Ideology-related content

Ideological content that includes interpretation of facts or assumptions, although it is claimed to be neutral, and is often meant to harm ideological opponents

Brexit campaign

"Brexit: Facts vs Fear" is a short video narrated by Stephen Fry. It explains how some of the Brexit campaign manipulations played out and how fear and deception were used to amplify a political message and sway voters.

The Vote Leave campaign used visuals which falsely claimed that Turkey, with its population of 76 million, is joining the EU. In fact, Turkey is indeed in accession talks with the EU and had applied for membership in the then EEC as far back as 1987, with little progress made so far and with deepening rifts between the two sides. The campaigners presented a very low-likelihood possibility as an imminent fact and played on fears, with visuals (see below) clearly implying an exodus of Turkish citizens heading for the EU. There also the notorious red bus with the claim of 350 million pounds a week that the UK sends to the EU. The number has been debunked, but prominent brexiteers continue to make the claim which resonates well with their electorate.

Many false claims were made by both sides of the debate, all attempting to bend facts and interpret them in support of their own political view. 


EU migration issues and political debate

An article in the Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica by Stella Gianfreda investigates the politicization of the 2015 refugee crisis in the EU. It looks at the positions held by the main centre-left, centre-right, Radical Right, and Populist Parties in the Italian, British, and European Parliaments. The content analysis shows that centre-left parties frame the refugee crisis mainly as a humanitarian emergency and held pro-EU positions, while centre-right parties differ substantially between Italy and the United Kingdom.

Here are some facts on the migrant crisis by the European Parliament.

NOT Kidnapped and raped by three refugees

This is a story of how disinformation can be used for political gains. A Russian-born 13-year-old girl, known only as Lisa F, claimed in January last year that she was kidnapped and raped by three refugees while living in Berlin. The story provoked a huge response on social media. Russian news outlets ran with the news before the police could complete their investigation. It also sparked protests in Berlin, where campaigners condemned Angela Merkel's refugee policy.

The story went so far that Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, accused the German government of trying to cover it up and of "sweeping problems under the rug." In return, Berlin warned Russia not to exploit the case for propaganda.

Just days after the report, Berlin police concluded their investigation and said the girl had spent the 30 hours in which she was reportedly kidnapped with people she knew — and that a medical examination had shown she had not been raped. They did open an investigation into two suspects.

This did not stop Russian and other media from warning repeatedly over migrants raping women and children in Europe. Most worryingly, many German Russians still refused to believe the German police or government after the story was disproved.