyn for his pacifism and claimed that he was a “threat to Britain” because he opposed nuclear weapons.

So will GB News buck the trend and strongly argue for nationalisation of trains and public utilities? Will they argue AGAINST nuclear weapons and their renewal?

You know as well as we do that they won’t – therefore they will not be covering the people’s agenda, but an elite agenda…

FALSEHOOD 5 – “GB News will not be yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media”

Metropolitan elite, moi?
Andrew Neil, the anti-establishment non-metropolitan elitist sharing chummy drinks with ex-PM Theresa May, ex-PM David Cameron and current PM Boris Johnson (at the totally non-metropolitan elite Spectator Garden Party)

FALSEHOOD 6 – “We will puncture the pomposity of our elites in politics, business, media and academia”

Firstly, as we’ve already shown, GB News are the elite. Andrew Neil is a multimillionaire who is chummy with PMs, Rupert Murdoch and lives a metropolitan lifestyle.

No doubt the channel will try to pull down those who argue for redistribution of wealth and other left-wing agendas, but will they “puncture the pomposity” of political elites next time they claim benevolent Western intervention is required in a resource-rich country?

Will they puncture the pomposity of businesses and billionaires who accrue more and more power and wealth (including those who, um fund them)?

Not judging by their employee list, which consists, almost exclusively, of rabid right-wingers.

Andrew Neil made his name as Rupert Murdoch’s lackey at the Sunday Times. As editor he boasted that “Thatcher’s battles were our battles” and was, according to Nick Davies, “a delirious sacker. He dumped so many people for being leftish.”

“Notoriously,” Davies continues (in his book Flat Earth News) “(Neil) refused to accept the consensus view of Aids, promoting the idea that this was a disease of gay men and drug addicts, attacking official advice that heterosexuals too were at risk” 

Neil’s personal opinions also include cheerleading for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

He called opponents of the first “wimps with no will to fight” and, remarkably, praised Bush and Blair’s muddled, truth-twisting attempts to justify the Iraq war, echoing even the most absurd claims of nuclear weapons and ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Queda.

“The suburbs of Baghdad are now dotted with secret installations, often posing as hospitals or schools, developing missile fuel, bodies and guidance systems, chemical and biological warheads and, most sinister of all, a renewed attempt to develop nuclear weapons…” wrote Neil in The Scotsman.

Who else is on board the fledgling ship GB News? Press Gazette provide a handy summary of the first staff members to sign up:

“Chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos, a former boss of Sky News Australia

Rebecca Hutson who is joining as head of digital. The former Mail Online director of video will also appear on-air”

Lucinda Duckett has been named director of corporate affairs and editorial advocacy. Duckett most notably spent 13 years at News Corp Australia

John McAndrew, “a former director of content at Sky News…named director of news and programmes”

A headline early recruit for GB News was New Zealand-born journalist Dan Wootton. Wooton left Murdoch’s Sun to join GB News. Simultaneously, he took up a position as a columnist with the Mail on Sunday

Can you see an emerging pattern?

We suppose it’s possible that a TV channel staffed by ex-Murdoch, News Corp and Daily Mail right-wingers will determinedly try to “puncture the pomposity” of right-wing billionaires, Western neo-colonialism and their nationalist narratives.

Actually, no, we don’t.

FALSEHOOD 7 – “And if you want fake news, lies, disinformation, distortion of the facts, conspiracy theories — then GB News is not for you”

This one lasted barely an hour beyond the GB News launch. Till Dan Wootton went on air…

Falsehood 8:  “expose (the) growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is”

Guto Harri takes the knee – as a result of this action he was cancelled by GB News

This claim was blown apart spectacularly when Welsh presenter Guto Harri expressed solidarity with English footballers who’d been racially abused by taking the knee.

Harri, in his resignation letter to GB News, noted that the channel initially “proudly cascaded” his gesture through social media.

However, when viewing figures briefly dropped to zero as “culture warriors” raged against the mild anti-racist gesture, the channel backtracked and contradicted themselves in the bizarre tweets below:

A journalist utilising free expression to make an anti-racist gesture is “an unacceptable breach of standards” (despite the lack of “a company line on taking the knee”)?

Harri called this exactly what it is. He accused the channel of becoming an “absurd parody…Rather than defending free speech and confronting cancel culture, [GB News] has set out to replicate it on the far right”.

Wish you’d spoken to us before you signed up Guto. We could have told you that!

FALSEHOOD 9 – “A much wider variety of voices than you currently hear in broadcasting”

So far as we are aware GB News is THE ONLY NEWS CHANNEL that explicitly subscribes to a specific perspective – “anti-woke”.

The channel runs a daily “Woke Watch” segment and Neil and other presenters have spoken of taking on “woke” culture as an aim of the channel.

By definition, GB News will therefore provide LESS variety of voices than any other news channel – proven to overwhelming effect by the cancellation of one of their own presenters for making one “woke” gesture.

Conclusion: Time to “Woke” Up?

Overuse of words can use to a loss of meaning. Few words have been abused as much in the past few years as “woke”. It has become the go to slur of GB News and the plethora of right-wing media outlets and think-tanks that pump out propaganda on behalf of billionaires. It has even penetrated to the “impartial” centre, with BBC chief Tim Davie instructing employees to avoid “virtue signalling”.

We should never lose sight of what “woke” actually means.

For all its falsehoods, when GB News tells the truth it damages itself the most.

A channel set up with the specific aim of ridiculing and countering people who are “alert to injustice and discrimination, especially racism”?

That is GB News – and that is why it must fail.

If you enjoyed this article please let us know in the comments below. You can also subscribe to our mailing list and receive a monthly Free Press update direct to your mailbox!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list. You can unsubcribe by clicking the link in any Free Press e-mail

16 thoughts on “Exposed: The 9 Foundational Lies of GB News

  1. A wonderful exposure of GB News. I saw the front page of it and thought ‘Haven’t I seen this before?’ No different from the millionaire press, no support for the homeless, jobless, those who beg on the streets, pensioners. Indeed the same gutter press which decides elections

    Like

  2. Some decent points, but the one about nuclear weapons seems a bit stretched / twisted to fit your argument.

    I’m sure you are capable of reading up on the latest YouGov polls, and will find the one where it is clear that Britons want the current Trident system, when it needs to be replaced, to be replaced with a nuclear deterrent that is equally powerful.

    In fact, since your article is designed to tear apart false claims, you need to hold yourself to a very high standard. So I’ll be more blunt: Your article contains something which is not stretched / twisted, but is outright wrong and misleading.

    I’m sure you’ll publish this comment, shortly before or after correcting your article. Because you don’t want to mislead people, do you? I mean, a political agenda will never trump truth, right?

    To be clear where I’m coming from: I don’t associated with either “left” or “right” politics. I’m just sick and tired of people with agendas happily cherry-picking the “information” that suits them, and happily twisting things to mislead others.

    Like

    1. Hi Adam

      All comments on our site are immediately posted, we don’t filter them

      We source the claim that we made re nuclear weapons. It is, therefore, simply incorrect for you to say that the claim is “outright wrong and misleading.” It is equally bizarre that you accuse us of “cherry-picking” a poll when you demand that we replace it with a single poll we could equally say that you “cherry-pick”!

      To settle upon “the truth” of this issue someone would have to survey a wide range of opinion polls on nuclear weapons over a long period of time. Noam Chomsky has often commented that polls of this nature in the West show consistent public support for nuclear disarmament, which seems rational given the horror any use of nuclear weapons would unleash.

      Even IF the evidence was the opposite to Chomsky’s claims and only a minority (say 10%) of the population opposed nuclear weapons, that would still pose a huge challenge to GB News and the rest of the right-wing media – because 100% of their journalists and commentators support nuclear weapons! There is next to no meaningful debate in the corporate media about nuclear weapons, it is one of the key shared assumptions that, when analysed, show that we do not have a “free press”.

      Thanks for your comment

      Like

      1. A concise and reasonable reply so well done. You really would think nuclear weapons would be at the top of the list of major Gov’t spending to be debated given our current circumstances wouldn’t you? Not a bit of it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Where exactly did I demand that you replace your cited poll with my one? Please re-read my comment.

        Let me explain what I mean by “twisting”: You cite a poll which suggests a lot of people think nuclear weapons make the world a more dangerous place, and unjustifiably infer from that that most people are in favour of nuclear disarmament. That is clearly a non-sequitur.

        Further, the exact same polling organisation finds that most people DO NOT want to get rid of Trident, but instead want to replace it with something equally powerful.

        Surely you must admit, you are twisting things?

        I am cherry-picking nothing. I have not denied that your cited poll did indeed happen. I have not, in spite of your claim, asked you to replace it with the one I cited. I have not even suggested that you remove your cited poll. Nor add my one.

        All I am asking you to do, is to be rational, and to make good efforts to not be misleading, especially in an article in which you seek to dismantle other’s attempts to be misleading.

        I am sorry to say, that the combination of your article, and your response to my comment, are not encouraging in this regard.

        And as for the rest of your comment, what Noam Chomsky says is besides the point. My comment refers to the article you wrote. If you want to have a more broad debate about nuclear disarmament then fine, but is a comment section the best pace for it? Your expansion of the debate does not address what I wrote in my comment.

        I believe my comment was fair and accurate. Your reply to it has 1) misrepresented it, and 2) gone off at a tangent.

        Like

  3. Absolutely 33luthier! The fact that cuts to public services (which impact the poor) are always deemed “painful but necessary” by right-wing journos, whereas cuts to military/nuclear spending (which help project Western corporate power) are never even considered, tells us all we need to know about their priorities and which sector of society they represent.

    Like

  4. Hi Adam

    We feel we addressed the points you made. Specifically, you accused us of misleading and twisting in the below passage:

    “Check out this opinion poll on nuclear weapons. It highlights that a majority of the public think “on the whole nuclear weapons make the world a more dangerous place by increasing the chance that any war involving nuclear-armed countries may escalate into a nuclear war.”

    “This seems like a sane and rational view, but how many mainstream newspaper columnists opposed the renewal of Trident? Can you think of any? Not so long ago the media mocked Jeremy Corbyn for his pacifism and claimed that he was a “threat to Britain” because he opposed nuclear weapons”

    Since the poll we use is linked to and directly quoted, we simply do not accept that we have misled or twisted anything. We would argue that you CAN and SHOULD infer the public have doubts about nuclear weapons and the renewal of such systems based on this poll. It’s certainly a stretch to call this a “non-sequitur”. Obviously you feel differently, which is fine, but we are happy that we have justified the area of our article you object to.

    All the best

    Like

    1. The point you were clearly trying to make in your article, as evidenced by the line you missed out in your previous comment – “Will they argue AGAINST nuclear weapons and their renewal?” – was that, if GB News fails to argue against the renewal of nuclear weapons, then they are not representing the country’s views.

      And to back up your assertion, you cited a poll that did not ask the public whether they wanted our nuclear deterrent renewed, and failed to cite a poll where that was the exact question asked.

      If you wanted to actually accept the reality of what people think, and you believe that opinion polls can give us some insight into that, then the combination of the poll you cited, plus the one I mentioned, can only be rationally interpreted as: people wish nuclear weapons didn’t exist, but since other countries have them, we want to keep ours as a deterrent.

      Plot twist: although my original comment has nothing to do with arguments over nuclear weapons – it was entirely about your journalistic integrity and whether or not you have a moral leg to stand on when attacking others for being misleading – maybe I have done more to fight for nuclear disarmament than you. Maybe I feel more strongly about it than you. Maybe that’s why I’m trying to get you to raise your standards – because I feel you are letting the side down. You cannot hope to change the world and the opinions of people in it, unless you first accept the reality of what their opinions currently are.

      Either way, I am sorry to say that, in spite of the tone of your article, if I had to choose whether to trust in what GB News tells me, and what you tell me, I’d trust neither of you, based on this article.

      I am sorry that you are satisfied with it.

      Like

  5. You’re entitled to your view Adam. Readers of the article and the comments can form their own conclusions, based on the passage in question and our exchanges.

    All the best

    Like

    1. I appreciate your honesty in publishing all comments, but your insistence on maintaining the argument that ‘the British people want to scrap our nuclear deterrent’ is troubling. I’m not going to keep at this, as you say, people can come to their own conclusions. But I’ll just finish with a thought experiment that you may wish to try.

      Imagine you make an appearance on GB News, and tell them that they should be arguing for the scrapping of our nuclear deterrent, because that’s what the British people want, and you know this, because a poll suggests people believe that nuclear weapons make the world dangerous.

      Then GB News say that yes, clearly nuclear weapons are dangerous, but when you actually ask people whether they want to keep our deterrent, the answer is loud and clear: yes, they want to keep it.

      And you reply with “I don’t care about that poll. I’m telling you that because people think these weapons are dangerous, it is the majority opinion in this country that we should get rid of our deterrent.”

      How, exactly, do you think you would come across? As a hero who is fighting for what the people want? Or as someone who is simply fighting for what YOU want, and is happy to have something forced on people when they’ve made it clear they don’t want it. And further, as someone who TELLS people that that’s what they wanted, even when they didn’t. Does that come across as heroic, or bullying and deceptive?

      Who would come out of the interview on top regarding moral authority, or just plain journalistic integrity – you or GB News?

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s