When times are at their most trying, one can always depend on the Fourth Estate and their hangers-on to ride to the rescue with a little unintentional hilarity, and occasionally, accompany it with a spectacular slice of foot-in-mouth idiocy. So it was that the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog took aim at Jeremy Corbyn, ended up minus several toes, and dropped one of their more clueless pals in the mire.
We know who you are, thanks
New Fawkes apprentice sandwich monitor Tom Harwood, clearly stuck for ideas, had latched on to a self-promotion attempt from has-been TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer, when she attempted to secure More And Bigger Audiences For Herself Personally Now by goading Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“Come on Jezza, sue me. I think you’re anti-Semitic. I think everything you do and say suggests you are anti-Semitic. I think you’re an anti-Semite, just like Margaret Hodge, prominent Jewish Labour MP. If that’s not true, prove to me that it’s not true. Take me to court, sue me for libel, and let’s get this out in the open” she trilled.
Yes Tom, you've loused up again
This, of course, was a carefully worded opinion. “I think … suggests that” is not an assertion, but an attempt to say something similar while driving it round the houses. But not to worry, The Great Guido was on hand to turn this into a full-blown defamatory accusation and therefore something potentially actionable.
Thus it was that the Fawkes massive told their readers “Julia Hartley-Brewer: Corbyn is Anti-Semitic and a Racist. Sue Me”. But she had not said that, which prompted Ross McCafferty to respond “Bollocks. JHB didn't say 'Corbyn is an anti-semite'. She said 'I think you are an anti-Semite.' The latter is an opinion and therefore borderline impossible to sue for libel over”. Indeed. But the Fawkes claim turned it from opinion into assertion.
They were now saying that Ms Hartley Dooda had asserted that Corbyn was an anti-Semite, while she had merely said she thought this was the case (also, if you read her statement carefully, it looks as if she was also calling ‘Margaret Hodge, prominent Jewish Labour MP’ an anti-Semite, which is singularly unfortunate, but hey ho).
Of course, Ms Hartley Dooda could have dissociated herself from the Fawkes idiocy, or at least ignored it. But her appetite for self-promotion meant that no opportunity to score More Clicks For The Advancement Of Herself Personally Now could be left unscored, and so she dropped herself in the mire … by Retweeting the Fawkes claim!
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY
Now it looks as if she meant it to be an assertion, and therefore actionable, from the start, and therefore acted not as a bringer of honest opinion, but cynical deviousness. So when The Great Guido muses “Julia-Hartley Brewer has drawn a pretty big line in the sand and dared Jezza. Corbyn can sue her and Murdoch owned TalkRadio. Will he take her up on her offer?”, after their idiocy and that of Ms Hartley Dooda, he just might.
You just can’t get the apprentice sandwich monitors nowadays. Another fine mess.
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