The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker were jubilant as they told the world “Labour drops its complaint over Daily Mail exposé on Corbyn wreath at terrorist graves”, going on to claim “Labour has dropped its complaint against the Daily Mail over its coverage of Jeremy Corbyn's visit to the cemetery where terror leaders linked to the Munich massacre are buried”. Linked by papers like the Daily Mail, that is.
There was more. “The decision will be seen as a vindication for the Mail's original story, which concerned a photo, obtained by this paper, of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath only feet away from the graves of terror leaders linked to the 1972 killings”. But those leaders, whatever their backstory, took no part in the Munich Olympics killings. And those who did are not buried in that cemetery, and indeed not even in that country.
Still, the impression is given, as required, that the Labour leadership dropped the complaint against several newspapers because it didn’t have a realistic case against them. But, as Press Gazette hints, there is rather more to it than that: “The Labour Party has ended a formal accuracy complaint against six national newspapers after claiming the review process at the UK’s largest press regulator was ‘unacceptably compromised’ by an email leak”. What can they be suggesting?
This is what a Labour spokesperson said: “Our view remains that the reporting we complained about seriously misrepresented the nature of what took place … these inaccuracies breached the IPSO code … Regrettably, confidential communication with IPSO was leaked and it was unable to trace the source or assure us it would not recur, and we considered that the complaints process was unacceptably compromised … We therefore decided we would not be taking this IPSO complaint any further”.
Someone scuppered the complaint. So who done it? Sadly, yet inevitably, the search leads to the Guardian, now firmly in the anti-Corbyn camp under the editorship of Kath Viner. It was there that Jim Waterson, ex-Guido Fawkes and ex-BuzzFeed News, showed he was the recipient of the leaked email. The brass neck on view was something to behold.
Waterson’s article included a response from the Labour Party telling “We stand by our complaints and are currently looking at how to progress them. But it is clearly a worrying sign of how this is being handled that confidential correspondence with Ipso has been leaked”. The inevitable conclusion is that the Guardian scuppered the complaint.
Seriously, if correspondence between a complainant and IPSO gets leaked to the press, no-one can have any confidence in our press non-regulator’s ability to hold that same press to account. So the correspondence was leaked to a paper less keen on gratuitously smearing Jezza than those out there on the right? Big deal. It’s still not acceptable.
Labour no longer pursuing its complaint over the multiple smears of Jeremy Corbyn does not vindicate the Mail, nor any other paper. It merely underscores that IPSO is a sham regulator and utterly unfit for purpose. But you knew that anyway.
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