Saturday 24 March 2018

And on it goes...

Jeremy Corbyn

Hatgate rumbles on and Newswatch covered it for the second week running:
We mentioned on last week's programme complaints that the graphics used in a report and subsequent studio discussion portrayed the Labour leader as a Kremlin stooge with a Russian-style hat that some thought had been digitally altered. Since then, the BBC has received thousands more complaints from those adding their voices to the objection... 
The programme quoted a BBC statement:
Newsnight has a distinctive style, and the pictures sat firmly within its long-running tradition of arresting graphics, applied to all types of stories. The backdrop was used earlier in the year, when the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, was similarly superimposed. Mr Corbyn has been photographed wearing this particular hat and coat many times, and they were not in any way altered or 'photoshopped' to appear 'more Russian'.
And - though not noted by Newswatch - Channel 4's own FactChecks has also cleared Newsnight of photoshopping that hat, saying that "Mr Corbyn’s hat only appeared taller because of a perspective distortion caused by Newsnight’s curved background screen."

But, as Samira Ahmed noted, "many people remained unsatisfied by that explanation", and we got a couple of examples of such complaints:

  • This is disgraceful in the first place, but to then try to deny what you had really done is abhorrent. Who sanctioned this photoshop debacle?
  • A moment of chilling Orwellian propaganda from our state broadcaster, if even there were one. 

'Complaint from both sides', you see. 

And these complaints, even after having been debunked, are still being made by "thousands" of people. 

In other words, the 'side' complaining here is talking conspiratorial nonsense. 


  1. Hmmm...were the BBC covering up the fact that the graphics guys and gals did, as they admitted, tweak the contrast and colour rather significantly which is what makes it end up looking like a Brezhnev number?

  2. They ruined a perfectly clear photo of Corbyn and his hat with their tricksy graphics, turning it into a large black blob with a reddened owner and stripes behind. It reminds me one of those Sunday morning BBC TV discussion programmes - The Big Questions or Andrew Marr? - with background of jarring orange, pink and other coloured stripes. I never watch Newsnight now so I am spared this.
    Whether they did it for purposes of colour theme or political theme, or a bit of both, who knows? If it was for purely visual, non-political effect, it was a poor job on the hat and unfair on the man.

  3. So much fuss over what was basically a political cartoon, albeit with a Photoshopped background, rather than pen and ink - the sort of thing that for any normal politician would just be par for the course. But these Corbynistas are sensitive souls. How dare anyone besmirch the image of saintly mister Corbyn.


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