Cape Town – Outspoken broadcaster Gareth Cliff is not short of opinions, nor shy to express them. When it comes to the facts on certain matters, however, Cliff has once again been red-flagged – this time for alleging US election fraud.
However, after being red-flagged by fact-checkers on Instagram over a post insinuating US electoral fraud, Cliff has disputed the credibility of pollsters, mainstream media organisations and fact-checkers, comparing them to hotline psychics and astrologers.
Last week, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA fined e.tv and eNCA R10 000 for broadcasting Cliff’s So What Now? show on July 22. In the interview, conspiracy theorist David Icke claimed to have “absolute factual evidence’’ that the Covid-19 pandemic is a scam, but no such evidence was provided.
Both eNCA and e.tv had to apologise for the fact that they ‘’did not protect the people of South Africa from the potential harm and misinformation contained in the interview’’.
Yesterday, after Cliff had posted a graph (which has received 197 Likes) regarding the votes for each party in the state of Michigan, with 86% of the vote counted by 7:17 on November 4, alleging fraud, underneath the post – in red – was the message: “Missing context. The same information was reviewed in another post by fact-checkers. Independent fact-checker say information in this post is missing context and could mislead people.”
An unrepentant Cliff posted on his page: ‘’Pollsters, mainstream media organisations and ‘fact-checkers’ are exactly the same as hotline psychics and astrologers. If you want to believe them, you go ahead.
“The reality is consistently so very different from their projections or assertions (including on Covid) that their credibility is indisputably in tatters. Time for them to be set on fire and thrown out. Like if you agree (it has received 653 Likes by noon today).”
When it comes to “reality”, ahead of the Icke interview, constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos described the former footballer as an ‘’anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist who claims to believe, among other things, that an inter-dimensional race of reptilian beings called the Archons have hijacked the Earth and are stopping humanity from realising its true potential, and that the British royal family are shape-shifting lizards’’.
As the US presidential race goes down to the wire, false or misleading posts on social media are going viral. State judges ruled against US President Donald Trump’s efforts in Michigan and Georgia on Thursday when he sought to challenge the integrity of the vote.
A map of voting in Michigan from the election night – which shows a sudden increase of around 130 000 votes for Biden, but none for Trump – went viral on social media. Trump has tweeted the image, which is increasing speculation about voter fraud.
Decision Desk, the election monitoring website which created the map, said: “It was a simple error from a file created by the state that we ingested… The state noticed the error and produced an updated count.”
While Trump is notorious for ignoring the facts, even presidential contender Joe Biden has been red-flagged by PolitiFact, a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter, during the US election.
Cliff said he would not add context or even discuss fact-checking institution PolitiFact’s advisory, News24 reported. He added that as a free-thinking person, he was entitled to his views.
Asked whether he suspected fraud in the US election, he said there was “a lot of suspicious stuff going on” and that any person should be asking questions.
In response to Cliff’s comments on fact-checking, De Vos posted on Twitter yesterday: ’’Because, fact-checking is for people who do not believe the British royal family are shape-shifting lizards, and believe that having a ’debate’ about it is sadly juvenile.’’
To which another Twitter user responded: ’’Here we go again … Gareth Cliff hating. Your law books are obviously boring for you. Maybe you should appear on his show.’’