It’s in the Times.

Last week a detailed report into three stories ‘researched’ and written by Andrew Norfolk, the Times’ chief investigative reporter, was published, all of which involved Islam or Muslims, painted them in the worst possible light and demonstrated negligence about making sure of basic facts. One was the notorious Muslim foster care case from August 2017, about which the report reveals that Norfolk was advised by an expert not to touch the story as the details “didn’t ring true” but published it anyway; the others involve a Muslim-run charity in Yorkshire called Just Yorkshire which closed as a result of an inaccurate story by Norfolk in the Times, and the rapist (of Pakistani origin) supposedly given visitation rights to the child he fathered with his victim, which was not true, but what was done was in keeping with official guidelines (right or wrong as these may be). The report, by journalists Brian Cathcart (also a professor at Kingston University in London) and Paddy French, can be found in PDF form here at the Hacking Inquiry website.

A front page from The Times, with the headline "Corbyn too frail to be PM, fears civil service".
Today’s Times front page

Talking of stuff that doesn’t ring true … the same paper had a story in today’s edition in which unnamed civil servants are alleged to speculate that Jeremy Corbyn is likely to have to step down before very long for health reasons, that he is too frail to be Labour leader, let alone prime minister, and that he is being “propped up” by his inner circle. People who actually know him say he runs every day and cycles regularly. Corbyn is 70 years old and while that is certainly not young, it is not extremely old by today’s standards, it is a good 15 years short of average male life expectancy, and lots of people that age are not frail nowadays. The idea of his being a ‘stooge’ and that the real power will lie with advisors or other shadowy figures is a classic trope of fear-mongering about the Left; think of the suggestions that “union bosses” (really elected leaders) will enter 10 Downing Street by the back door and call the shots, as was routinely alleged during Neil Kinnock’s time as Labour leader. Civil servants are not allowed to openly make commentary about politics; they are supposed to be neutral and to serve whoever is in government.

I’ve made no secret of my reservations about Corbyn. But this is classic right-wing fear mongering from the Murdoch press. The biggest cause to doubt this story is the masthead it appears under. It’s in the Times, a paper notorious for shoddy or malicious reporting which uses its past reputation as a cover.

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