Now we’re fact-checking opinions

The Gurdian journalist Owen Jones shared a message he received from a member of the public in an election news report. And his image has been shared multiple times on social media.


This incident is yet another being used to decry ‘fake news’.

I don’t know the source of the original clip; I don’t know if it is footage from an election debate programme or from one of Jeremy Corbyn’s stops on his tour of the UK – but it seems that what the lady in question is concerned about is not that the BBC are misreporting what happened; but that people are misinterpreting what happened.

Assuming that the footage was edited as live (there is nothing to suggest otherwise and I would be extremely surprised if any broadcaster, subject to election coverage rules, doctored footage to show a false reaction) then the complaint is about people’s interpretation.

Does it really matter what a random individual audience member actually thought?

Are we going to change our vote because of what we assume to be the opinion of a complete stranger?

We seem now to be fact-checking interpretations of opinions of members of the public rather than looking at the manifestos and policies of the politics parties.

Is this what has become of political reporting in the UK?

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