Northern Ireland is being subjected to yet more Remain propaganda

Northern Ireland is being subjected to yet more Remain propaganda

There is, for the most part, a dearth of pro-Brexit media outlets in Northern Ireland. With this in mind, many people may have been encouraged to see the recent headline on the award-winning website The Detail , which screamedThe Detail launches major new project on Brexit‘.

The article tells us that the project is funded, to the tune of €400,000, through the Google Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund. This fund was set up in October 2015 and is described as being a “partnership between Google and news publishers in Europe to support high quality journalism through technology and innovation”.

The Detail also took the opportunity to announce their group of expert Brexit columnists for the project, naming Matthew O’Toole, Paul Gosling and Professor Brigid Laffin.

Mr O’Toole was Downing Street’s Brexit spokesperson and a strong Remainer; Paul Gosling is an economist and also a Remainer; and Brigid Laffin is (you guessed it) a Remainer working for the European University.

None of their contributors is a Brexiteer or even remotely sympathetic to Brexit. Surely an outlet seeking to provide fair and balanced analysis would be dedicated to representing both sides of an argument. Not so, it appears.

In the ‘About’ section of their website, The Detail states:

“We are dedicated to fair, accurate reporting, but we are not neutral on the issues of the day, in that we believe public service journalism should promote accountability, equality and good government.”

The fact that a supposedly independent media outlet, receiving vast amounts of private and public money, is admitting that they are “not neutral on the issues of the day” (of which presumably Brexit is one) should set alarm bells ringing for all of those in Northern Ireland concerned about the concerted propaganda campaign against Brexit.

A quick glance at The Detail‘s website shows up the headlines carried on some of their recent Brexit articles, such as:

  • ‘Number of EU workers in Northern Ireland fell by 26% since Brexit vote’
  • ‘Agrifood firms struggling to recruit EU workers since Brexit vote’
  • ‘Analysis: Brexit will be a long-running soap opera’
  • ‘You should be coming together, instead Brexit seems to divide’
  • ‘Unionist leaders risk steering Northern Ireland into uncharted waters’

The above headlines will not take the reader long to adduce what side of the argument the editorial policy of The Detail comes down on, despite the site giving the veneer of being an independent news outlet.

Contrast how The Detail has, it appears, sought to subtly obscure their dedication to opposing Brexit, with the openness of BrexitCentral. Readers of this website can be in no doubt as to its position on Brexit, given that it states in its ‘About’ section that “We believe that the vote to reject the costs and bureaucracy of the EU and take back control over our laws and our cash was a positive move and we remain unapologetically optimistic about Britain’s future as an independent, free-trading, global-facing sovereign nation.”

Rather than providing a balanced view on Brexit, it appears The Detail is intent on becoming Northern Ireland’s premier Remain voice within the media – and is being funded to the tune of €400,000 to carry out this work.

This chimes with the increasingly active Remain movement within the political class and civic society within Northern Ireland. The Leave campaign shut down in Northern Ireland at the completion of the referendum campaign, whilst Remainers in this part of the UK were only getting started. We have had a mobilisation of businesses and civic society, who have worked in tandem with a ‘progressive’ pan-nationalist political coalition to provide an extremely active Remain campaign in Northern Ireland. This campaign is dedicated to at the very least wedging Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom via a ‘special status’ arrangement, which is the de facto outworking of the ‘backstop’ and, in their best hope, they want to use Northern Ireland as a battering ram to derail Brexit per se.

That is why it is crucially important that Northern Ireland Brexiteers come together in an effort to counter the relentless propaganda being pumped out by an increasingly fanatical Remain campaign. One only need to look at The Detail to see how those who are not neutral on the issues of the day are being funded to promote a particular agenda in relation to Brexit.

If supposed independent media outlets have a particular position on the issues of the day, such as Brexit, then they should be upfront and open about this. If The Detail intends to use its €400,000 windfall to campaign against Brexit under the guise of journalism, then they should state this openly. Then at least those reading the site will understand that they are reading a viewpoint purposefully slanted in favour of those opposed to the democratic decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.