‘The full statement from the Merseyside Pensioners Association: Anti-Labour smears of Jewish Chronicle exposed by Independent Press Standards’.
Anti-Labour smears of Jewish Chronicle exposed by Independent Press Standards
Merseyside Pensioners Association welcomes the findings of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in upholding the complaint by one of our members against the Jewish Chronicle for publishing smears and falsehoods against Labour activists in Liverpool.
Audrey White, who was nominated as one of BBC Radio 4’s ‘100 most influential women of the century’ (for defending women from sexual abuse in the workplace) was targeted by the Jewish Chronicle with a litany of lies and falsehoods reported by Lee Harpin – an ex-News of the World journalist arrested in connection with the phone-hacking scandal.
Harpin penned four separate articles containing incendiary and unsubstantiated claims discrediting the 68-year-old pensioner and Labour activist from Liverpool, Riverside. IPSO’s committee stated that “the publication’s (Jewish Chronicle) conduct during IPSO’s investigation was also unacceptable” and has been escalated to IPSO’s Standards Department.
The “significantly misleading claims” published by Harpin and the Jewish Chronicle included the accusation that Audrey (and other activists) had ‘bullied’ local MP Louise Ellman by acting as “a group of militants who repeatedly interrupted the MP” during a constituency meeting; as well as claims that Audrey had “lied about her age” to re-join the Labour Party; was previously “expelled from the Labour Party” and a “former member of the Socialist Party.”
Evidence provided to IPSO, including a recording, exposed these reportings to be patently false and “significantly misleading.” Malcolm Kennedy ex-Lord Mayor of Liverpool also fed the smears by ludicrously comparing one Labour constituency meeting to a ‘Soviet show trial’ — audio recordings of the event found that this too was “significantly misleading” and that constituency meetings were not “rowdy” as characterised by the paper.
The Jewish Chronicle also reported that Audrey had made a “false claim” that a local Labour Councillor was under police investigation for taunting a disabled Corbyn-supporting pensioner who suffers from cancer. Evidence from Merseyside Police’s Hate Crime Unit provided to the Press Standards Investigation concluded that it was “not false to make this claim” and that the publication had provided a “serious and misleading impression of Audrey’s conduct towards Labour politicians.” This conclusion is particularly welcomed by our organisation as the “disabled pensioner” is critically acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Phil Maxwell, a valued member of the Merseyside Pensioners Association.
The findings make clear that the reporting of the Jewish Chronicle and journalist Lee Harpin fall far below the professional and ethical standards expected of journalists working today — particularly as pertains to accuracy and fact-checking (the most basic principles of reporting).
Merseyside Pensioners Association has itself been a target of the Jewish Chronicle and we condemn the personal attacks, fake news and fabrications employed by this journal (and others) to peddle the narrative that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has been overrun by ‘militants’ and/or is ‘institutionally anti-Semitic.’ Tragically anti-Semitism continues to exist across society (as well as all major political parties) and politically motivated misreporting of this nature undermines serious efforts to tackle racism in all its forms.
The adjudication in particular exposes the divisive and politically-motivated tactics being used by certain areas of the press and Labour Party to promote the impression that Louise Ellman MP was ‘bullied‘ out of the Labour Party by local activists. Not only does irresponsible journalism like this smear innocent people, it creates division within our communities and tarnishes the reputation of our city (Liverpool) — a city all-too-familiar with the willingness of powerful and unaccountable newspapers to slur ordinary people (without reply).
The MPA congratulates Audrey in persevering with a nine month struggle to clear her name and we look forward to the Jewish Chronicle publishing the remedy as mandated by the ruling. We also ask for a suspension of these kind of politically motivated press-smears against Labour activists, as we fight an election for the Corbyn-led Labour government our country needs.
This is Lee Harpin:
He works at Lee Harpin Associates
and was the Agenda Editor at The Daily Mirror (another paper we all need to boycott).
Interestingly, Harpin was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking while working at the Mirror in 2015 but was never charged. The Crown Prosecution Service dropped its phone hacking investigations into dozens of journalists after concluding there was “insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction”.
He is now the political editor of the Jewish News.
The above explains fully how the Jewish Chronicle and Lee Harpin made up, fabricated and completely mislead its readership about antisemitism in the Labour Riverside constituency. It is a right wing rag that should be avoided by everyone until it remembers what journalism is supposed to be before it was taken over by the dark state.
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