If a BBC or Channel 4 presenter were to be caught telling fibs, the full force of the Fourth Estate - well, that larger part that hates the broadcasters, anyway - would come crashing down on them. The Sun would ridicule them. The Daily Mail would go into full righteous why-oh-why mode. And after Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman was caught out “mis-speaking” about her visit to Streatham Mosque, it will be her turn for that next.
“Well I just visited Streatham Mosque for [Visit My Mosque] day and was surprised to find myself ushered out of the door … I was respectfully dressed, head covering an no shoes but a man ushered me back out onto the street. I said I was there for [Visit My Mosque] … But it made no difference”, she Tweeted. Later, she visited another Mosque and enjoyed a friendly reception, including tea and cake.
And there the story might have ended, except that Streatham Mosque subsequently received a number of threatening emails, and none of the management there seemed to have spoken to Ms Newman. So they examined the CCTV, only to find that she seemed to have spoken to a congregant, who mistakenly thought she was looking for the church next door, and directed her there - but she wasn’t “ushered out”.
She had, it seemed, gone to the wrong location, and her Channel 4 colleagues were waiting for her at the other Mosque. The problem then entered that “After Newman tweeted that she had been ‘ushered out of the door’, the story was covered by the national media, including the Guardian, Daily Mail, Independent and The Huffington Post”. Yes, the Mail covered the story, and therefore repeated the wrong claim.