Following their latest misleading front-page headline about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, The Sun newspaper have been forced to print a front-page apology and retraction by the UK’s press watchdog.
The headline, published on September 15 alongside a doctored image of Corbyn wearing a court jester’s hat, claimed that the Labour leader “will kiss the Queen’s hand on bended knee in a humiliating personal climbdown”.
It also implied he was a hypocrite for supposedly being willing to join the privy council because his party stood to benefit financially.
However, following a complaint from a former Labour party staff member, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) ruled the paper had made “significantly misleading” claims in its front-page story.
IPSO determined there was not a formal connection between Corbyn’s position on the council and the allocation of funding for opposition parties. The story was deemed to be inaccurate, and in contravention of clause one of the press watchdog’s editorial code.
The Sun issued the apology on their front-page this morning – but blink and you’ll miss this one.
While the original headline took up pretty much the entirety of the front-page, the retraction is tiny and hidden away in the corner of the page. The rest of the adjudication appears on page two.
Look at the original false Sun story & the "front page apology." Hardly equal prominence & not an apology. pic.twitter.com/GlcMRtH9Ji
— John Prescott (@johnprescott) December 22, 2015
a) The Sun ordered to publish a front page apology for smearing Corbyn (left)
b) Look at the tiny retraction (right) pic.twitter.com/fMU76opxxMAdvertisement
— Éoin (@LabourEoin) December 21, 2015
C+C: "Front page apology" in today's Sun is no such thing – small p2 adjudication with tiny front page signpost pic.twitter.com/40qjYle6uZ
— Hacked Off (@hackinginquiry) December 22, 2015
Inside, on page 2, The Sun wrote:
Ipso’s complaints committee found that it was significantly misleading to claim that Labour’s access to the £6.2m depended on whether Mr Corbyn was a member of the privy council. The two were not formally connected and the article did not make clear how a majority of the funding was in fact allocated. The committee upheld the complaint.
That’s not really an apology at all, is it guys?
Although the 11 word micro-apology from The Sun is embarrassing and barely even resembles a front-page apology, the IPSO ruling nevertheless represents a significant victory for Corbyn over Britain’s leading tabloid.
This isn’t the first time The Sun have printed less-than-accurate smear headlines against Corbyn:
Still, we hope this historic IPSO ruling means publications like The Sun think twice before printing inaccurate headlines like this in the future. We won’t hold our breath or anything…