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It’s been a busy three months or so since the SKWAWKBOX’s last update, – in particular in terms of exposing fake news put out by the Establishment media. So in a change from the usual updates, below are twenty-two occasions just since the last update in which the SKWAWKBOX has exposed and corrected ‘mainstream’ fake news, most of them exclusively.
The items are ranked in reverse order according to importance, but it’s a subjective call, so if you would order them differently do say so in the comments:
22. McCluskey vs the ‘snob’
When Len McCluskey took Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee to task for her dismissive attitude to the non-London population, the Guardian sanitised his comments – but the SKWAWKBOX revealed them in full.
21. ‘Storm’ in a PLP-cup
As the media tried, as usual, to amplify disunity in the Labour Party while letting the Tories off the hook, most ‘mainstream’ outlets reported a ‘storm’ in a meeting of the ‘PLP’ (parliamentary Labour party). In reality, a few disgruntled ‘usual suspects’ were panicking about the fact Labour won the Peterborough by-election against their expectations – and about the start of the ‘trigger’ process that could lead to their deselection.
20. The ‘blameless’ deselected councillors
When a number of councillors in Tom Watson’s home borough were deselected by the party, Tom Watson ran to the media to claim the deselections were ‘factional’ and without basis. But the SKWAWKBOX revealed behaviour by some of them that justified the decision.
19. The right-wing bully
The SKWAWKBOX has exposed a series of controversies and complaints concerning Nesil Caliskan, the right-wing Labour leader of Enfield Council. Ms Caliskan appeared in the media to dismiss complaints – or even to claim that Labour was acting to protect her, rather than to investigate. But Ms Caliskan was found guilty by the council’s monitoring officer – and barely a week later, of attempting to exert undue influence on the key Chair of the council’s scrutiny committee.
18. Labour’s EU manifesto
During May’s EU election campaign, the media claimed Labour’s EU election literature was being rewritten to include a commitment to a new referendum and a remain campaign. This was false – and the SKWAWKBOX put the record straight.
17. The phantom ‘acting general secretary‘
Most of the ‘MSM’ claimed Corbyn’s office director Karie Murphy had been appointed as acting general secretary while Jennie Formby fights cancer. This was untrue and Formby was doing – and continues to do – her job, with assistance from other staff on the occasions she has to be absent for treatment.
16. The Corbyn foreword
During one of the regular periods of media focus on supposed antisemitism within the Labour Party, numerous commentators attacked a foreword written years before by Jeremy Corbyn to a book by a writer in which a few pages contained antisemitic views widespread when it was written a century or so before.
Yet contributors to that outraged commentary – along with certain well-known former Labour leaders – had also praised the book and its author.
15. The non-vanishing members
Media eagerly reported claims by a right-wing Labour MP that hundreds of members had quit his local party in outrage over Labour’s Brexit position.
This was entirely untrue – and the SKWAWKBOX published the membership numbers that disproved the claim.
14. The missing majority
As the media attempted to divert attention away from the Tories’ catastrophic local election performance and stir up trouble for Labour, various outlets claimed that a ‘majority’ of Labour MPs had said they would not support the leadership on Brexit without a commitment to a new referendum. In fact, as the SKWAWKBOX showed, barely a third of MPs – mostly the hardcore anti-Corbyn ‘usual suspects’ were threatening to reject it.
13. The copied homework
When the media ran an attack article on the Labour Party by Tom Watson, the SKWAWKBOX showed that it matched briefing notes by the “People’s Vote” campaign – a campaign driven by LibDems, soft Tories and the Change UK failures – almost verbatim.
12. The Shadow Cabinet frustration that wasn’t
In June, the ‘MSM’ claimed that pro-remain members of Labour’s front bench had been frustrated by Corbyn’s ‘failure’ to agree a change of Brexit policy at a Shadow Cabinet meeting. The SKWAWKBOX showed that the meeting was never scheduled to make a decision as it was always planned to wait for input from unions.
11. The interfering objectors
As the media gave unending oxygen to the objections by right-wing MPs and peers to the reinstatement of Chris Williamson after a decision by a National Executive Committee (NEC) panel, the SKWAWKBOX exposed their hypocrisy in demanding political interference just after objecting to (false) claims of such interference in other cases.
10. The 18% outlier
At the beginning of July, the media incessantly paraded a YouGov poll suggesting Labour support was as low as eighteen percent. As the SKWAWKBOX showed, most polls – studiously ignored by the media – showed Labour with a solid lead of as much as six percent. Polls since continue to show a Labour advantage.
9. Watson’s ‘disciplinary interference’ hypocrisy
Tom Watson has appeared frequently in the media to decry supposed ‘interference’ by Labour’s leadership team in disciplinary processes. Yet when Watson’s allies were facing serious complaints he shamelessly tried to derail the process, according to others present.
8. The isolate-Corbyn strategy
When the media and current and former Labour right-wingers, unable to topple Jeremy Corbyn directly, joined forces to try to isolate him from his most loyal support within the party by smearing key aides, the SKWAWKBOX exposed the tactics and each incident.
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett attacked Corbyn’s team – for a position he had expressed himself – and when veteran MP Margaret Beckett attacked the same staff the SKWAWKBOX exposed her history of undermining Corbyn while tearfully claiming to be loyal.
Media claimed that Corbyn’s chief of staff had interfered in a disciplinary case concerning the son of former deputy leader John Prescott – but the SKWAWKBOX exclusively revealed the real events.
7. The Reeves intervention
In a bid to use Labour’s democratic processes to attack the party’s leadership, the media claimed that Corbyn had refused to engage with MP Ellie Reeves when she asked for help after an angry local member tried to table a no-confidence vote in her. In fact, as the SKWAWKBOX revealed, Corbyn had engaged ‘throughout’ – and the motion had been withdrawn.
6. The phantom Brexit policy
When Labour agreed a revised Brexit policy, the media leaped to portray it as containing a commitment to campaign for remain in any new referendum. It didn’t.
5. The Panorama ‘legal letters’
In the run-up to the much touted and now discredited Panorama hatchet-job on Labour’s leadership, the media claimed that Labour’s lawyers had sent letters to supposed whistleblowers warning them of their obligations under ‘non-disclosure agreements’. In fact, the letters were three months old – and the dates had been blacked out in the copies published by the media.
4. An embarrassing admission
As the media talked up the contents and significance of the Panorama hatchet-job, the SKWAWKBOX obtained early details about its contents – and showed it was embarrassingly thin and misleading.
3. A tissue (paper) of misdirection
The SKWAWKBOX showed that one of the former senior staff who appeared on the programme to attack the party had stated frankly that he had no interest in getting Labour into government – only in getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn and Corbyn’s supporters so he and his allies could have their party back.
2. The Great Shredding
As the media continued to regurgitate smears about Labour’s ‘failure’ to deal with antisemitism complaints, the SKWAWKBOX revealed exclusively that departing right-wing staff had shredded thousands of documents relating to such cases, impeding Labour’s ability to deal with them quickly – but not before stealing copies to leak to the media.
1. The non-disclosure disclosure
A main plank of the Panorama attack was the claim that the ‘whistleblowers’ were ‘courageously’ breaching NDAs – non-disclosure agreements’ – imposed on them by the Labour Party. Labour’s former general secretary, Iain McNicol, appeared personally on the programme to bolster the impression and attack the party.
But, as the SKWAWKBOX exclusively revealed, it was McNicol himself who had arranged the NDAs – and in the process enriched his departing allies by hundreds of thousands of pounds.
On top of these specific examples of exposed fake news, the SKWAWKBOX also exposed the continuing actions of the Establishment inside and outside the Labour Party and the misdeeds of the Tories – and gave exclusive warning to Labour members to start preparing to ‘trigger’ their MP or defend those they are happy with.
One example of genuine news in the mainstream occurred when the Mirror featured Boris Johnson’s vile outburst toward the families of victims of the ‘7/7’ terrorist attacks – but the paper claimed it as an exclusive when the SKWAWKBOX had broken it more than two weeks earlier.
The blog also saw a complaint by unhappy Labour deputy leader Tom Watson rejected entirely by press regulator IMPRESS – and received a green approval rating from news reliability service Newsguard, to the frustration of those attempting to dismiss revelations as ‘fake news’.
In all these ways and more, the SKWAWKBOX continues to help create a more honest political landscape and narrative – and to change outcomes for the better.
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