The lamentable hard-right site Guido Fawkes has launched a multi-pronged attack on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn centred – ironically – around supposedly false statements Corbyn made about his appearance, some years ago, on the Iranian English-language station Press TV.
Throwing the word ‘lie’ around like confetti on Sunday and today, Fawkes claims that Corbyn’s conversation with the host on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show was peppered with inaccuracies. In case we don’t get the message in articles about Corbyn’s responses to questions about human rights and fees received from the station, Fawkes ran a third article with the lurid – and it turns out wholly inaccurate – claim that Corbyn ‘lies 3 times in 20 seconds’.
Entirely false ‘news’.
As can be seen above, Fawkes claimed that Corbyn’s comments to Marr about human rights were a lie because “he did not bring up Iranian human rights abused every time he went on TV. In fact Guido cannot find a single example of him doing so“.
However, that’s not what Corbyn said to Marr. Here’s the official BBC transcript of what he did say:
I ceased to do any programmes when they treated the Green Movement the way that they did and I also at all of those occasions made my voice very clear about human rights abuses
Corbyn did not say he spoke on Press TV about human rights abuses – he raised the issue with them, which is not the same thing. And of course, as the shows were made by a 3rd-party production company and sold to Press TV, which means they would be pre-recorded, any on-camera comments Corbyn made could easily be edited out before broadcast.
No surprise then that Fawkes couldn’t find any examples of Corbyn doing something he didn’t say he did.
Fawkes also claims Corbyn lied about fees received because he said he stopped taking fees from Press TV in 2009 yet was still receiving them in 2012. There’s a small problem with Fawkes’ claim.
Corbyn’s absolutely right – he took no fees after 2010.
Fawkes’ claim appears to rest on a quick glance at the parliamentary ‘Register of Members’ Financial Interests’. It’s true that Corbyn’s entry for ‘up to £5,000’ (‘up to’ could just as well be £10) appears in each of the registers – which are updated every couple of weeks – over a period from 2009 to 2012.
However, many appearances merely reflect the same entry shown in each update, not a new entry for a new payment.
The SKWAWKBOX spoke to the department that controls the Register – which confirmed that each new entry in the Register is highlighted in yellow when it first appears.
Corbyn’s only highlighted entry for Press TV appears in the updated register published 2 September 2009:
After that, it merely appears as an old entry not yet removed. There is one mention of a new entry for ‘4hrs’ for the same production company that makes Corbyn’s Press TV programme – so not a large sum. It was registered 23 June 2010 and deleted in 2011.
This can easily be cross-checked by reference to the TheyWorkForYou site, which maintains a parallel record of the register for each MP. ‘TWFY‘ only records a single payment of ‘up to £5,000’ to Corbyn from Press TV:
There is one entry dated 23 June 2010 from the Imafilm production company as noted above. TWFY does mention ‘Press TV’ once in 2012 – although not in any of the intervening years – but this is in the red column for entries removed. All the actual entries relating to any payments in that section refer to lectures Corbyn gave for educational establishments:
So we have a last payment received in June 2010 – and an earlier payment from 2009 that was not removed from the register until 2012.
All of the above publications repeated the claim that Corbyn had received up to £20,000 for his appearances.
Most of them repeated the claim that he had appeared up to 2012.
Many of them attacked him for supposedly saying £20,000 was “not an enormous amount” – when £20,000 was a figure that existed only in their error.
It was very easy to check – as the SKWAWKBOX did – whether Corbyn received payments from Press TV in multiple years or it was just the way a single payment was reported. Yet it has been wrongly reported by virtually every ‘MSM’ outlet.
And of course by Fawkes, on more than one occasion.
Human rights (again)
The MSM have also criticised Corbyn for his supposed ‘reluctance’ to speak out about human rights in Iran, implying that he has bitten his tongue because of the fallacious £20,000.
But Corbyn has signed multiple ‘Early Day Motions’ on human rights in Iran
1. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/749 – on executions
2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/624 – on women’s rights
3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/337 – treatment of minorities
4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/391 – on student protests
Seems right-wing trash sites and mainstream media alike either fail to do basic fact-checking or don’t care too much when it comes to the kind of ammunition they fire at Jeremy Corbyn. Fake news is primarily an Establishment phenomenon.
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An earlier version of this article stated that the last payment registered from Press TV was in 2009 but did not note the June 2010 payment received from Imafilm, the company that produced the programme for Press TV.