Misinformation is easy to find, especially when it’s being spread by published journalists.


This article is a fact checking article, if you believe we’ve made an error you can submit a correction in line with our correction policy.


This tweet caught my eye this morning.

On the face of it it appears to be nothing more than someone trying to make a political point about ‘carriers with no planes’ but getting it right. On further inspection it appears more concerning.

Why?

The tweet has hundreds of likes and over 100 retweets, many of the comments express outrage at the created ‘fact’ and many others contribute to spreading the falsehood. The person publishing this misinformation by the way is a Scottish journalist.

Ruth Wishart describes herself, in her biography for ‘The National’ here and ‘The Guardian’ here in the following way.

“Journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart has won many awards for her columns over the years. She writes mainly about Scottish and UK politics, but also covers American elections, and a diverse range of social issues. Glaswegian born and bred, she currently lives in Argyll.”

The concerning thing here is that the person that published the tweet knows there are aircraft having been informed of this a dozen or so times since 2014.

Let’s have a look.

Here.

Here.

Here.

You get the picture.

Why would this person be so keen to push this, is it for a reaction? Maybe, but it’s also a perfect example of how easy misinformation spreads on social media.

Back in 2019 I spoke to Stuart Crawford, a former SNP spokesperson and previously a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Stuart is an expert, he attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. Stuart now works as a political, defence and security consultant.

Stuart warned that disinformation is a weapon we should be aware of – not fall for. He said:

“Two startling examples of deliberate disinformation, though, can be found in matters relating to the Royal Navy. Leaving aside dubious claims from official sources that the RN is ‘growing’, which it manifestly obviously is not, the sagas of the UK’s newest aircraft carriers and the future procurement of three new Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels merits some illustration and comment.

Taking the aircraft carriers, and more specifically HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the two, the populist criticism by those who seek to denigrate the RN and/or the Westminster government is that Britain has built at great cost a brand new aircraft carrier but ‘it has no aircraft to operate from it’.

This is patently and obviously a falsehood, as anybody with two minutes of spare time could easily discover. 

In addition, the UK has taken delivery of at least 15 of the 48 F-35B Lightning II fifth generation jet aircraft it has on order. These aircraft are currently based at Beaufort, South Carolina in the USA [this was correct at the time the quote was written in 2018, they’re now based at RAF Marham] together with some 200 UK military personnel as the new aircraft is assimilated into UK service. Trials with this aircraft and HMS Queen Elizabeth are expected to start later this year prior to the carrier becoming operational after integration is complete. So it is quite clearly nonsense to state that the UK has an aircraft carrier but no aircraft to operate from it, and those doing so should – and in many cases I suspect do – know better.”

Stuart also said:

“So, where is all this nonsense about the aircraft carrier with no aircraft and the Clyde betrayal coming from, you may wonder. I don’t have a precise answer, I’m afraid, but both instances bear the hallmarks of deliberate campaigns of disinformation, often précised by the phrase “deny, distract, and blame”. Various forms of disinformation are practised by intelligence agencies around the globe, including our very own in the UK.”

With all of that being said, why would a well established journalist seek to repeatedly publish incorrect information? What’s the point?

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TrevorH
TrevorH
6 months ago

No. If she were a journalist, as opposed to a lefty bigoted polemiscist, she would give her comments some background and objectivity. It’s laughable to call her a journalist. If I were the RN I would fly a squadron over her house at 6 in the morning.

One reason we are not delivering planes is the time it takes to develop and build them…especially when they are the most advanced ones ever built. And it takes time to work up a brand new carrier that is the first one for some time.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Agreed. 617 sqn should have a team away day and land half a dozen of their jets on HMS QE whilst she’s moored off shore with a flight path that takes each of them over her house during finals.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

…might provide a useful exercise in any case to show that the F-35s can embark and operate from QE whilst she’s moored in the confines of a Scottish Loch. Something the US carriers using the non-VSTOl F-35C would find more difficult to do incidentally.

Mike
Mike
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

A F35 took off from HMQE while she was alongside in Portsmouth Harbour.

Klonkie
Klonkie
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

if ever in Auckland NZ waters , QE’s 617 sqn are most welcome to do final approaches over my home for as long as their avtur allows.

BradyS
BradyS
6 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Bloody great idea Klonkie, have a quick refuel at Whenuapai and fly directly over my house!!!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
6 months ago

Sad that people waste time, keystrokes and electrons on nonsense like this.

These are well known factual matters.

But they can solely become BBC, Sky etc al don’t really do serious defence reporting anymore.

Presumably these people also think that:-

T31 (and the frigate shed) is a fiction,
T26 is a mirage,
Marham is a fantasy?

There is no point in arguing with fools: you only end up descending to their level.

Dern
Dern
6 months ago

T-26 and T-31 being made up is a common thread amoungst Nats on Twitter.

Patrick Barr
Patrick Barr
6 months ago

She’s just an ignorant old bat.
It would be good to see the MOD more vocally call these “journalists” out on their rubbish reporting.

Jon
Jon
6 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Barr

The point of the article is that she isn’t an ignorant old bat. She is a cold calculating liar, whose objective is rooted in changing the way others think through misinformation. To call her an ignorant old bat maligns ignorant old bats everywhere.

Last edited 6 months ago by Jon
Something different
Something different
6 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Barr

The person is clearly misinformed (or spreading misinformation) but calling her an ‘old bat’ seems like an unnecessary ad hominem attack and frankly a bit prejudiced.

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago

As is touched upon in the article, the RN isn’t above telling the odd porky themselves. It comes down to who’s ‘personal truth’ you WANT to believe.

Nate m
Nate m
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

wait so let me get this straight… you Andy P believe us Great Britain one of the richest countries in the know universe and might I add one of the smartest country (average iq of 100 and we also helped with the manhaten project.) isn’t rich enough to afford an aircraft. I am lucky there aren’t any tables nears me otherwise I would have to go the hospital.

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago
Reply to  Nate m

I have no idea what you’re gibbering about but fair enough, get that soap box out and you go for it fellah…..Manhattan Project…. dear oh dear.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago

Sorry but, how many F35’s can we embark on the two carriers 4 years after her Tweet ? It’s all very well getting upset about something written years ago until you actually look at the facts.

Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

I thought you posted something similar at the beginning of this thread and I responded in agreement…..where’s it gone?

captain p wash
captain p wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I expect your Agreeing took George by surprise !

Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

I doubt it…..your comment was probably too rational (it pains me to say it) and a thread closer?

captain p wash
captain p wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Pain is relative, It means little on a forum but a great deal in real life.

Andy G
Andy G
6 months ago

I’m not sure why we think tweets from 2014 and 2017 are relevant, is a single tweet from an anonymous nobody today really worthy of yet another copy-paste tweet-article from UKDJ?

Andy G
Andy G
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy G

George, your reply to that old granny is legit hilarious though..

https://twitter.com/UKDefJournal/status/1371387466427605004

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy G

LOVE it. Nice one George. Almost spat my tea out seeing that!

farouk
farouk
6 months ago

Did you read her reply:

:Are these in operation?

What a maroon

Something different
Something different
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy G

Don’t agree with what she wrote but to call her an old granny as means of an insult seems prejudiced.

scott parker
scott parker
6 months ago

Dudes, I have zero sympathy. Try being a PHD virologist for the past year and get back to me lol

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  scott parker

Must be bad enough being Manager of Fulham !!!!

dave12
dave12
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

hahahahahah!

scott parker
scott parker
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

DOnt even get me started on that. All i need now is to wake up ginger and i’m done for

Fred
Fred
6 months ago

Any information like this is always trumped by reality.
The appeal of misinformation fades quickly once the media show the carrier doings its job with its air units.
You can’t fight all the idiots in the world – but reality highlights their agendas quite adequately.
Keep Calm and Move on…

ANDREW JOHN WILDE
ANDREW JOHN WILDE
6 months ago

I think that we all know that this ship will eventually, courtesy of the RAF, begin to build up, and operate a couple of dozen F35b,s in the next five years. This arrangement was planned for at least five years ago so no problem. The dreadful malaise inside the R.N. that cannot even get 4 x 30mm popguns fitted as the ships main armament is the real problem. Join the Royal Navy. motto “fitted for but not with”

farouk
farouk
6 months ago

Just received this on whats-app:comment image

Something different
Something different
6 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Noticed this got a lot of media attention

Nate m
Nate m
6 months ago
Reply to  farouk

LOL! :()

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago

“Impartial” Censorship in full flow on here ! Where have all the post’s gone again ?

andy
andy
6 months ago

if she is that concerned about aircraft, tell the daft bat to come and live in my street, because for the last few weeks while HMSQE has been up here in the northern end of waters, and i do not know if it,s related to HMSQE I have heard and seen at all hours of the day and night, apache and merlin helicopter’s chinooks flying and hovering along with fast jets, could not tell you which jets as it was 2/3 and 4 in the morning could have been typhoon, also atlas 400 and a c17, like my neighbour said… Read more »

Taffybadger
6 months ago

Should have asked SNP for this article, they could wrote a novel on mis-information!