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Editor attacks ‘racists’ spreading ‘fake news’ about weekly after Tommy Robinson visit

Andrew MosleyAn editor has accused “racist” Facebook commenters of spreading “fake news” about his newspaper by suggesting it was party to covering-up a child sex abuse scandal.

Rotherham Advertiser editor Andrew Mosley has hit out at “keyboard warriors” who have falsely suggested his paper had colluded with the government or Rotherham Council – and even that it was paid not to report certain details of recent child sex abuse trials in the town.

The comments came after a recent visit to Rotherham by the right-wing actvisit Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, in which he claimed the “true details” of such trials were not being heard due to reporting restrictions being put in place.

Andrew, left, criticised Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s comments as “offensive and wrong” in an editorial published last week, prompting the social media reaction.

How the Advertiser initially covered Yaxley-Lennon's visit

How the Advertiser initially covered Yaxley-Lennon’s visit

Rotherham

Some of the reaction that appeared on Facebook in the wake of Andrew’s piece

Now Andrew is to take up the issue again in a follow-up editorial, to be published in this week’s Advertiser due out tomorrow.

He writes: “There has been a strong reaction to a number of stories that have appeared in the Advertiser, on our website and social media over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, on Facebook and Twitter many of the comments made were wide of the mark, unsubstantiated, contained completely false information presented as fact and in many cases were racist.

“As a strong supporter of free speech the Advertiser does not, as a norm, seek to ban people from commenting or stop them from accessing material and entering into debate with other readers.

“What we cannot accept, however, is racism, libel and abuse, whoever it is directed at.

Andrew said the Advertiser had attempted to explain what it had and had not been allowed to print during its coverage of recent trials resulting from Operation Stovewood, the investigation into non-familial child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

He went on: “These are not laws invented to cover up what has been happening, but to make sure a trial can go ahead without prejudice and to offer protection to victims as well as those in the dock who may not yet have made a plea.

“Some chose to say we were in collusion with the Government and/or the council and even that we were paid to not report certain aspects of trials due to political sensitivity. Others chose to comment that because we did not think a visit from Tommy Robinson was the answer to any of this town’s problems we were on the side of child abusers, which is just stupid.

“If some of the outrageous claims had been made by us about another business we would, quite rightly, be sued. It is easy to understand why people are angry and that they want someone to blame for whatever has upset them and they also want a cheerleader.

The Attorney General is currently considering whether to pursue a Contempt of Court case against Mr Yaxley-Lennon, after he was accused of breaking a blanket reporting restriction on a series of linked grooming gang trials in Leeds with a Facebook Live video in May.

Mr Yaxley-Lennon was initially imprisoned for the alleged offence, and as reported by HTFP at the time,  Leeds Live court reporter Stephanie Finnegan received rape threats after reporting on his sentencing.

The Court of Appeal later overturned the ruling, and Mr Yaxley-Lennon is currently free on bail, on the condition that he must attend the next hearing where he is required and not approach Leeds Crown Court.

Mr Yaxley-Lennon has recently become an adviser to the leader of UKIP, Gerard Batten, prompting former Birmingham Post and Daily Express political editor Patrick O’Flynn, now an MEP, to quit the party and join the SDP.

9 comments

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  • November 29, 2018 at 9:09 am
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    Commenter Eddie McGrail is right though, there is a real muslin threat in this country. We need a heavier weave and we need it NOW!

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  • November 29, 2018 at 11:00 am
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    I suppose a muslin threat is at its most likely at this time of year, what with all those Christmas puddings being prepared …

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  • November 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm
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    I reckon it’s curtains for Tommy Robinson.

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  • November 29, 2018 at 9:12 pm
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    Isn’t the issue more about local papers now not having the staff and resources to cover big stories like this properly as well as struggling financially to a point where editorial independence may suffer?
    If I remember in a previous article, the Rotherham Advertiser received criticism for not breaking this major story right on their patch (the Times broke it) and also for taking £12k of advertising from the council who may have had a vested interest in hushing it up.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 8:09 am
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    In 2014 I published “Easy Meat” the first (and only) book dissecting this national cover-up.

    The earliest known case matching the pattern of these grooming crimes (non-Muslim schoolgirls groomed and prostituted by gangs who are ovewhelmingly men who are Muslims) resulted in convictions for Muslims who were Pakistanis, Arabs, etc. This trial occurred in Rotherham in 1975.

    From 1975 to 2014, this entire scandal was ignored and when not ignored denied by any official group who spoke of it (in 2010 the Muslim Council of Britain was still describing it as “a racist myth”, yet just two years later the highest religious authority of the MCB was called to testify before Parliament – no other religious leader was called to testify).

    This “industrial scale” crime wave has gone on for decades. If the Rotherham media want to claim they were not involved in a cover-up then let them explain why they were silent between 1975 and 2010 about the “industrial scale” rape of schoolgirls going on in their area. Local newspapers usually have nothing much of interest to report. Yet here was the greatest childcare scandal in Britain in 100 years going on under their noses, and year after year they said nothing about it.

    In my book I show how there were virtually no prosecutions between 1997 and 2009. In that later year and subsequently these prosecutions rocketed. There is no other explanation for the sudden attempt to apply the laws which the police had been instructed to ignore for decades, except for Tommy Robinson creating the EDL in 2009. From early 2009 those monthly marches by thousands of working-class men across England (some of which descended into riots) are the only explanation for the police and courts doing a 180 degree turn and stop ignoring these rape gangs.

    The first ever interview with Tommy Robinson on BBC was on Newsnight in November 2009. In that interview (still to be found on the BBC website), Tommy Robinson is surrounded by black members of the EDL and signage opposed to racism. Robinson burns a Swastika flag and denounces Nazism. I’d suggest that those referring to him as “racist” and “far right” are the people who should consider who is committing libel.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 10:34 am
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    Cannot recommend highly enough for people to read Peter’s book, it is a REAL eye opener. The Rotherham Advertiser is absolutely shameless. Oh and for you armchair critics of Tommy Robinson (you know who you are, you begin every article/post with ‘…whose real name is….), read his book ‘Enemy of the State’. If you haven’t, and until you do, don’t comment on the guy.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 11:44 am
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    “From 1975 to 2014, this entire scandal was ignored and when not ignored denied by any official group who spoke of it”.
    If that’s an example of the rigorous fact-checking that went into your book, it’s not a great recommendation.
    I worked for a local authority in 2010-11 that was working closely with the police on a similar grooming case. It neither ignored the issue nor denied it, it simply refused to feed into rabid anti-Muslim rhetoric surrounding the case that simplistically implied the whole ethnic community concerned was responsible for grooming and sexual abuse.
    I’ve also tried to engage with similar bandwagon jumpers peddling false news on Facebook about the scale of the issue, the number of trials and the “fight for justice” being carried out by Yaxley-Lennon. I’ve asked for details of the trials going on in areas where I’m connected to and been told “I don’t have time to list them or find out the details, there’s just loads of them”.
    Still, I’ll give you this, your PR department is getting a little more sophisticated – another warning sign about what happens when the big publishers decimate their local and regional newsrooms and pressure groups with vested interests rush in to fill the void.
    Never have we needed disinterested, professional media more urgently.

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  • November 30, 2018 at 7:13 pm
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    Lyetownmax: How do you ratify your muslin stance with the strong clootie dumpling explosion, especially at this time of year?

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  • December 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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    It’s alarming to read that there are racist comments here with poisonous content.

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