A Daily Express journalist writing a news story about Britain's national debt was told to "put the boot into Corbyn" and make it clear "that Labour is NOT the solution", in what appears to be an instruction from his editor to ensure the report would be sufficiently biased against the Labour leader.
Unfortunately for the reporter, he then forwarded the instructions directly to the Labour party's press office while asking for a comment.
"I'm sure Labour might very well have something to say on the issue of spiralling debt?" journalist Jon Rogers asked the Labour press office.
"Any chance of getting something attributed to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell?"
However, he appears to have inadvertently copied and pasted a short summary of the news story below, which included what looked like instructions from an unknown editor on how the story should be written.
The email from the reporter to the press office, passed to BuzzFeed News, reads: "Needs reaction from the Taxpayers Alliance, but let's def also put the boot into Corbyn (who wants to plunge us into even DEEPER debt) so as the readers are very clear that Labour is NOT the solution!"
It's unclear who issued the instructions. The email also includes a link to a file held on a computer belonging to "marshg". Geoff Marsh is the director of digital content at Express Newspapers, the owner of the Daily Express.
Neither Rogers not Marsh responded to multiple attempts to contact them.
While the Daily Express's pro-Brexit, anti-Labour editorial stance is well known, it's unusual to see such instructions from an editor in public.
The story eventually appeared on the newspaper's website on Tuesday under the headline "REVEALED: Britain now spends £49 BILLION paying INTEREST on debts EVERY YEAR", featuring a comment from the TaxPayers' Alliance.
Labour, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not provide a comment to the Express, and neither Corbyn nor the party was mentioned in the article itself.
Despite this, the piece was topped with an embedded video entitled "UK pays more in debt interest than on NHS thanks to Labour", while a large photo of Jeremy Corbyn appeared further down for unknown reasons.
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at email@example.com.
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