The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - TV GUIDE - BBC Scotland BBC4

Black And Scot­tish -

The more sin­is­ter as­pect of the so­cial me­dia phe­nom­e­non raised its ugly head once more in BBC Scotland’s Black And Scot­tish, an oth­er­wise life-af­firm­ing doc­u­men­tary made by black film-maker Ste­wart Kyasimire and fea­tur­ing his beau­ti­ful, bright and bouncy eight-year-old daugh­ter, Yas­min.

At one point, Ncuti Gatwa, a young ac­tor, born in Rwanda and raised in Scotland, re­called his school­days in Dun­fermline, when a bunch of his class­mates set up a Fake News: A True Story -

Have I Got News For You star Ian His­lop delved into the ori­gins of one of Don­ald Trump’s favourite ex­pres­sions with Fake News: A True Story. He started by tak­ing us back to the 1830s, when an Amer­i­can news­pa­per printed a story about two men shoot­ing each other over a dog. It was to­tally false. When a ri­val paper printed the same story, it was proof that the paper had been lift­ing ar­ti­cles from the paper that pub­lished the fake racist page with him as the tar­get. Ncuti, after grad­u­at­ing from drama school in Glas­gow, is now a highly suc­cess­ful ac­tor with a fea­tured role in a ma­jor Amer­i­can TV series to his name. I won­der how far his for­mer tor­men­tors will get in life.

That was one of the few down­beat mo­ments in this af­fec­tion­ate look at the lives of three gen­er­a­tions of black and mixed race peo­ple who were ei­ther born here or have spent so much of their lives here they are proud to call them­selves Scot­tish. story. The clue was in the name of one of the men men­tioned in the orig­i­nal story, a Mr Swenekaf, or Fak­e­news read back­wards.

His­lop went on to have more fun with the story of the New York news­pa­per that, in 1835, claimed a high-pow­ered tele­scope had dis­cov­ered life on the moon. The story was se­ri­alised over a num­ber of weeks, ac­com­pa­nied by lurid draw­ings of batwinged hu­mans chasing uni­corns, and in­dulging in pe­cu­liar sex acts. Hun­dreds of sensation-hun­gry read­ers queued out­side the paper’s of­fices as each new edi­tion hit the streets. His­lop was de­lighted to re­port that the paper in ques­tion was called The Sun. It sold for one sixth of the price of its ri­vals, and made mil­lions for its pro­pri­etor.

The doc­u­men­tary took a more se­ri­ous turn when His­lop re­vealed that, dur­ing the First World War, Bri­tain’s Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion stood over a story that Ger­many was boil­ing down hu­man flesh to make soap and ex­plo­sives, even when the bureaucrat­s knew the story wasn’t true. The ac­tual story was about an­i­mal flesh. The knock-on ef­fect was that the world at large was in­clined to be scep­ti­cal when, a gen­er­a­tion later, re­ports of the Nazis’ Fi­nal So­lu­tion be­gan to fil­ter through.

Nur­ture won out over na­ture in more than one of the young men and women fea­tured. One young woman, in a dis­tinctly Glaswe­gian ac­cent, told how her par­ents wanted her to be­have like a proper African daugh­ter, but she just wanted to be like her school pals. And, by the look and sound of her, she won.

Rasta­far­ian and SNP coun­cil­lor Gra­ham Camp­bell said that his Scot­tish sur­name was proof of Scotland’s part in the slave trade, as the slaves were usu­ally given

In more re­cent times, a story posted on so­cial me­dia claim­ing that Barack Obama and Hi­lary Clin­ton were run­ning a pae­dophile ring from a Wash­ing­ton pizza par­lour al­most led to a blood­bath when one man be­lieved every word of this hog­wash. He trav­elled hun­dreds of miles, armed with an as­sault ri­fle, burst into the cafe and emp­tied his weapon into what he thought was the door to a tun­nel lead­ing to the White House. In the event, it was the door to a broom closet and all he did was rid­dle a cou­ple of com­put­ers stored therein, but it could have been a lot worse. The irony of him shoot­ing up the in­stru­ments that spread the story was not lost on the pre­sen­ter.

The doc­u­men­tary’s main con­tention was that peo­ple will be­lieve what they want to be­lieve re­gard­less of how in­cred­i­ble a story might seem to a more neu­tral au­di­ence.

A fur­ther con­tention was that Don­ald Trump’s con­stant use of the phrase fake news was an at­tempt to cast doubt on all news, thus mud­dy­ing the wa­ters, when true sto­ries about him emerge.

There was much food for thought in the pro­gramme. It was a nice bal­ance of hu­mour and in­for­ma­tion, and Ian His­lop was just the man for the job. their owner’s name. He added “We’re walk­ing ex­hibits of a crime scene,” but he did say it with a bit of a twin­kle in his eye.

Perth co­me­dian Bruce Fum­mey had a tear in his eye, as he waxed lyri­cally on the beauty of Scotland, but the last word went, de­servedly, to young Yas­min: “I would want other black and mixed race girls to be brave. Don’t let other peo­ple hurt you. Just be your­self.” Spo­ken like a true Scot, if ever there was one.

Jour­nal­ist, writer and broad­caster Ian His­lop was the perfect host for Fake News: A True Story

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