British politician and broadcaster Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, stood beside a fishing boat and spoke directly into a camera. He suggested that the French navy helped illegal migrants enter British waters. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Farage’s video garnered 250,000 views on YouTube and went out to his 1.5 million Twitter followers. As Helen Lewis writes in The Atlantic, the activist political right has recognized and eagerly exploited this kind of “Potemkin journalism” since 2009. Such stories misuse social media and perpetuate people’s distrust of authority and of the mainstream media. Such misleading broadsides have one primary purpose: to sow doubt.
About the Author
Helen Lewis, former deputy editor of the New Statesman, is the author of Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights.
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