After the HuffPost UK suggested that Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman might not have given a totally accurate account of her brief visit to the Streatham Mosque, telling “Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman has apologised after CCTV footage obtained by The Huffington Post UK appeared to contradict her claim that she was ‘ushered out of the door’ of a London mosque on the weekend”, someone went off the end of the pier about it.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Yes, over in a reassuringly expensive corner of Manhattan, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch decided that the HuffPost was not only wrong, but that it was lying. She proceeded to rant, bluster and threaten, which generated the usual unintentional hilarity, but showed only that she was the one being flagrantly dishonest. The rant was all that the most discerning rant connoisseur could have wished for.
Her first target was Mehdi Hasan. Had he written the article? Well, no, but details, eh? “Hi, this is a slanderous lie, and I am writing about it. Could you give me a contact number? She didn’t apologise”. Medhi sensibly ignored this ridiculous threat. So off went Ms Mensch again. “I would like to know why you are falsely stating that [Cathy Newman] apologised, and I’d like it on the record”. Stampy tantrum no response no shock horror.
So then she tagged Jessica Elgot, who did write the piece. “I propose to write you wrongfully stated Cathy Newman apologised, without her permission. Correct me if false”. Ms Elgot was also wise enough to ignore the threats. So the Rant-O-Meter was cranked up: “that’s untrue, as is your false claim that Cathy Newman apologised. You are a disgrace”. Beats working out, and no mistake.
Ms Mensch was getting nowhere. How to release all that pent-up rage? Of course - the deeply subversive Guardian! As MediaGuardian told “Channel 4’s Cathy Newman apologises for ‘misunderstanding’ over mosque”, she snapped “a lie. No she doesn’t”. Then it was Abi Wilkinson’s turn: “you have lied, and are lying, in your slander against Newman. She has not apologised to anyone and CCTV shows her account is true”.
Why Ms Wilkinson? Simples. She’s at the Mirror, and they’re all rotten lefties. So there was more: “because you are lying and slandering a fine journalist and as a Daily Mirror soc med person your lies need calling out … [Abi Wilkinson] of the Daily Mirror joins in the disgusting slander against Cathy Newman. Screenshot this one”.
Still no-one listened. It was time to deploy her linguistic expertise. “So just to clear up HuffPo lying story on Cathy Newman, to usher someone is to show or guide them out - as man did”. Sadly, the definition is missing the word “out”. And Ms Newman did say “ushered out”. She also said sorry, which sounds rather like an apology. So while Ms Mensch continued to rant, telling Mohammed Shafiq “you are a filthy liar”, the game was up.
[UPDATE 8 February 1615 hours: Ms Mensch has indeed written about the HuffPost UK article in her Sun column today. "On Friday, the Huffington Post released CCTV footage of the Mosque incident implying that Cathy (pals with her Louise? Thought not) had LIED by saying she APOLOGISED for misrepresenting what happened".
And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, any implication is that made by Ms Mensch. And two, not only has she called the HuffPost liars by her assertion about the Guardian, she has managed to miss all those papers that also repeated the story - like the Mail.
Moreover, she reveals why she went after Mehdi Hasan first - pushing the erroneous line calling the article "disturbingly extremist activist". It's long been a favourite of the right to try and call Hasan "extremist" - he's been nicknamed "The HuffPost house Jihadi" before - and so her tagging him first is the most blatant of giveaways.
Whatever the fact of the matter, Ms Newman did apologise, and all that Ms Mensch has done here is to leave the Sun open to legal recourse by the HuffPost and Guardian. Good work, then]