After the Super Soaraway Currant Bun ran its dishonest attack on left-leaning journalist Paul Mason yesterday, it was not long before this blog, and many others, pointed out that Mason had not been “plotting” to remove Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour leadership and replace him with Clive Lewis, contrary to the paper’s claims. And now we know that this was not only not a Sun story, but it also had to be toned down before publication.
That’s because the original made claims that were too fanciful even for the Murdoch goons: the original headline was to have been “Corbyn insider Paul Mason reveals plans to replace Labour leader”. In the retelling, this became “Paul Mason, Jeremy Corbyn’s celeb guru, admits he wants to oust hapless leftie as he doesn’t appeal to the ordinary Brits”. The original description of the story was equally OTT.
This told “One of Jeremy Corbyn’s most trusted aides was overheard today talking in a café in Liverpool, England about plans to replace the popular left-wing leader - Paul Mason revealed plans to replace Corbyn, who was re-elected just this week, with Clive Lewis the shadow defence secretary, before the next General Election, because he was ‘more electable’”. There were no plans, so not even the Sun would run with that.
Moreover, it took several days for the story to appear. So who was actually behind it, and why the delay? The by-line gives a clue: sharing the credit with the paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn was one Ross Kempsell. Kempsell, who has since taken his Twitter feed private, works for Fame Flynet, the agency best known for coincidentally turning up to snap nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk and ex-wife Karen.
We know this because (a) Fame Flynet’s name is plastered all over the photos, and (b) their original pitch, with its wording, has been made available by Marc Vallée, who has asked “What is the role of @FameFlynet & @rosskempsell (just deleted his twitter account) in @paulmasonnews Sun story?” The answer is that he and his company had the story and were touting it around to whoever would bung them the most dosh.
As the Labour Party conference was a fortnight ago, that tells you how long it took for Fame Flynet and Ross Kempsell to get someone to bite. And even then, the story was so divorced from the available facts that the Sun had to enlist Newton Dunn’s services to rewrite it. Then when Mason’s lunch companion was identified as a Spanish MP, the claim that the Corbyn-supporting journalist had been “plotting” was well and truly busted.
Some on the right may still think this to be a worthwhile story. But for everyone else, it has unravelled big time. Whatever the Murdoch droids splashed out for it was too much.