Chronicle removes false allegation v Walton CLP – after challenge and without apology

The Jewish Chronicle claimed that vile comments in a thread on a Facebook post were made in the Facebook group of Walton CLP in Liverpool. The accusation was entirely false

The Jewish Chronicle yesterday highlighted vile – and they were vile – comments made in response to an article about Labour MP Luciana Berger that had been published by the Liverpool Echo.

It claimed that these comments were made ‘on the Facebook page of neighbouring Liverpool Walton CLP:

The Chronicle’s allegation was the basis for a number of public attacks on Labour members in Walton on social media platforms – and in last night’s meeting of the parliamentary Labour party.

But the claim was completely false. The comments had been made in an entirely separate Facebook group with no connection to Walton.

Walton CLP tweeted its refutation:

However, the Jewish Chronicle’s initial response was not to retract its allegation. Instead, it quietly amended the article to read that the comments were made in a ‘pro-Corbyn Facebook group’, but did not add a note of the correction of the earlier false accusation, as would be normal journalistic practice.

The SKWAWKBOX wrote to the publication’s editor last night:

Stephen,

Lee Harpin’s article in the JC about alleged bullying of Luciana Berger stated that vile comments were made ” on the Facebook page of neighbouring Liverpool Walton CLP”. This was entirely false – they were made on a different group with no connection to Walton.

The article was subsequently changed to ‘a pro-Corbyn Facebook page’, but without any note on the page to say that a factual error had been corrected.

Has Mr Harpin or the JC apologised publicly or privately to Walton members for publishing such a damaging false claim about them?

Reponse by 9am tomorrow, please.

Stephen Pollard has not replied to the email. However, the note below appeared below the article this morning as a ‘clarification’:

Of course, this is a note of correction rather than a ‘clarification’. However, there was no apology.

The SKWAWKBOX wrote to Pollard noting the ‘clarification’ but that no apology for the damaging false claim had been made. He has not responded to a question about his publication’s plans to apologise to those wrongly accused.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

This is not the first time the Jewish Chronicle has quietly rowed back on false claims.

Last autumn, when thirty-four rabbis published a letter backing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Chronicle published claims that the letter was a fake – but then changed its article without announcement and only published information it had in its possession proving the letter’s authenticity after its editor was informed that an article was in preparation about their failure to disclose it.

Labour members in Walton are owed a huge and very public apology.

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