The old adage that something that looks too good to be true might just be too good to be true has once again been demonstrated as more than one contributor to the content of Guardian Media Group has veered across the defamation line in no style at all over a bogus claim of anti-Semitism. On top of that, Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley has joined in the defamation. Which has put her in one of those very difficult positions.
Why would anyone libel Majid Mahmood, I wonder?
Jonathan Freedland was the first to make the mistake, Tweeting “Just shortlisted to be the Labour candidate for Birmingham Hall Green - a solicitor fined £25,000 for anti-Semitic comments”. The problem was that the individual shortlisted had not been thus fined. But in the meantime, in waded Ms Riley. “You have to be kidding me. Is this the best Labour has? Astounding”. She quoted some of what he didn’t say, just for good measure.
And it seems Nick Cohen of the Observer joined in at some point. The problem was that the Majid Mahmood who was fined for anti-Semitic comments is from Luton, and the Majid Mahmood shortlisted for Birmingham Hall Green is, well, from Birmingham. These pesky Scary Muslims™, eh? They all sound alike. Shaun Lawson, meanwhile, had bad news for Ms Riley. “Rachel. That's libel. Surely you wouldn't be guilty of doing the exact same thing you've wrongly accused others of, would you? You'd NEVER do that”. Ouch!
Freedland was by now desperately rowing back his earlier claim. “Labour tell me that earlier reports of a candidate shortlisted in Birmingham Hall Green rested on a confusion about two men with the same name. The Majid Mahmood shortlisted for the seat is NOT the Majid Mahmood fined over comments on Facebook - and I’ve deleted those tweets”.
But what of Ms Riley, who had repeated the libel? “Thank god for that. Next to nothing surprises me in this arena any more”. No more than a shrug? That was unwise, especially as Freedland was now in full contrition mode: “I of course apologise wholeheartedly for passing on too hastily information from a previously reliable Labour source. It was a very bad error on my part, and one for which I will seek to make amends”.
At last Ms Riley got the message. “Apologies to the Labour candidate mistaken for an antisemite with same name. It’s not my intention to spread untruths and this was corrected as soon as discovered”. But she wanted everyone to know that she was right, really: “Good to know so many Corbynistas are following my tweets tho, let me know if any of the following 125+ are mistaken”. Quoting Gnasher Jew as fact? Ri-i-i-ight.
As one Tweeter put it, “The responsibility is yours to check the veracity instead of just gleefully retweeting, surely?” Alex Tiffin added “Libelling a solicitor then doubling down? Good luck”. Solicitor and school governor. Reputational damage, eh?. That this was a defamatory act was effectively admitted by the Guardian, as James Doleman pointed out.
“The Guardian have now issued this sincere apology for falsely labelling someone as a racist. Only kidding, they just threw [Jonathan Freedland] under the bus”. The Guardian pointedly stated that it was one of Freedland’s Tweets that it had shared, as if to say “it’s his fault, go and sue him, not us”. It looked too good to be true. Because it was.
Rachel Riley has no get-out this time. She repeated the libel. Get the popcorn in.
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Riley is a tory idiot with worthless opinions.
The Grauniad has become a worthless right wing rag since Viner took it there.
Well, it seems that profuse apologies are not good enough for Labour candidates who have made ill-advised comments or posted tweets that they regret. They should not be sufficient to absolve a supposedly professional journalist who can't be bothered with fact checking or his newspaper, which repeated the defamation.
I see he has an article in today. I might just read it now, I assume the lawyers have already done so.
But the libeled victim will turn the other cheek won't he just like Corbyn and this is the problem. They get away with it, it quickly sinks but the libels just get worse because they will not respond and the majority of the Jewish community stays silent while their name is used to attack for political advantage. It won't end well. There will be a very heavy price to pay for decades and I believe if Corbyn doesn't win, Britain's Jews will rue they day they allowed these appalling people free reign.
It is a criminal offence to make a false statement about a candidate during an election period in order to influence an election, without having good reason to believe that the statement is true. It looks like Jonathan Freedland and the Guardian may have committed a criminal offence. This is likely because the statement was made about three days after election period started and it looks like they didn't check with either Majid Mahmood or the Labour party. This should be reported to the police.
It doesn't matter what Labour do about antisemitism corporate media will NEVER report honestly. They will continue to repeat lying generalised bullshit allegations as though they are the truth. They will NEVER report true levels or the comprehensive measures taken by the Labour Party. Nor will they ever tell the truth about deeply ingrained public school racism in the tories.
They have their orders. And they carry them out like all gutless propaganda clerks. They will never change. Cowards are like that.
Freeland claims that the info came from a Labour source.
Freeland and so many of his profession have forgotten to check the veracity of the claims and look for other corrobating evidence to support their claims.
Seems the rush to get an exclusive has got in the way of covering your arse and the lawyers must be asleep at the wheel to allow such libel through their fingers.
Freedland should name his source and explain why he never sought to verify the claim.
And this man claims to be a journalist!
On a similar theme, does anyone remember this?
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