Murdoch hack Gabriel Pogrund, who Zelo Street regulars may remember confecting a story about Labour Party whistleblowers which was so riddled with holes as to render it valueless, has once again been making claims against The Red Team. This time, though, there is no redacting dates from letters to mislead readers, or trying to pass off letters that are not gagging orders as if they were. This time it’s different.
“An Islamist terror suspect and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist have acquired official roles in a branch of Unite and are using it to infiltrate Labour … Unite Community is meant to represent the jobless. But leaked docs reveal it's ‘ok to join if you work’”. No shit, Sherlock: one does not need “leaked docs” to know that Unite Community is open to carers, pensioners, the disabled, the unemployed, the self-employed, or students.
Hardly worth the pretence and the paywall, is it? But how about an example of those allegedly “infiltrating” Labour? “Laura Stuart: arrested for sharing propaganda by an Al Qaeda linked preacher; now secretary of Unite Community Barnet”. Christ on a bike. Er, hello Gabriel? I could mention you in the same breath as al-Qaeda, and by the same token you employ, you would then be an “al-Qaeda linked journalist”. This is crap.
Moreover, Ms Stuart, by Pogrund’s own admission, had no further action taken against her, and so the characterisation “Islamist terror suspect” is bogus. On top of that, viewing and sharing video content by Anwar al-Awlaki was not, at the time Ms Stuart was arrested, illegal. She wasn’t charged, and was released after a few hours.
As a result of Pogrund’s deception, James Doleman, who happens to be an experienced journalist and seasoned court reporter both north and south of the border, gave the Times man a prod. “You didn't answer my question about her being charged or convicted. Why is that? To confirm, never charged and never convicted, you do know in our system that means ‘innocent’?” It also means she is not a “suspect”, terror or otherwise.
Pogrund’s reaction was most unfortunate. “I clarified in the article that she was given NFA. Although you'll also find she admitted she ‘no doubt’ shared videos of Anwar Al Awlawki. Of course given that … the arrest was relevant”. Not unless there was proven illegality, it wasn’t. Doleman gave Pogrund another prod. “The tweet was by you, not the Sunday Times. Did you have a lawyer check it?” Clarification in the article doesn’t cut it.
By this time, Pogrund was running out of road - and it showed. “This is mad. You're telling me how to report and also lecturing me about the law [not surprisingly, as Doleman is well versed on both]. If you feel so concerned on behalf of Laura Stuart (again - bizarre), feel free to contact the paper or its legal department”. It’s got stuff all to do with backing Laura Stuart - and rather a lot to do with accurate and honest reporting. Or, perhaps, not.
For instance, Pogrund claims the likes of Ms Stuart have been trying to “infiltrate the Labour Party and campaign for the deselection of moderate MPs”. Then he tells Times readers she’s been suspended from the Labour Party. So to have any influence, she would have to have become a Unite Community delegate to her local CLP.
And Gaz Murphy had something to say about that. “To be a Union delegate to a CLP, you have to be a full member of the Labour Party, a member of that CLP, and in good standing, ie NOT SUSPENDED, as this article implies. It's on p100 of the rule book. Is the rest of this article just as accurate?” This Tweet has a message, and the message is BUSTED.
Gabriel Pogrund has once again slung together an article based on nods and winks, yet full of holes. If Ms Stuart is suspended from the Labour Party, she can’t become a CLP delegate for Unite Community or any other union. The smear of Unite Community is gratuitous and misleading. Ms Stuart’s arrest is not relevant as she was not charged - because she was doing nothing wrong. And there is more..
The idea that someone must be an ally of Ms Stuart because they want to see accurate and honest journalism is a non sequitur of the most basic kind. An article which has at its heart a basic premise built on nudges, winks and deception is not worth a light.
Twice Zelo Street has caught Gabriel Pogrund being less than totally honest with his audience. It’s almost as if it’s becoming a habit. I’ll just leave that one there.
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