Nobody Does Disinformation Better Than The BBC’s ‘anti-disinformation’ Unit

The stated aim of the BBC’s Disinformation unit is to weed out disinformation campaigns. Instead, this team exists to control the flow of disinformation.

Quit trying to smear our work – you’ll fail.

Mike Wendling – BBC Disinformation Unit

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of London on Saturday past to take part in a pro-freedom rally organised in response to the desire of the government to introduce “vaccine passports”. So great were the numbers in attendance that none of the footage was able to capture the beginning and end of the crowds that thronged the streets, a feat that even an airborne drone couldn’t accomplish. Yet the BBC would purposefully seek to try and downplay the rally and the numbers who attended.

The importance of the right to protest is central in a democracy, but we don’t live in a democracy right now and haven’t done so for 13 months. The removal of all democratic rights and freedoms was done so under the “Coronavirus Regulations” enacted in 2020. Since then, we have more or less been living under authoritarian rule. Those that support such draconian measures, therefore, frown upon those that support democracy, freedoms and the right to protest. We saw that polarised position on display after Saturday’s pro-freedom rally.

BBC does disinformation best

The UK State mandated BBC has a self-styled ‘disinformation unit’ that is headed up by Mike Wendling of @BBCTrending. Their role, allegedly, is to expose online “disinformation campaigns” but rather they end up creating their own disinformation campaigns in the process. So they were rolled out on Saturday to try and diminish the number of attendees at the London rally along with a determination to discredit their message which was simply, “We want our freedoms back”.

Watching the many videos that made it to social media of the rally I was taken aback at the numbers in attendance. For me, it was the largest rally I’d seen in recent times with literally NO footage able to show the beginning and end the numbers of people were that great. So it was with surprise, but not shock, when I would read tweets from this aptly named ‘BBC disinformation’ unit wherein they spoke of “a few thousand anti-lockdown protesters”.

Marianna is the face of this controversial disinformation unit. Given her work to date it seems her remit is quite specific; find any gathering of people that is questioning the establishment narrative on COVID-19 and the authoritarian measures resulting from that narrative and discredit them.

Firstly, I struggle to comprehend the use of this “anti-lockdown” tag given to pro-freedom protesters. Yes, the protesters are anti-lockdown. But shouldn’t every rational person be against the revocation of their freedoms and “lockdowns”? Shouldn’t everyone be “anti-lockdown”? By labelling those at the rally “anti-lockdown protesters” then surely by extension that would mean those against the protest were “pro-lockdown”? The BBC easily makes the case for those who accuse it of being biased and agenda-driven.

Marianna Spring and Selectivity

After I exposed the lies spouted by a Matron of King’s College Hospital London, Laura Duffel, on BBC 5 Live on 1st January I appealed many times to Marianna Spring to help me get the story out there. I felt she was the best person to reach out to her given her alleged stance against false information and fake news.

This tweet was ignored. But why would she ignore a breaking story of verified fake news being disseminated to a national audience? Surely fake news is fake news regardless of who spouts it and where they spout it? It seems not.

An email I sent to her would also be ignored. This, therefore, leads to questions being asked of her true desire and willingness to expose fake news and why, when given verifiable proof of disinformation being pushed to a national audience on the BBC itself, she decided to ignore it.

Popularity by pity

As the BBC’s specialist disinformation reporter, I expect nasty stuff from conspiracy theorists.

Marianna Spring – BBC Disinformation Unit

Marianna spends much of her social media time playing the victim of online abuse. She likes to create long threads detailing how she is allegedly attacked for, what she claims, is her simply highlighting “conspiracy theories”.

On Sunday, the day after the London rally, she would tweet screenshots of messages she claimed were sent attacking her ‘great work’. She literally spent the day liking and retweeting everyone who sympathised. Here’s a video of her timeline that doesn’t show half of the day’s emotive fest.

Whilst I do not condone disrespectful or insulting behaviour, I am however aware of a pattern with Marianna. When she has been caught out pushing disinformation she will often start a thread claiming she is the victim of online abuse and retreat behind it thus affording her the opportunity to dodge being held to account. This happens more regularly than not.

In March there was a rally at Hyde Park from which Marianna would report. She claimed there were “More than a thousand anti-lockdown protesters” in attendance.

Again downplaying the numbers and the message of those in attendance. It would take her employers to concede that there were actually “thousands” of protesters in attendance.

Thousands of tightly-packed anti-lockdown protesters marched up Whitehall with some chanting “freedom” to the beat of a drum.

BBC – 20th March 2021

So whilst Spring was technically right she was deliberately being misleading. When working as a reporter at a rally it is proper to give an estimate of the numbers in attendance. You wouldn’t expect a football commentator to refer to full a stadium of say 50K people as “more than 5K in attendance”. Why would you do that if not to play down the numbers? When called out and exposed for this, what did she do?

She sought refuge behind emotionality again.

Here is footage from the day in question courtesy of Ruptly. As you watch ask yourselves why someone would estimate numbers taking part as “more than a thousand”? What would their agenda be in doing so?

Here are many more examples of Marianna’s consistent desire to inform the world she is being picked on. Again, I don’t condone anyone being bullied or harassed but nonetheless, when someone constantly plays the emotive card to avoid being held to account for their blatant disinformation and propaganda it is important that attention be brought to these occurrences. Especially when many of those people at these rallies help pay Marianna’s salary.

These tweets were randomly grabbed from Oct to April from her Twitter account. Feel free to search her timeline for the term “abuse” and you’ll be there for hours sifting through mountainous threads and tweets of her incessant lamentations of being picked on: Popularity by pity.

I don’t believe that any rational person would support or condone personal abuse or threats of any type towards another. But there is a clear pattern with Marianna’s tweets as I have already noted. When her bias and agenda are exposed she rushes to tweet about personal attacks and shields herself behind the ensuing support in order to avoid having to deal with the much-warranted criticisms.

Numbers matter

A few thousand anti-lockdown protesters marching through London.

Marianna Spring – BBC

There were clearly more than “A few thousand” people at this rally. Anyone who would even make that claim would quite rightfully be accused of trying to downplay the numbers. However, why would an allegedly impartial state broadcaster wish to downplay the rally’s significance? And why would they send their own disinformation unit out to spread disinformation themselves if not to try to take control of the social media narrative?

Marianna’s boss Mike Wendling would take the opportunity to insult the protesters as being ‘not normal mainstream people’. Again, further evidence of the motives behind this dubious group. Though insults aside, by accepting there were between 5-10K protesters he would inadvertently confirm that Marianna was pushing disinformation. We can say it was disinformation, and not just a mistake because she was allegedly at the protest with Wendling.

*Edit, 12/06/23 – Screenshot added as we have been advised that Wendlinbg has sinced deleted all of his tweets that we covered in our reports.*

The fact they were both there, and yet both had vastly differing accounts of how many attended in itself speaks volumes. What this huge discrepancy does though is speaks to the very clear agenda-driven reporting by Marianna. I believe this is why she hid behind emotive tweets for all of Sunday. She misrepresented the numbers of protesters whilst attempting to tarnish them all as ‘conspiracy theorists’ and when called out, played the emotive card again.

Take a look at just some videos of the pro-freedom march and ask yourself how someone could, and indeed why they would refer to these droves of people as a “few thousand” in numbers.

The videos

We can easily conclude that Marianna was intentionally pushing fake news and disinformation about the numbers in attendance as was her boss Wendling. I’ve already shown that Marianna has some form pushing disinformation in her reporting from the March 20 rally, so this is by no means an isolated incident.

Mike Wendling

“Quit trying to smear our work – you’ll fail.”

I believe that both Marianna and Mike have done a better job in one day of smearing their own work than anyone else could have imagined achieving with such a level of ease.

“I was there. Were you?” rebuts Mike at someone humorously questioning his 5-10K attendees claim. Mariana was there Mike, according to you. How can she estimate a mere “few thousand” whilst you estimate 5-10K people? You both can’t be right. But you can both be wrong! Which, if we are to approach this matter in an evidence-based manner, it seems you both are. Given the huge discrepancy in your counting abilities, it would seem that Marianna is attempting to undercount with the aim of diminishing the rally and therefore to misinform the public, whilst you are forced into carrying out some damage limitation for her preposterous reporting.

Barrister Francis Hoar would respond to Wendling’s disinformation by calling him a liar:

This Twitter user sums up Wendling’s attempt at discrediting the protesters quite well:

How did the BBC report on the rally?

One story about a small scuffle that ensued between a handful of protesters and police. Nothing about the tens of thousands of peaceful marchers. No footage of the rally. No coverage of the message. When this biased reporting is added to the disinformation campaign launched by Wendling and Spring, the agenda becomes clear.

Takeaway points

There is ample evidence of BBC bias, and it doesn’t take much effort to find it. They claim to report impartially and as I have pointed out in this report, that in itself is a false claim that should be investigated by any impartial “disinformation journalist”. But when those disinformation journalists work for the same outlet that spreads disinformation there is little hope that will ever happen. It is then left to citizen journalists to carry out this work and to expose the exposers.

Marianna is young and her work suggests she is also naive and prone to influence from the likes of Wendling. Her role is obvious. It’s to discredit protests and rallies that go against the establishment narrative. By cherry-picking the few banners denying Covid whilst ignoring the thousands of other banners and placards calling for a restoration of freedoms and civil liberties; by focusing her attention on the minority in an attempt to discredit the majority, there is an obvious desire to find evidence to fit an agenda rather than to be guided by the evidence and report impartially. Why would anyone be against the calls for a restoration of freedoms unless they were working toward an agenda?

I have no doubt she comes in for some online harassment, but who doesn’t? And why spend most of your time tweeting about it, especially around the same time that you are being challenged for pushing disinformation? The evidence points to this controversial group being a propaganda tool with a specific target audience and specific agenda. Social media is a powerful tool and the BBC has taken hit after hit on it as their disinformation and propaganda is continually being exposed. BBC-Trending is their pitiful attempt to push back against the growing anti-BBC trend online. It’s a battle they’re losing and no matter how many times they lobby Google to remove accounts they deem as dangerous this will only serve to further expose them as a propaganda outlet for the state whose target is anyone who disagrees with that state.

Defund the BBC

If you want to stop the BBC from pushing disinformation and propaganda then defund it. Stop paying your TV licence fee! See this thread on how to do that legally.