Liddle - the gift that keeps on digging - UPDATED

After defending himself with figures from an article that actually proved him wrong, Rod Liddle has banged out another post about the PCC adjudication against his inaccurate blog post from late last year, headlined 'Why I'm complaining to the PCC'.

His first point is that if he was an ordinary blogger and not one for a magazine that had signed up to the PCC code, he wouldn't have been in trouble. Well, duh.

He follows that up with this doozy:
Second, contrary to what has been written about the adjudication in some areas (and repeated on here), the PCC did NOT accuse me of inaccuracy. It was very careful not to do so.
Right. Not inaccurate. Here's what the PCC said about the adjudication:
...A reader complained that the statement was incorrect.

In concluding that the article was indeed in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice...
So, the PCC ruled that Liddle's post was in breach of the accuracy clause in response to a complaint that said he was incorrect, but was somehow careful not to accuse him of inaccuracy. The who in the what now?

He goes on:
It said that we (The Spectator, but presumably they meant me) had provided some evidence to back up my claim, but had “not been able to demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of crimes in ALL the stated categories had been carried out by members of the Afro-Caribbean community.” Well, that’s a different kettle of fish.
Umm...the PCC said the post breached the accuracy clause of the code, and then said Liddle hadn't been able to demonstrate he was right. Looks mighty like the PCC was saying he was inaccurate to me.

There's more:
As I said before, it offered no alternative sets of stats to the ones I produced (hardly surprising: there aren’t any).
The PCC didn't, but the complainant did for arrests made for violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery.
The implication seems to be that the chief objection was to the word “overwhelming”;
It was, but only in one category of crime in his list - and contrary to Liddle's earlier claims about this referring to 55.1% of young black people accused of knife crime, it was referring to 58% of arrests for robbery.
My suspicion, though, is that the PCC’s judgement was simply a politically correct reflex, exacerbated by its embarrassment over the Jan Moir affair.
Hooray! It's just political correctness! The PCC never said he was inaccurate, except it said the post broke the accuracy clause in response to a complainant who said he had been incorrect and pointed out he couldn't back up his claims - but that's not saying he's inaccurate. Must be political correctness.

Do me a favour.

The end of the piece is the rubbish game referred to in the headline, where Liddle says he's going to complain about a Yasmin Alibhai-Brown piece about the white working classes. It will last about five minutes in adjudication, because it is more clear that we are seeing Alibhai-Brown's opinion here, rather than have her make statements that should be backed up with stats. But it's worth looking at for at least one of Liddle's bizarre claims about it.

He asks:
Can she “demonstrate” that the white working class “vote for fascists”? I thought they tended to vote Labour. Only a couple of hundred thousand people voted BNP at the last election, out of a white working class which consists of at least 20 million people.
He appears either to have missed the point or deliberately quote mined Alibhai-Brown's sentence, which actually says:
...they cry into their antimacassars and threaten to vote for fascists.
I'm reminded of the famous Paxo/Howard interview in reverse. Did you threaten to...?

As much as I don't like the Alibhai-Brown piece for it's simplistic attacks on people from my own background, it's very easy to recognise that she's offering opinion and not making the same sort of claim that Liddle was. So when the complaint inevitably fails, as the Jan Moir debacle that Liddle already mentions suggests it will, Liddle will be able to make claims about how:
...its [the PCC's] judgment in my case was made purely on specious and censorious grounds of political correctness.
It's the last few sentences that reveal exactly how dishonest Liddle is being in his ridiculous game here. He finishes up by saying:
And incidentally, they have already rejected a complaint about her piece on the grounds that she is known for her “trenchant views”. That’s enough, in her case, is it? Let’s try again.
So he knows the PCC has already rejected a complaint because we're talking about opinion only here.

He's chosen something he knows will fail, and knows why it will fail. He's led up to this by making a fanciful claim about not being accused of inaccuracy despite having been found in breach of the PCC clause on accuracy. When his complaint inevitably fails, he will go on to compare apples with oranges by painting the apple orange.

His supporters will lap it up, without knowing about how many complaints about asylum seekers, homosexuals, black people, muslims, immigrants and so on are routinely rejected on the grounds that a third party has complained, or that we're talking about a columnist's opinion.  They'll end up with the frankly bizarre notion that the PCC is somehow politically correct.

Now that's what I call intellectual honesty.

**Update**  The Alibhai-Brown piece was originally complained about under clause 12 (discrimination) of the PCC's code - not clause 1 (accuracy) like Liddle's.  I wonder if Liddle will complain under the accuracy clause, and if so, why he didn't say that in the blog post.  The post where he claims the PCC didn't say he was inaccurate.  Seriously, I wonder why he wouldn't want to draw attention to his earlier post breaching the accuracy clause in this one.

**Another update** Before I started typing this up, I made a comment on the Liddle piece quoting the PCC and offering a link to where it said he'd broken the clause on accuracy.  It hasn't appeared.

**Yet another update**  Having re-read the Alibhai-Brown piece, it's more obvious that it mirrors the sort of article we see all the time about Muslims, which I rather think was the point. 


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The man doesn't know when to stop because he has a myopic fan base that blindly follows him and his cause, wherever it may take them, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

These bigoted postions are not based on fact but prejudice, hence why he'll keep kicking and screaming like a grotesquely deformed child.

merrick said...

Liddle's comments about Alibiah Brown also undermine him in a way you don't pick up on.

As you point out, Alibiah-Brown says white people 'threaten to vote for fascists', while Liddle contends they 'tend to vote Labour'.

A Daily Telegraph poll from last October said 22 percent would 'consider voting BNP'.

22 percent is a sliver more than the percentage of the electorate that voted Labour in the last general election.