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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Telegraph Corbyn Book Claim Busted

The increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph has today combined book serialisation and creative headline writing as it tries to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but ultimately fails as its deceit is unravelled. The headline, “Revealed: Jeremy Corbyn 'showed off' naked Diane Abbott to impress Left-wing friends”, looks mildly diverting until you see the quote marks. And then it falls apart.
Jeremy Corbyn: still not scary looking

The sub-heading is another that is not supported by the following copy: “In the first of a series of explosive revelations, Rosa Prince's Comrade Corbyn reveals how the Labour leader invited fellow activists to his flat to see Ms Abbott in his bed”. The clear inference is that Corbyn invited his colleagues round to show off Ms Abbott as some kind of trophy. But the reality is that the Tel is over-egging Ms Prince’s pudding.

This is of course not the first time we’ve been here recently: the unofficial biography of Young Dave by Isabel Oakeshott was largely sold to the press via one event related as hearsay (yes, the pig’s head one). The Corbyn claim is not hearsay, but it is a single source, and that source’s recollection does not match the headlines.

Here’s what that source said: “One Sunday autumn morning, he had broken up with Jane, and we were out leafleting. And for some reason he called four or five of us and said: ‘Oh, we’ve got to go back to my flat and pick up some leaflets’ … It seemed a bit odd – ‘Why the hell didn’t you bring them with you, Jeremy?’ So we all bowl along to his bedsit, follow Jeremy into the room; there on the mattress on the floor in the one room is Diane with the duvet up to her neck, saying: ‘What the ****’s going on?’ We were quite shaken”.
Diane Abbott

The source than offers the opinion “It was [the] late ’70s, it was still a point of interest, a white man with a black woman, so he was slightly showing off: ‘I’ve got a new girlfriend, and she’s black’”. One person’s opinion. And if Ms Abbott had the duvet “up to her neck”, how does the Tel know she was naked? The source doesn’t say that.

Moreover, the claim of “showing off” is shaky: Corbyn had, as the source relates, just split with his first wife, with whom he shared a flat. It’s not outside the bounds of possibility that Jezza had not remembered he had moved from that flat to a bedsit, where there was only the one room. We would be more certain on that point if Corbyn’s reaction had been included in the story, but for some reason it is not.

That this serialisation is being slanted to try and damage Corbyn is left in n doubt by the “additions” the Tel has made to its piece: a poll asking “Can you imagine Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister?” with the second of three possible answers being “Yes, and it terrifies me”, along with a video showing “All of Jeremy Corbyn’s awkward moments as Labour leader”. That memo from CCHQ is clearly having an effect.

But as serious journalism, this is not going to trouble the scorers. No change there, then.

4 comments:

Jonathan Wilson said...

Interestingly, if you only compare "Yes, and I like the sound of it" against "Yes [no], and it terrifies me" The the "prefer Corbyn" comes out ahead - 29% v 15%.

Obviously you need to ignore "I'm more likely to be PM than he is", but seriously - that's a throw away option for the thick who should really be reading the DM or S*n instead.

So even in the paper that is aimed at the cun'servative supporter... 29% (33,036) people think Corbyn could be a good PM, compared to 15% (unknown) that don't.

Well that didn't work out as planned, did it!

Anonymous said...

Der Telegraf is beginning to twitch with tory pig’s head hysteria.

Very encouraging.

Mark_Hurricane said...

"It’s not outside the bounds of possibility that Jezza had not remembered he had moved from that flat to a bedsit, where there was only the one room."
Yeah I'm forgetting where I live all the time. Takes me several weeks to get home from work some days.

Andy McDonald said...

"Man had rebound shag 40 years ago" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. This is on a level with the "Ed Miliband had girlfriend" stuff last year.