Channel 4’s Cathy Newman is being alarmingly one-sided about political abuse

Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News [Image: from MadNewsUK].

Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News [Image: from MadNewsUK].

Johanna Baxter’s recent tour of the press, in which she spoke of abusive messages she had received as a member of Labour’s ruling NEC, took her to Channel 4’s Cathy Newman, and Ms Newman has written an alarmingly one-sided blog article as a result.

It is right that personal abuse should be highlighted and the perpetrators shamed, because it is not acceptable in any way.

But it isn’t acceptable to suggest that it is only being carried out by one side of a debate when that is not true, as Ms Newman has done.

I have responded to her article on the Channel 4 website, and am also copying that response below. Want to know why?

Because Channel 4 might censor it.

Here it is:

“What a disappointing article!

“While you are right to deplore intimidation of any kind in this debate, it would have been wiser to have noted, for example, the appalling amount of bullying to which Jeremy Corbyn was subjected by the rebels in the Parliamentary Labour Party, who seem to think it’s all right when they’re doing it.

“Have you seen the Twitter account @LabourCoupAbuse, which attempts to record incidents in which people who oppose Jeremy Corbyn abuse his supporters?

“Surely you must have heard the rumour that the Labour Party is scanning social media for members who use certain words to describe the anti-Corbyn element – ‘traitors’, ‘scabs’, and ‘scum’, I believe – in order to take away their vote in the leadership election? Yet it seems no attempt is being made to cancel the votes of anti-Corbyn members who call his supporters “Trots”, “rabble” or “dogs”, to quote some high-visibility examples used by MPs, I believe.

“Here’s another point: NEC members act on behalf of the Labour Party membership and are expected to be accountable to those members. That can’t happen if they vote in secret.

“Yes, it opens them up to unwelcome attention from a certain section of society but that can happen to anybody who has a public life – including TV reporters. I have been a local news reporter – and now a very popular political blogger – for many years and I’ve had more than a few myself. You cannot function in politics without being able to ignore them, or at least treat them with the weight they deserve.

“I reiterate: Abuse of any kind – from either side – is unacceptable.

“Why are you concentrating on only one side of it?”

When I interviewed Johanna Baxter, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, last night, it was clear to me how upset she was about the abuse and intimidation she says she’s received. She’s normally a confident, self-possessed person, but last night she was trembling and holding back tears.

Ms Baxter says she’s received a couple of thousand emails urging her to put Jeremy Corbyn on the leadership ballot – a decision endorsed by the NEC at their meeting this week. What’s disturbed her is how many of those emails were threatening or abusive. She and some of her colleagues feel under siege.

Hence her decision to speak to me on last night’s Channel 4 News. Afterwards, there was a lot of support on Twitter for her. But there were also rather too many abusive tweets aimed both at Ms Baxter and myself for having the temerity to give her a platform. Some of the tweets challenged me and her to produce the evidence of abuse and threatening behaviour.

I haven’t seen all the emails, but the ones I have are nasty enough.

Intimidating, yes. Abusive, yes. Acceptable? Absolutely not.

The backdrop of intimidation aimed particularly at female politicians is alarming. A brick was thrown through the window of Mr Corbyn’s leadership challenger Angela Eagle earlier this week – a fact I put to my Twitter trolls, some of whom then ventured the opinion that Ms Eagle had set the whole thing up. Many MPs have been badly shaken after the death of the Labour backbencher Jo Cox last month. And now routine abuse online is generating a climate of fear.

Source: Labour leadership must stand up to intimidation and abuse | Cathy Newman


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6 thoughts on “Channel 4’s Cathy Newman is being alarmingly one-sided about political abuse

  1. jeffrey davies

    stick and st-ones but they using every con 1trick to rid themselves of a honest man that annoys them and bullying is their problem not jc sides sticks and stones but they own the media ouch jeff3

  2. Jay Holmes

    I find it very telling that, in her response, there was absolutely no mention of the lack of coverage of the massive amount of abuse and bullying of Mr Corbyn and his supporters and her bias in failing to offer a balanced view. The whole issue has stirred up passionate views on both sides and, when huge numbers of people are involved, there will always be a minority of idiots having a go.
    The main issue of M.Ps, our representatives, bullying the elected leader of the party on whichever media outlets airing their views, has not been addressed at all.
    As you have stated in your article, the whole agenda is almost overwhelming biased against Mr Corbyn and any abuse or damage to anybody then the blame is laid at his door. Despite his many protestations to allow everybody to say what they wish, despite his refusal to be drawn into criticism of the horrendous treatment from his own M.Ps and despite his long long record of opposition to any forms of intimidation, violence or bullying of any kind, somehow, as his supporters who value this stance and totally agree with his stance, we have been the ones being labelled as brick throwing bullies!!! It would appear that the NEC have taken a similar view. In stopping the CLP meetings at a time when new membership has gone through the roof, when many of these new members are looking for advice and support on how to practically get involved in ridding the country of this bloody awful Tory government, it shows a dangerous disregard of all of this new and eager support and it also stick up two fingers to the democratic process.
    I fervently hope, as more and more of us are waking up to the horrors of our so called democracy, my children will grow up into a country that is very different to the one my wife and I have endured. To be able to turn on a T.V. or pick up a newspaper and actually have a little confidence that what is being broadcast or written was somewhere near to actual facts would be a good place to start

  3. mohandeer

    So Baxter doesn’t like being told that a legal alternative is being sought to prevent further breaches of democratic policy while the press and right wing activists refer to Corbyn supporters as Trots, rabble and dogs but she gives a screen performance to rival that of Liz Taylor by wrongly representing the legal alternative advisory mention constituting bullying? Goodness gracious me. Far better that the lying and misrepresenting, the name calling and real “bullying” desist forthwith, preferably without propagandist intervention by mudslingers.

  4. Joan Edington

    Your post hasn’t been censored. Neither have all the others who have voiced exactly the same opinion. There would have been no comments at all if Channel 4 had taken that stance.

Comments are closed.