The Sun‘s new deputy political editor Matt Dathan spread a false story about Diane Abbott on 28 October. Within minutes of him sharing it, the story had backfired.
That’s not a good look for the newly-installed deputy.
Dathan made the claim about Abbott in a tweet:
That full Diane Abbott quote at Shadow Cabinet according to one in the room was: “The PLP were in the tea room and my office crying about an election saying Jeremy should stand down in 2017. So frankly the PLP can go fuck themselves."
— Matt Dathan (@matt_dathan) October 28, 2019
So Dathan claimed that someone “in the room” at a shadow cabinet meeting told him Abbott “tore into” Labour MPs who are against a general election. The source apparently claimed the shadow home secretary raised MPs’ behaviour during the 2017 election and said the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), i.e. MPs, can “go fuck themselves”.
Unfortunately for Dathan, within minutes Abbott showed that he’d shared an absolute howler. She took to Twitter and explained what she’d actually said, which the Guardian‘s deputy political editor appeared to have picked up largely intact:
What I actually said in Shadow Cabinet today, "in the run-up to 2017 election, some Labour MPs were crying in my office and in the tearoom as if it's a f***ing funeral, saying Jeremy should stand down, then they all got re-elected with increased majorities" https://t.co/dxWI05d5U4
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) October 28, 2019
As Abbott pointed out, what she said was that, ahead of the 2017 election, some Labour MPs were behaving like “it’s a f***ing funeral” and saying Jeremy Corbyn should resign. But, she said, they “got re-elected with increased majorities”. So her message to the PLP was essentially: ‘an election could yield positive results for us’. It wasn’t: ‘fuck you all’ as the Sun man suggested.
Clearly, Dathan needs to find better sources. Accurate, reliable sources are fundamental to good journalism. That’s something the deputy political editor of a massive outlet should, erm, already know.
— Curious Chak (@Curious_Chak) October 28, 2019
If the PLP would stop whining and get behind the membership (yes, I know they are used to things being the other way around, but, democracy) Labour would get a Blair style landslide
— 🌹John Fielder – #JFC4PM (@JohnFielder1) October 28, 2019
Good on you Diane! pic.twitter.com/FQqOEkx242
— Adele (@bruculino) October 28, 2019
It appears the Sun‘s just appointed a deputy political editor who is willing to quote unnamed, unreliable sources who are only good for taking cheap, bogus shots at the shadow cabinet. Go figure.
Featured image via YouTube – Owen Jones
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.