Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Coping with the truth


This week’s story about Boris Johnson’s alleged weekend trip to Italy turns out to be fake news. It seems that a PR person at the airport simply got a bit confused between Boris Johnson and Tony Blair. Easily done, I suppose, although not exactly something which is likely to make either of them feel flattered. The story rapidly gained currency, partly because it came from what appeared to be a reputable source, namely the airport’s PR office. It was also entirely believable that Johnson would just go off for a weekend in the middle of a crisis, and that he would lie about it afterwards.  After months of non-stop lies, Downing Street’s immediate denial probably did more to boost the story’s credibility than to undermine it. I suspect that an awful lot of people in some sense wanted to believe it, anyway – as a sort of confirmation of their view of the man’s character, unreliability, and dishonesty.

Today’s shock headlines should really read “Downing Street caught out telling the truth”; that’s surely the most newsworthy part of the story. How will he ever live it down?

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