Yesterday, I saw the following news headline: “Corbyn Loses It With Female LBC Journalist.” LBC is a radio station in London, and according to this headline, Jeremy Corbyn lost it with one of their journalists. If you were merely taking a cursory look at the news, perhaps just skim reading through the headlines, then you might be forgiven for imagining some sort of bust-up, raised voices, possibly some swearing and some invective. After all, Corbyn apparently “loses it.”
So yesterday morning, a journalist waited outside Jeremy Corbyn’s front door in order to get some comments from him about the whole Cameron panama tax debacle. Corbyn has been clear from the start about not wanting to do interviews on his doorstep. Some people, including lots of wining journalists, claim that being doorstepped is part of the territory, and that if he doesn’t like it then he shouldn’t be a politician and leader of the opposition. But who decided this? Do you honestly think that when thousands of people signed up as labour members in order to vote Jeremy Corbyn in as labour leader, they were doing so because they were looking forward to watching what he had to say on his doorstep to a ragtag band of mediocre journalists, first thing in the morning, only half an hour after waking up? I don’t think anyone voted Corbyn in for that reason. I don’t recall doorsteps ever being mentioned by Corbyn or any of his supporters. So when these journalists declare that it’s part of the territory, they are simply throwing their toys out of the pram because Corbyn is not willing to play ball.
I think it’s fair to say that giving interviews is part of the territory for a politician, but I’m not at all convinced of the efficacy of conducting an interview with someone who’s still bleary-eyed and sleepy, having only just got out of bed half an hour ago. Although in Corbyn’s case he’s probably been up and about a bit longer than that, because obviously before he leaves the house he has to go through an arduous rigmarole of choosing his clothes for the day, being the fashion icon that he is (hahahah! Satire).
Surely it’s best to wait until he’s had a few minutes to digest the news, take stock of what’s going on, maybe have a cup of coffee and then consider his position and what he’d like to say before he says it? Then we’d actually get to hear a considered and well thought out approach to what’s going on, rather than a first-thing-in-the-morning, impulsive comment. Who’s that really benefiting? The answer is obvious: the journalists. That’s it.
It’s not as if Jeremy has refused to talk about David Cameron’s offshore affairs; he has released statements about it on labour’s website, mentioned it on Twitter, and spoken to journalists on his own volition in a more conducive environment for an interview, so it’s not as if we’re deprived of Corbyn’s thoughts about this.
“It took five weasel-worded statements in five days for the Prime Minister to admit that he has personally profited from an undeclared Caribbean tax haven investment deal. His determination to conceal that arrangement over many years raises serious questions over public trust in his office and his willingness to be straight with the public. Tolerance of tax avoidance and tax havens, and inaction on tax evasion, is denying funds to the public purse and leads directly to cuts in services and benefits that are hurting millions of people in Britain. The Prime Minister has lost the trust of the British people. He must now give a full account of all his private financial dealings and make a statement to Parliament next week. Only complete openness from the Prime Minister, and decisive action against tax avoidance and evasion, can now deal with the issues at the heart of this scandal.”
That’s what Jeremy Corbyn had to say mere hours after the LBC journalist doorstepped him, which I think is a pretty comprehensive and well-considered statement, much better than I’d imagine he’d have managed to come up with first thing in the morning, half an hour after waking up, upon leaving the house to be confronted by a woman baring a microphone and a camera.
If Jeremy Corbyn agreed to make a statement outside his house then it would be setting a precedent, giving journalists the notion that doorstepping him might yield positive results, and therefore more of them would camp outside his house, waiting for him to leave. So I think it’s perfectly logical and well within his rights to deny having interviews thrust upon him whenever a journalist fancies it.
Who decided that politicians are fair gain for this kind of harassment? Journalists are condemning Corbyn as if he’s breaking some kind of rule by his refusal to do unscheduled interviews with journalists outside his front door, but there isn’t actually any such rule. Maybe it’s time for the politicians to retaliate, and camp outside these wining journalists’ houses and harass them first thing in the morning, asking them to give them some sensationalist headlines on the spot, or to take some quotes out of context, without being given any prior warning. Any journalist who refuses to comply will be named and shamed at Prime Minister’s Questions.
So I clicked on the video and braced myself. I was expecting to hear Corbyn hurling abuse at the journalist, perhaps even physically assaulting her. After all, the headline said that “Corbyn loses it with female journalist.” I also read another headline on another website which said, “Jeremy Corbyn criticised over doorstep spat with LBC,” so I was expecting quite a bit of hostility to be coming from Corbyn, giving the terms “loses it” and “spat.” I also read various people’s comments. One of the commenters saw the clip and commented: “He’s a deeply unpleasant cunt with a serious anger management problem. Typical of thin men with goatee beards.” The commenter’s sensationalist, over-the-top, outlandish generalising betrays the fact that they are probably a wining journalist who believes that harassing people outside their front doors is their right and perfectly acceptable. It also seems a bit rich for this person to suggest that Corbyn has anger management issues, given that they call him a “cunt” and seems rather pissed off by all thin people with goatees.
So I pressed play on the video and prepared myself for the verbal, and maybe even physical onslaught.
As soon as Corbyn leaves his house the journalist is upon him. “Mr Corbyn, what is your reaction to …” she begins.
“Good morning everybody,” says Corbyn to the people outside his house. If you’ve not seen or heard this clip then you might be thinking, “good morning everybody? That doesn’t sound like he’s losing it. Presumably he must have said “good morning everybody” really aggressively, perhaps spitting the words out directly into the journalist’s face.” But no, I think it’s safe to say that his “good morning everybody” sounds perfectly pleasant, given the fact that he’s just opened his door and is being confronted by some annoying journalist.
The journalist says “good morning” back, and then continues to ask her question. Corbyn interupts the journalist, saying, “Thank you very much for coming here, but I don’t do interviews under any circumstances. Put it away please,” referring to the camera. The clip then ends.
I was stunned. This was apparently a clip of Corbyn losing it with a female journalist, but the whole thing seemed perfectly tame to me. There were 22 words spoken by Corbyn, which included, “good morning,” “Thank you very much” and “please,” words which I wouldn’t say are the hallmarks of someone losing it.
But the commenter who saw this clip said that “He’s a deeply unpleasant cunt with a serious anger management problem.” I must be missing something. Being blind, I couldn’t see the visual aspect of the video. Even though the audio sounds perfectly tame and polite, Corbyn must do something visually to justify the statement “loses it.” Maybe while he’s saying “good morning everybody, thank you very much for coming,” Corbyn is actually pushing the woman to the ground and starts punching her in the face. Yes, that must be it, hence the statement, “Corbyn loses it with female journalist.”
I played the video to my dad. I warned him in advance that there might be scenes containing violence, thinking that it would be best to prepare him for Corbyn’s savage physical assault on this poor “female journalist.” But when he watched it he merely informed me that Corbyn looks perfectly at ease and the only physical contact with the female journalist is to push her camera away from him as he says “put it away please.” That was it.
So let’s have a look at this headline once again and let’s see how accurate it really is. After all, it’s important that we scrutinise the work of journalists intensely, given that they passionately believe in getting to the truth and scrutinising politicians so intensely. It seems only fair to hold these journalists to the same standards that they expect of our politicians, does it not?
“Corbyn loses it with female LBC journalist.” The Corbyn bit is accurate; I’ll give them that, welll done. But I think it’s more than a little hyperbolic to suggest that he “looses it.” “Female LBC journalist” is also accurate; well done. But I’m interested in the inclusion of the fact that she’s female. The headline writer must have deemed the journalist’s gender a salient fact, after all, it’s a short headline, so only the key words are needed. It strikes me therefore that the word “female” has been used deliberately, but why? Is it to give people the impression that Corbyn has acted aggressively towards a vulnerable woman? Surely that is the only reason to use the word “female?” Surely if it was a male journalist, the word “male” would never be used in the headline. This headline actually says next to nothing about Corbyn but reveals so much about the journalists we’re dealing with here. Even though the video clip demonstrates nothing that is suggested by the sensationalist headline, they nevertheless choose to use those exact words in order to give people a certain impression and spin a story. They are lying, yet they are the very people who claim to be the ones who have a mission to uncover the truth and unearth lies and corruption. This is such a two-faced attitude, proving that these journalists are acting purely in self-interest rather than for any good.
Back tomorrow with the 101st Dollop. If there are any journalists thinking of trying to get tomorrow’s Dollop from me before I get around to writing it, by doorstepping me first thing in the morning and asking me to come up with that day’s Dollop there and then, don’t waste your time because I will politely decline your interview by thanking you for coming, and saying good morning to you whilst punching you repeatedly in the face, regardless of your gender.