Cast your minds back to last year when the results of the Labour leadership contest were imminent. BBC Panorama broadcast an anti-Corbyn documentary called ‘Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s Earthquake’ – which was meant to be about the reasons behind the shock rise of an anti-establishment, anti-austerity candidate. Instead, a source in Corbyn’s camp accused the episode of being a “complete hatchet job” that contained a shocking level of inaccuracies and mistruths.
It was so poorly received by those backing Corbyn that the BBC actually outright refused to reveal the number of complaints it had received about the show. My guess is that it was in the tens of thousands.
Of course, the programme was not made by the BBC, but a private production company called Films of Record. However, EvolvePolitics can reveal that the same production company and executive producer, Neil Grant, are responsible for the up and coming Channel 4 Dispatches documentary ‘The Battle for the Labour Party’.
What makes this story interesting is that the Managing Director of Films of Record, Neil Grant, used to be a Labour CLP chair and political researcher for Ken Livingstone. Grant has not spoken to Livingstone in twenty years after an apparent falling out. When questioned on Livingstone, Grant said “Ken is not the person I remember. It’s very sad for me.”
Due for broadcast today, the Dispatches documentary has already been lambasted for targeting Momentum, a group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in the wake of his victory last September. A spokesman for Momentum has claimed that the documentary contains a plethora of slurs and inaccuracies, and laughed off attempts by Channel 4’s Dispatches and Films of Record to try and find evidence of a serious entryism plot. According to Momentum, “the programme has failed to do so because no such plot exists.”
Moreover, Momentum claim that other allegations levelled at them and the Jeremy For Labour leadership campaign in the documentary are “matters of opinion which will raise more concerns about the impartiality of the broadcaster than anything else.”
There is no crime here other than a crime against investigative journalism, but it appears this production company is specialising in Labour Party hit jobs, timing them perfectly for when all eyes are on Labour – ahead of leadership election results. What will leave viewers questioning the legitimacy of these documentaries is that both programmes have been castigated for inaccurate reporting that intentionally and undeservedly portrays Corbyn and those associated with him in a negative light.
Don’t expect much balance in your Monday night viewing, folks.