It seems that the move by losing Labour councillor Adam Langleben to suggest that New Left Media websites are indulging in the promotion of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories was not an isolated occurrence: now we have the entry into the field of the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, who has set himself up for a significantly sized fall as a result of his latest clumsy intervention.
He's desperate, Dan
Hodges, perhaps bored by having all that money rolling in and only one piss-poor column to cobble together every week in return, decided on a Twitter intervention yesterday which looks likely to follow Monroe v Hopkins in destroying his remaining credibility.
“Jewish Chronicle: ‘Labour's @johnmcdonnelMP pledges to 'call out' left-wing websites who share antisemitic conspiracy theories’. Off you go then John” he mused, including a link to a post on The Canary. The inference is clear: The Canary, in the linked article at least, is sharing “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories”.
Desperate Dan was not satisfied with only one inference, though: only one minute later came “Here's another one for @johnmcdonnellMP” with a link to an article posted on Evolve Politics. Could he make it three in a row?
He certainly could. Hardly a minute after that came “And here's a third one for @johnmcdonnellMP”, with a link to a post on Skwawkbox. The clear inference is that all three sites are sharing “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories”.
But it was Evolve Politics that took immediate exception to Hodges’ very clear inference. “Which part of our article is anti-Semitic?” was their straightforward question. And citing the precedent case of Monroe v Hopkins, they now put The Great Man on the spot.
Hodges, who is clearly of less than perfect courage, began to wriggle and deflect, as befits any good Associated Newspapers pundit. Evolve were having none of it: “Your first tweet directly infers that we have shared ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theories’. If you refuse to delete our article from your list, we will take legal action”.
Desperate Dan’s get-out clause was summed up thus: “You said the tweets should not be taken in isolation, but read concurrently. Correct. I did not say your article had shared ‘anti-semitic conspiracy theories’. I said specifically your article evoked Israeli or Zionest conspiracies”. That may not be good enough. I will explain.
Hodges began his series of Tweets stating “Labour's @johnmcdonnelMP pledges to 'call out' left-wing websites who share antisemitic conspiracy theories”. He then included links to The Canary, Evolve Politics and Skwawkbox. The crystal clear inference is that those are examples of “left-wing websites who share anti-Semitic conspiracy theories”.
Frantically back-pedalling later and saying “what I really meant was ‘evoked Israeli or Zionist conspiracies’” is rather like making a deliberately bogus claim and then hastily following it up by adding “Allegedly”. The defamatory inference has already been made.
Dan Hodges should say sorry. But he isn’t big enough. So get the popcorn in.