Law Reform,  UK Politics

Mirror’s Labour Spin Fail

The Mirror is so outraged by Ken Clarke’s suggestion that even for the crime of rape there are degrees of seriousness that it has published information on, well, five of the most serious rape cases.

Describing these rapists as “evil” it details their vicious crimes. But it is clear that The Mirror did not choose these cases at random – something it would only have been able to do if it genuinely believed that all cases were equally “evil”. It chose these cases because of the chilling details – in other words, because of the “seriousness”.

Of course The Mirror does believe that some cases are more serious than others.

Last month The Mirror expressed outrage that a rape trial had to be interrupted because the defendant needed a special cushion for his piles:

Michael Roberts, accused of serious sex offences against four elderly women – including rape – has third-degree piles, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Serious sex offences? By using the word “serious” is The Mirror suggesting that some sex offences – including rape – are not serious?

Of course it isn’t. That would be a silly accusation based on a petty and pedantic reading of what they said. Any reasonable person can see they mean that – within the context of the serious crime of rape – this case was a very serious one.

But having used precisely the same adjectival form, the tabloid proceeds to twist the meaning of the justice secretary. The Mirror has stated that: “The Justice Secretary’s job was already on the line after he questioned whether date rape was a serious crime.”

This is a lie. Saying that some rapes are more serious than others is – as demonstrated above – not the same as saying that less violent rapes are not serious crimes. Of course The Mirror knows this. So does The Guardian. So does The Daily Mail and so does Ed Miliband. But they’re all prepared to collude in a lie because – they think – it is politically beneficial to incite a Salem-style hysteria.

Perhaps it is. Perhaps this is the way the Labour Party’s current leadership think they can win back power. If this is the case, then I hope they fail. Who wants a government that operates like this – with such contempt for the truth and such contempt for the public? Some within the party want no part of this either.

The Mirror is a tabloid newspaper. That’s its in-built excuse. What is the Labour leadership’s excuse?

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