Press Still Promotes or Is Uninterested In Acknowledging Pranked, Bogus Brexit Referendum Petition

June 28th, 2016 4:27 PM

It is now two days since it became obvious that the claim that "millions of Britons" have signed a House of Commons petition advocating a do-over Brexit vote is bogus.

The petition's buildup to millions of "signatures" was predominantly caused by bot-generating pranksters, and the entire effort proves absolutely nothing about UK citizens' alleged "regrets" over voting to leave the European Union last Thursday. But the press, either reluctant to admit they've been had or to discard a convenient, agenda-driven meme (or both), is allowing its past erroneous reporting on the petition to stand, while refusing to acknowledge more than a sliver of the fraudulent enterprise.

Heat Street demonstrated Sunday morning that anyone with a valid email address who enters a valid British postal code can add their name to the petition:


After entering those items and checking a box affirming that you are a UK citizen, the site sends the user a confirming email. Clicking on the link in that confirming email adds your name to the list.

I was able to add my name Tuesday morning as signer number 3,964,180. Oh boy.

The ease of the process and the utter lack of verification explains how spammers and bot-creating pranksters have been able to add a huge volume of "names" to the petition in such a short period of time.

It has been estimated that perhaps 20 percent of the signatures on the petition are from real UK citizens. If so, maybe 800,000 names are valid. Even then, so what? Who can say how many of that number are sore-loser Remain voters venting their spleens as oppposed to Leave supporters genuinely regretting their vote? Of course, no one can.

This is just another branch of the same nonsense being generated in media reports about the pickup in EU- and Brexit-related Google searches. The assumption, utterly without basis, is that these searches are predominantly ignorant Leave supporters who didn't understand what might happen if their side won. What rubbish. It's just as likely that many complacent Remain supporters who assumed that their side would win know as little about the EU as some Leave supporters, and are trying to figure out the consequences now that their side has lost.

Monday afternoon, Alatheia Nielsen and Sam Dorman at NewsBusters observed that seven out of the eight June 24-26 U.S. broadcast evening news shows "touted UK voter 'second thoughts,' and repeatedly brought up a manipulated petition for another referendum." In a separate NewsBusters post, Scott Whitlock noted that the wailing and gnashing of teeth, including mentions of the petition, continued unabated Monday morning.

The arguably worst example came from Mellody Hobson at CBS News, who treated the petition — a day after it was shown to be meaningless — as some kind of seismic event:


NORAH O'DONNELL: There's already a petition by some 3 million signatures calling for a second vote on Brexit. What do you think will happen?

MELLODY HOBSON: Well this is a big one, because there are over 3 million signatures in just two days. No one expected that, the sense of regret. You only need 100,000 signatures for this issue to be debated in Parliament, likely will be debated.

They're asking Parliament not to sign in effect Article 50, which says, "We want a divorce." Now this is dicey, because you're asking a democratically elected government to go against the will of the people. That's a political hot potato that not a lot of people are going to want to touch.

Hobson, aka Mrs. George Lucas, runs an "investment firm that manages over $10 billion in assets." One would hope that the people in the trenches who work for her are less gullible than she is in evaluating investment opportunities.

CBS failed to mention the petition's text, which is a demand that the British government "implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum." Translation: "Now that we've lost, we want to change the rules to make it impossible for Leave to win." How so? Under these rules, Remain supporters could "win" merely by telling their people to stay home, guaranteeing a sub-75 percent turnout.

It's almost impossible to overstate how much of a complete top-to-bottom joke it is that the press has taken the do-over petition seriously. The truth's exposure hasn't moved the Associated Press to make any corrections or to otherwise alter its two weekend mentions of the petition — one in a "The Latest" report on Brexit vote developments and another in a separate dedicated dispatch — both of which falsely describe its bogus volume of names as "a measure of the extraordinary divisiveness of Thursday's vote."

Despite its status as having been updated yesterday, the Huffington Joke — er, Huffington Poststill has a story headlined "More Than 3.5 Million Britons Are Demanding A Second EU Referendum." This report, like many others following the lead of the BBC, only acknowledges that "some 77,000 signatures were removed over the weekend" without alluding to the comprehensive Heat Street-proven gaming of the process by pranksters and bot-generators.

It's quite clear that the "another referendum" petition was originally such welcome news to the Remain-supporting establishment press that they didn't see the need to try to verify its authenticity.

It's also quite clear, now that they've been successfully scammed, that the press hss little to no interest in correcting the record, not only because it wants to avoid embarrassment, but also because it has had a degree of success in planting the false "they really regret it" meme in the public's mind.

Finally, it's quite clear that the press's sense of responsibility has virtually disappeared.

Cross-posted at