Labour is recording a series of opinion poll leads, with the Tories showing alarming losses. That means only one thing for the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate, and that is to put the boot into Jeremy Corbyn. This the Murdoch Sunday Times has dutifully done, with today’s lead story headlined “Corbyn admits: We ‘ignored’ anti-Semitism … Tape exposes leader’s secret confession”. So secret it’s on the ST’s front page.
This week, in addition to Gabriel Pogrund and Richard “Ker-ching” Kerbaj, the ST’s political editor Tim Shipman has his name on the by-line. And I have to say to Shippers and his pals that not only has the Murdoch press scored a significant own goal this week, it is also the last organisation to be calling out anyone on anti-Semitism.
So let’s take this one step at a time. One, the ST’s headline is not supported by the evidence ponied up (wondered why “ignored” was in quote marks? Wonder no more). Corbyn said to Margaret Hodge of evidence in anti-Semitism cases “I was concerned that it was either being mislaid, ignored or not used”. He wanted to make sure that the complaints system was working properly. That isn’t an admission of ignoring anything.
Two, the revelation goes against the previous line - that Corbyn and his team were somehow deliberately obstructing complaints of anti-Semitism - by showing his concern, his clear wish to see complaints dealt with, and be seen to be dealt with.
Three, where does this leave Margaret Hodge with her fellow Labour MPs? Who’s going to say anything more than Hello and Goodbye in her presence, now that it is known she’s been recording confidential conversations? And, whisper it quietly, passing the contents on to an organisation infamous for its racist behaviour?
Four, yes, you read that right. The Murdoch empire is an institutionally racist organisation. For instance, as the Guardian has reported, “A group of New York corner-store owners has announced a boycott on the sale of the New York Post, arguing that the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper’s attacks on the congresswoman Ilhan Omar are making Muslim Americans less safe”. Rupe’s New York tabloid has been dabbling in incitement.
And Five, that is not an isolated occurrence. As the New Matilda reported last year, “it’s not much of a secret that the Murdoch press constantly attacks Islam and Muslims. So, given this definition, how frequent were stories featuring Muslims or Islam in a negative sense? There were 2,891 of them. That’s almost 3,000 negative stories relating to Islam in one year”. In just five of Rupe’s Australian titles. Bigotry. On tap.
Six, this culture of bigotry comes from the top, from Murdoch himself. A flavour of the boss’s bigotry could be gleaned when Rupe was running his own Twitter feed, with gems such as “Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are” not untypical. And it gets worse.
Because, Seven, that racism includes anti-Semitism. Murdoch asked in 2012 “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?”, a snipe at the New York Times. Yes, Gabriel Pogrund, Richard Kerbaj and Tim Shipman, you’re trying to pin racism on a committed anti-racist - on behalf of a real racist. I’ll just leave that one there.
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