You know when you take your eyes off the kids for thirty seconds and they start the great fire of London or something similar?
That’s what it’s like to be incommunicado for a couple of hours returning from Labour’s conference in Brighton, then logging on to find the mainstream media (MSM) mobbing the Canary like crows mobbing – well, a canary – over the independent left outlet’s publication of an article about the appearance of BBC politics journalist Laura Kuenssberg’s name among invitees to speak at a Conservative party conference fringe event organised by the CSJ (Centre for Social Justice).
And she was:
Attacking a demonstrable fact is difficult, so the MSM constructed a classic ‘straw man’ to attack – or straw men, to be more precise.
Many attacked the Canary had claimed Ms K was a confirmed speaker at the Tory conference, which the Canary did not. And even if it had, the archived, unedited versions of some ads for the CSJ event did not say she was merely ‘(invited)’:
Others claimed that the Canary’s attack on Ms K was misogynist, as if being a woman means you can’t legitimately be considered a bad journalist or one that is too close to a political party.
The BBC denied that Ms Kuenssberg was speaking. The CSJ or the Tories removed her name from the fringe listing and denied that she was speaking.
Both of which are irrelevant, since the Canary’s critique was based on her being invited, not on her having accepted.
This is not the first time the CSJ has been advertised at a conference fringe with a speaker (invited) who was not speaking. It’s not even the first time this year. It’s not even the first time this month.
Earlier in September, the SKWAWKBOX published an article about Labour MPs appearing at fringe events organised by Conservative groups at the Labour conference that ended today. Among the events and MPs listed was the CSJ and Labour front-bencher Andrew Gwynne (invited):
When the SKWAWKBOX eventually received a reply from the Labour Party about Mr Gwynne’s presence on the CSJ speakers’ list, we were informed that Mr Gwynne had turned down the invitation immediately upon receipt – yet he still appeared as (invited).
Perhaps the CSJ screwed up and did not inform Labour’s Conference Services team. Perhaps Conference Services screwed up and forgot to update the conference app. Either way, Mr Gwynne’s putative attendance remained on the publicity for the event long after he had declined.
And either way, it was perfectly valid journalism to question his presence on the list – and for that matter, an organisation founded by the man many blame for the enormous suffering of vulnerable people being allowed a fringe at a Labour event.
It seems plain – if you can see past the enormous straw-man – that the Canary made no false claim, just as there is no evidence to suggest that Ms Kuenssberg ever intended to accept the invitation. Questioning her invitation is journalistically valid.
So why the furore? You don’t have to look too hard to find at least two plausible explanations.
“Jealousy is the fear of comparison”
The first is simple jealousy. Whatever your opinion about the Canary, there is no denying that it has gained huge attention as one of the most successful ‘new left media’ that has regularly outperformed and often embarrassed the MSM – and those involved in its production feature in articles and programmes more frequently than many who might consider themselves ‘elite’.
Journalists who should know better have demonstrated a hat-drop willingness to construct straw-men – or to be uncritically believing of those constructed by some of the worst fake-news creators – if it furnishes an opportunity to attack those they consider to be receiving unmerited plaudits or even just attention. The SKWAWKBOX has been on the receiving end of similar ‘pack-attacks’ from journalists who couldn’t or wouldn’t bother to read what was actually written. Hey ho – jealousy is often an unreasoning thing.
No, look over here!
As mentioned above, the Labour Party conference ended today. The conference was a huge triumph for the left of the party and especially for its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn gave a bravura performance this afternoon in his leader’s speech to close the event, appearing relaxed, confident, happy and ready for Downing Street.
It’s possible – just – that the Establishment doesn’t want the electorate thinking about a speech and a man ready to replace a Prime Minister that is giving lame ducks a bad rep.
So it’s possible – just – that the whole furore over an article, which didn’t say what the straw-man says it said, has been confected exactly for the purpose of distracting from something ‘the man’ doesn’t want us to focus on.
In other words, if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor, a huge bloody Crosbyite ‘dead cat’.
Of course, it’s perhaps most likely of all that it’s an attempt to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ – or three, if you count a Canary the Establishment and its media arm find inconvenient.
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