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Friday 24 July 2020

Andrew Norfolk In Disgrace - TAKE 3

Today’s edition of the Murdoch Times has featured, at the top of the front page, yet another attack on those Scary Muslims™ by supposedly fearless “Chief investigative reporter” Andrew Norfolk. The headline tells “Biggest Muslim charity leader quits as Times discovers anti-Semitic posts”. It is part of a “Times Investigation”, although this appears to extend only to “discovering” five-year-old Facebook posts.
Andrew Norfolk: another libel defeat

Meanwhile, though, one can only wonder at the creative reworking of Oscar Wilde’s bon mot by those at the Baby Shard bunker after the paper’s latest legal setback: “To lose one defamation action may be regarded a a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness”. Because, despite today’s triumphalism, Norfolk has had his name on the by-line of two recent stories that have resulted in lawsuits. And the Times has lost both of them.

Norfolk has been trading on his exposure of so-called grooming gangs in the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham for some time, maybe for too long. When he brought Times readers the now infamousMuslim fostering” story, only to see it fall apart within a few days, he might have been expected to stop and think. But that thought would have been misplaced: Norfolk emerged from the fiasco more determined than ever.
So it was that, in the wake of the BBC’s Tory leadership special Our Next Prime Minister in June last year, the Times went after Imam Abdullah Patel, who had had the audacity to question Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson on the subject of Islamophobia. As with this morning’s exposé, allegations of anti-Semitism were involved. And they got it wrong.

As Press Gazette admitted last January, “The Times has apologised and paid damages to an imam who questioned the Conservative leadership candidates about Islamophobia during a televised BBC debate in June … The Times wrongly claimed Patel had blamed Israel for the 2003 murder of a British police officer by a terror suspect in Manchester”.
And the Pièce de Résistance: “The claim is believed to have been based on posts by someone with the same name”. Norfolk and his pals (Henry Zeffman, whose name also appeared on the by-line, was exiled to Washington, DC afterwards) had got the wrong Abdullah Patel. But Norfolk was still there. So off he went investigating once more.

Sadly, once more he got it wrong. After another Muslim bashing article in August last year, Sultan Choudhury complained to IPSO and began a defamation action after the Times gave readers the impression that Choudhury had a relaxed attitude to Female Genital Mutilation. Saracens Solicitors has carried a statement on the affair.
John Witherow, editor, The Times

The Times Newspaper has today published an apology, amended its article and agreed to pay libel damages and legal costs to the former CEO of Al Rayan Bank, Mr Sultan Choudhury OBE for wrongly suggesting that he held extremist views … The wholly false inference was that Mr Choudhury had made comments about Female Genital Mutilation. He has never made these comments and personally finds them abhorrent”.

As Professor Brian Cathcart has observed in an article for Byline Times, “the dogged loyalty of The Times newspaper to the anti-Muslim reporting of its chief reporter Andrew Norfolk is proving expensive”. Hacks have been sacked for less. But under the editorship of John Witherow, Norfolk is free to carry on smearing. Maybe this is not a coincidence.
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Anonymous said...

Off topic, I know, but mentions of "so-called grooming gangs" remind me that Margaret Hodge has popped up again. Here's The Independent from 2015.

'As leader of Islington Council, a post she held from 1982-92, Hodge was aware of previous, horrendous child sex abuse in the care homes for which she was responsible, and did nothing about it. This was not an either/or. She was incompetent, completely and utterly incompetent, and she knew about it.

She was guilty of rather more than a casual failure of oversight. She dismissed the detailed, accurate reporting of the London Evening Standard – whose editor, Stewart Steven, battled with typical ferocity to hold her to account – as “a sensationalist piece of gutter journalism”. Not content with shutting her eyes to his front pages, our latter-day champion of the whistleblower closed her ears to the courageous whistle-blowing of a social worker, Liz Davies. In an open letter to the BBC after it investigated a range of monstrous abuse (child prostitution, torture, alleged murders), Hodge libelled one of its victims as “seriously disturbed”.

Years later, in 2003, she was forced to pay Demetrius Panton £10,000 in damages for that, though understandably he was not assuaged by her apology.'

Mike Emmans Dean said...

Normal for Norfolk.

Anonymous said...

See, that's the problem with all these far right Murdoch jobsworths.

To me they all look, sound, and "write" the same.

Having lost two in a row is racist moron Norfolk going for a hat trick?

grim northerner said...

I don't think the culture of the 'times' newsroom is compatible with liberal western democratic values.

Anonymous said...

@grim northerner

According to the government, 'fundamental British values' are:
* democracy
* the rule of law
* individual liberty and mutual respect
* tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Clearly, the piss is being taken.

grim northerner said...

You missed out, 'four legs good, two legs better'!