As the media falls silent on his attack, Rachel Riley is accused of insinuating Corbyn is a ‘Nazi’

Jeremy Corbyn, a fried egg and Rachel Riley
Joshua Funnell

On 3 March Jeremy Corbyn was assaulted outside Finsbury Park Mosque. But not everyone is taking it seriously. And after responding to the attack, Countdown’s Rachel Riley has been accused of insinuating Corbyn is a Nazi.

The media’s silence on the attack has also been deafening. This suggests bias against the leader of the opposition and hypocrisy when it comes to political violence and abuse.

More than just an egg thrown

Where the assault has been reported, it has been minimised to just an egg-throwing incident:

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But as journalist Jessica Elgot reported, the incident was more serious:

And as Skwawkbox has since reported, a Labour Party source has confirmed:

It was an attempt to punch him in the face not just egg him, but thank God little contact was made. Jeremy was shaken but not injured.

Skwawkbox further noted:

The incident took place at the Finsbury Park Mosque – the same mosque attacked by right-wing terrorist Darren Osborne, who admitted he had hoped to kill Corbyn.

And yet despite this serious context in which the attack took place, the media has stayed relatively silent. On both the attack and the subsequent slur.

This raises a simple question: why isn’t the media taking the issue seriously? After all, when then-Conservative MP Anna Soubry was called a “Nazi” and intimidated outside parliament, there was wall to wall coverage and commentary for days.

Rachel Riley goes too far

One person accused of mocking the incident is Rachel Riley. Riley is an outspoken critic of Labour’s alleged antisemitism and a presenter on Channel 4‘s Countdown.

But Riley has provoked fury on social media for tweeting the following:

Riley was presumably critiquing perceived hypocrisy over political violence, such as egg throwing. The red rose and egg emojis were a clear reference to the Labour leader reportedly being struck by an egg.

But people were unimpressed. Especially as Jones’s original tweet concerned an actual fascist and former leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin.

As the mainstream media watchdog Media Lens summarised:

And Owen Jones of the Guardian claimed that Riley was, “de facto” calling Corbyn a Nazi:

Why the media silence?

Riley aside, the wider mainstream media ignoring the details of the attack has been revealing. Particularly considering the moral outrage expressed at the abuse suffered by other politicians recently. Yet again, this is a clear example of the media’s double standards when it comes to Labour.

As former spokesperson for Corbyn, Matt Zarb-Cousin tweeted:

And as writer Afua Hirsch commented:

Member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Huda Elmi, condemned the silence across politics:

The media’s complicity

The media has a duty to report the attack and condemn it. Especially considering the documented trend of UK media relentlessly promoting negative stories against Corbyn. Hostility towards him is largely its creation.

As one Twitter user added:

Others are now genuinely concerned about Corbyn’s safety:

And this is no laughing matter. At least one Twitter user has suggested Corbyn should be assassinated:

Jones was damning in his assessment that the media whips up hostility against the left generally:

Dangerous and needs to be challenged

Last week the media showed its hypocrisy regarding racism. Its obsessive treatment of Labour antisemitism contrasts with its near silence on Conservative Party Islamophobia. This week it’s selective outrage regarding abuse against politicians.

We live in a media culture saturated by smears and negative narratives about Corbyn. And so it’s unsurprising that a media that thinks him such a villain equally thinks him unworthy of compassion and concern. It’s because of this toxic media culture that people like Riley can make incendiary remarks about Corbyn with impunity.

While the Labour leader operates in such a hostile environment, Labour activists and supporters cannot stress the need to ensure his safety enough.

Featured image via YouTube – ITV News, YouTube – Tasty and YouTube Lorraine.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Silence indeed. I’m watching the persecution of Jeremy Corbyn by the antisemitic league which has to be the most bizzare drama one could imagine. The facts listed by Frea Lockley about Corbyn being innocent of this slander tell the truth. The same silence as when the jews were being persecuted by Hitler? Its politically motivated as well. Everyone is looking about what is happening to Venezuala when they ought to be noticing the dark money behind the Future Britian illegal funding, and the utter disintegration of the English political class. Fractious and lacking any clear direction on how to solve anything of importance as with Brexit.
      People I sense feel they voted in vain, and if the populace isn’t allowed an election until 2021 as deemed an appropriate time by Theresa May, this class won’t survive. I don’t know why I don’t think the electorate are simple minded dolts willing to suffer endlessly through the games this political class plays upon them.
      It’s a future news item I’m sure.

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