ANDREW NORFOLK

Andrew Norfolk

ROGUE JOURNALIST
ANDREW NORFOLK — one of Britain’s most decorated journalists and the chief investigative reporter of the Times — produces journalism which often has more in common with propaganda than traditional reporting. He’s not above making up facts but his speciality is the manipulation of them.  A new book calls for an inquiry into allegations that some of his reporting betrays an anti-Muslim agenda at the Times.
Photo: Graham Turner for the Guardian

ANDREW NORFOLK becomes the latest reporter to join the Press Gang gallery of rogue journalists. 

His photograph has just been added to the “rogues gallery” that forms part of our masthead.

Norfolk, the chief investigative reporter of the Times, is one of the UK’s most decorated journalists.

In 2013 and 2014 he won three major prizes. 

In February 2013 he won the Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism for his “two year investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenage girls by” by gangs of mainly Pakistani heritage.

In May 2013 he was the joint winner of the Orwell Prize for Journalism for the same body of work. 

In 2014 the British Journalism Awards named him Journalist of the Year for his long-running child abuse investigation. 

These awards confirm what his supporters believe is “a magnificent example of what can be achieved by an ordinary reporter”. 

So why is Andrew Norfolk joining the Press Gang gallery of rogue reporters?

Because many of his child abuse articles are based on deception.

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NORFOLK UNMASKED
THE COVER of the highly critical book written by Press Gang editor Paddy French and Professor Brian Cathcart, one of the founders of the campaign group Hacked Off. The authors spent more than year investigating three of Norfolk’s most recent exposés — and found they didn’t stand up to scrutiny. Norfolk claimed these investigations revealed scandals — the authors conclude they didn’t happen. Norfolk could only justify them by sacrificing basic journalistic principles. The report can be read here.

On Wednesday, 26 June 2019, Unmasked Books published a book written by Press Gang editor Paddy French and Brian Cathcart, one of the founders of Hacked Off.

The 72 page book concludes that three scandals exposéd by Norfolk simply didn’t happen.

The authors believe there is a case to answer that Norfolk’s investigations form part of an anti-Muslim agenda at the Times

Press Gang first realised that Norfolk was a rogue journalist when we examined his sensational 2017 exposé about a Christian child forced into Muslim foster care.

Norfolk concealed evidence that the so-called Christian child actually had a strong Muslim element in her family history.

We concluded that he knew — or should have known — that the claim the little girl was a “Christian” was a gross distortion of the truth.

Even the tame press watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), couldn’t stomach some of his coverage of this issue.

IPSO — funded by newspapers including the Times — criticised the paper for distorting family court findings.

But it was the judiciary which revealed the full extent of Norfolk’s manipulation of the truth.

Norfolk and the Times relied on the traditional confidentiality rules of the family courts to protect their rogue journalism. 

The courts were having none of it — and took the highly unusual step of authorising the release of court documents which exposed Norfolk’s shameful journalism. 

Press Gang has dissected Norfolk’s dubious methods in this case in a series of articles entitled The Shame of Andrew Norfolk

They are: 

Part 1: Crusade

Part 2: Hallelujah!

Part 3: Retribution

Part 4: The Ipso Factor

A year after the foster care scandal, Norfolk turned his sights on a small Rotherham-based racial justice charity called Just Yorkshire.

He accused it of publishing a report so critical of the town’s MP Sarah Champion that it led to death threats against her that required extra police security. 

Press Gang joined forces with the charity — our joint investigation forced the Times to admit there were no death threats against Champion …

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FAKE SCANDALS
THE BACK cover of the Unmasked book showing the three front page splashes Norfolk produced in 2017 and 2018. All claimed to expose scandals but turned out to be fake news… Read the full report here.

The scandal is revealed here:

Part 5: A Champion Of Fake News

Press Gang was not the only critic of Norfolk — journalism professor Brian Cathcart, one of the founders of the pressure group Hacked Off, was also taking a close look at the reporter’s work.

He found yet another example of Norfolk’s twisted journalism — a case where a convicted rapist was allegedly invited by a council to take part in the care proceedings involving a child he’d fathered on one of his victims.

Agains, the story didn’t stack up: the council had only done what the family court required in these situations.

By this time, Press Gang editor Paddy French and Professor Cathcart had decided to write a major report on what they considered to be journalism that was a possible threat to race relations in Britain.

The result was Unmasked: Andrew Norfolk, The Times Newspaper and Anti-Muslim Reporting — A Case To Answer. Click here to read the full report.

The authors are calling for an independent inquiry.

The publication of the book — more than 1,000 copies were distributed to all MPs, selected peers and most  media outlets in London — stung the Times into retaliation in an editoria

The paper had never previously responded to Press Gang emails about Norfolk’s journalism.

By an odd coincidence, the Times editorial was headed Press Gang — even though the editorial itself did not mention that Press Gang or editor Paddy French were involved in the report.

An article is in preparation about this editorial which we consider it to be blustering nonsense.

In the meantime — and because the paper operates a paywall — we have added the full text here as an appendix. The news item which appeared the same day is also added. 

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© Press Gang
Published: 29 June 2019

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APPENDIX

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27 June 2019

PRESS GANG

Politically motivated campaigners are trying to smear and suppress fine reporting

The Times journalist Andrew Norfolk has become the target of an extraordinary personal attack. A 72-page pamphlet, co-authored by a founder of the campaign group Hacked Off, accuses Norfolk of writing articles that “tended to encourage fear of Muslims”, and of breaching standards of professional conduct and ethics. This is a mischievous and ideologically motivated attempt to smear a reporter long recognised as one of the bravest and most scrupulous in his field.

The attackers have form. When Norfolk revealed for the first time the systematic sexual abuse of white teenagers by men of mainly Pakistani background in Rotherham and other northern towns, he also revealed the complicity of social workers, police and local councillors who failed to stop the grooming. They failed for fear of being accused of racism. That fear proved deeply entrenched.

Norfolk’s work was eventually honoured with the Orwell Prize, the Paul Foot Award and with journalist of the year awards, but not before it had been fiercely disparaged by groups determined to recast the story in terms of Islamophobia. Norfolk’s critics fell silent only when overwhelming evidence emerged in the press, courts and public inquiries that forced the country to confront a deeply rooted pattern of criminal behaviour with a clear ethnic component.

This week’s report focuses on three stories covered by Norfolk in 2017 and last year. All concerned matters of significant public interest. Two examined possible failures of care by local authorities while the third considered the conduct of a charity. Two articles were the subject of complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), the regulatory body to which the Times belongs.

Ipso properly declined to consider complaints that were politically motivated and from people in no position to know the facts. Complaints from interested and informed parties — a local authority and the charity — were investigated by Ipso’s complaints committee. The Times was found to have breached the Editors’ Code on one point in each case; other points of complaint were dismissed. The Times accepted the regulator’s decisions and took the remedial action required.

The groups behind this latest attack on Norfolk are campaigners for what they tendentiously call “reform” of the media. By this, they mean statutory regulation and the suppression of content at odds with their own narrow agenda. Implacably hostile to independent self-regulation embodied by Ipso, most would force the press to sign up instead to the state-approved regulator Impress, funded by Max Mosley. In the words of one contributor to the new report, to criticise their thinking — in opinion columns or in a leading article such as this — is to provide “an editorial bedrock for news reporting that characterises Muslims as extreme, intolerant and threatening [and to] support it as brave and necessary even when it takes place against a background of rising hate crime”. That argument is as false as it is dangerous.

Though the authors hedge their invective with caveats, the intent is clear. It is to deter and hamstring journalists from investigating controversial stories. In an era when news risks being obscured by propaganda, it is vital that sensitive issues be debated rather than suppressed. Above all, honest reporting needs defending. We unhesitatingly defend it in the case of our own reporters, on whom our readers are entitled to rely.

News Article

Times defends its reporter after ‘anti‑Muslim’ charge

Matthew Moore, Media Correspondent

The Times has strongly defended its reporting after criticism from the founder of an anti-press campaign group.

Brian Cathcart, professor of journalism at Kingston University, released a report yesterday challenging the accuracy of three series of articles published in 2017 and last year. He accused the Times of “anti-Muslim reporting”.

The articles were written by Andrew Norfolk, the award-winning chief investigative reporter who uncovered the Rotherham child grooming scandal.

Norfolk won the Orwell Prize for journalism and the Paul Foot Award in 2013 for his two-year investigation into the exploitation of teenage girls by gangs of men, who were mostly from the town’s Pakistani community.

Theresa May praised his reports exposing widespread sexual abuse of vulnerable young women in the north. They resulted in an increase in prosecutions and a new national action plan to tackle child exploitation.

Two of the articles highlighted by Professor Cathcart were the subject of rulings from Ipso, the independent press regulator. The Times published a front-page correction in May last year after an adverse ruling by Ipso over coverage of a family court in the case of a Christian girl placed with Muslim foster carers. The regulator required no action in relation to a second story about death threats against an MP who had condemned sex grooming gangs, after a misleading headline was quickly corrected.

Professor Cathcart is the co-founder of Hacked Off, the press reform campaign group, and has been an out-spoken critic of newspapers. His work at Kingston University, in southwest London, has been part-funded by donations from family trusts connected to Max Mosley, the former F1 boss.

A spokeswoman for the Times said: “We abide by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) and the Editors’ Code of Practice that Ipso enforces. We are legally responsible for what we publish and therefore we take great care to report accurately. If we are found to have made errors we correct them swiftly and run any Ipso adjudications prominently in our editions.”

ENDS

 

 

 

 

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