August 20, 2015 Last Updated 7:09 am

Labour leadership election has British newspapers scrambling; US papers cautious on data dump

Leadership election has received little attention from the US media, though they may find themselves playing catch up to explain the news should candidate currently leading the field actually come out on top next month

The press in the US has been ignoring the UK Labour leadership race, while the press in the UK is having a bit of a meltdown. Time to pass the popcorn.

If you are unaware of the leadership race, or don’t know who Jeremy Corbyn is you can blame US media that usually don’t mention politics in foreign countries until they find themselves playing catch up with events. Right now Steven Erlanger, London bureau chief for The New York Times is likely sending email after email trying to get the attention of editors back in New York. His message probably goes like this: “imagine Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic Party nomination, that’s what we are seeing here. Get it now?”

Corbyn-200Corbyn (right), an MP from Islington North since 1983, has upset the establishment by generating far more enthusiasm for his effort to become leader than any of his rivals. Considered more left wing than many in the party (and in the press) would like, he stands a good chance of winning the election (which is held by mailed ballots of party members which must be received by September 10, with the winner announced two days later, Saturday, Sept. 12).

Guardian-screenIf you are in the US, and have read the paragraph above, you probably know more about the Labour Party race than any reader of the NYT or Washington Post. A search of the Post this morning shows the last story about the Labour race was on August 13 and was a story about Tony Blair’s views. as if anyone cares. The previous story was ten days earlier and was about… Tony Blair.

Meanwhile, in the UK, The Guardian seems to have lost it. This morning they are reporting that Rupert Murdoch “backs” the Corbyn bid, something that would be highly unlikely as Murdoch is as big a supporter of socialism as Corbyn is of Murdoch’s style of journalism. The source of the story is a tweet from the aging Australian saying he believes Corbyn may win. How the paper translated that into an endorsement is something readers of the paper are finding confusing, and a sign that the paper is less than objective on the subject. (The “endorsement” would the equivalent of President Obama telling Republicans he supports Jeb Bush – not something Bush’s campaign would consider helpful.)

The AP is reporting this morning that a car bomb went off in Cairo this morning, the target being a national security building. ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast, a development that will likely concern both the Egyptian government as well as western countries. No deaths were reported, but 11 were injured, according the the AP report on the NYT website.

OTT-frontIf the Guardian finds the Corbyn story a bit hard to deal with, the NYT seems to be struggling with the Ashley Madison data dump. While many new media sites were eager to report on the documents from the extramarital hook-up side dumped by hackers, The New York Times was squeamish, only finally posting an explainer piece hours after the news broke of the data dump – a piece that did not make it into print. The paper may well be concerned about that authenticity of the documents, or whose names will be included in the data.

(European and Canadian papers were less shy, with The Guardian among the papers featuring the story on the front page of its print edition.)

Most papers, though, decided to hold back, possibly concerned that overplaying the story could lead to accusations such as those faced by Gawker about its outing of a Condé Nast executive. It is likely that anyone caught up in the data leak will be consider a private citizen rather than a public figure.

Sad news from Washington state as three firefighters were reported killed fighting wildfires in the state, four were injured. The drought in the west has been in the news for months, as have news of wildfires, but the deaths are the first reported and will likely raise the profile of the two related stories.

More than 100 wildfires are reported burning across over 1.1 million acres in the West. The so-called fire season is usually seen as later in the fall as the Santa Ana winds begin to blow in California. But the severe drought has gripped the west for the past several years, increasing the likelihood and severity of wildfires.

“I know all Washington joins me and Trudi in sending our prayers to the families of these brave firefighters,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “They gave their lives to protect others. It was their calling, but the loss for their families is immense and I know the community will come together to support them. We will also keep the injured firefighters in our prayers. The conditions throughout the area remain extremely dangerous and I hope residents and visitors will heed evacuation orders or other emergency directions.”

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