After The Sun faced widespread condemnation for its response to the Manchester bombing, another paper owned by Rupert Murdoch is under fire.
— Gerry Hassan (@GerryHassan) May 25, 2017
In a Times piece about the tragedy, Iain Martin accused [paywall] Jeremy Corbyn of pretending to be upset that British children had died. He spoke of “Corbyn’s crocodile tears about terror”.
On social media, people condemned the accusation:
Accusing someone of crocodile tears over the deaths of kids is pretty nasty tbqh
— Gopaśuḥ (@gwouspekus) May 25, 2017
Martin also claimed [paywall] Corbyn is not on the “same side” as the rest of the country. Rather, Martin writes that the Labour leader sides with “this country’s enemies” and people who say “we deserve” the horrific attack in which 22 mainly young people died.
The article offers no evidence or quotation to support its vitriol. When it comes to smearing Corbyn, the data shows that the truth tends to take the backseat for the UK press. And it looks like even the Manchester bombing isn’t out of bounds.
Martin argues [paywall] that political discussion about Britain’s security policies is the most “relevant topic” after a horrendous violent, political crime. That’s true. But Martin conflates Corbyn’s valid criticisms of UK foreign policy, such as the invasion of Iraq, with support for the suicide bomber in Manchester. Critics have pointed out that’s not a productive debate. That looks like exploiting the tragedy in Manchester to smear a political opponent. Especially when the Joint Intelligence Committee warned Tony Blair in 2003 that invading Iraq would increase the risk of terrorism in the UK:
The threat from Al Qaida will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq… The worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly.
It will set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression, and the misery of future generations.
As The Canary reported, Corbyn will hammer this point home in a crucial speech on 26 May:
We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.
That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions. But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.
The article not only misrepresents Corbyn’s view, but also suppresses the Labour leader’s history of supporting peace and negotiation. For example, Corbyn received the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award in 2013. He obtained the prestigious award in recognition of his “consistent efforts over a 30 year Parliamentary career to uphold the Gandhian values of social justice and non‐violence”.
People on social media, meanwhile, rejected Martin’s notion that Corbyn is not “patriotic”:
Theresa May drove nurses into foodbanks, soldiers into homelessness & children into hunger. Corbyn is a truer patriot than she'll ever be. pic.twitter.com/RCdrqbU3Hq
— Hicham Yezza (@HichamYezza) May 25, 2017
Not only has Theresa May forced nurses to use food banks, but the Police Federation says officers have also resorted to using food banks under the Conservative government.
So it’s quite incredible that The Times column argues Corbyn is the threat to national security. The Conservatives have abjectly failed to properly resource our emergency services.
Martin unashamedly tries to paint Corbyn as siding with the suicide bomber in the Times piece. The growing exploitation of the tragedy to smear Corbyn should be utterly condemned.
– For more coverage of the 22 May attack, see here.
– Take action with Stop Funding Hate.
– Read and support independent media outlets that hold the powerful to account:
The Canary, Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Red Pepper, New Internationalist, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella Caledonia, Vox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine,The Bristol Cable, The Meteor, Salford Star, The Ferret.
Featured image via YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?