Friday, 29 October 2010

Claptrap from the Mainstream Media

I have indicated before on this blog that I don't have a very high regard for the mainstream media (MSM), yes there may be the odd occasion when they get it right but in my mind it tends to be the exception rather than the rule.  There is no doubt that significant numbers of people will have had their minds made up as to the cause of Dr Kelly's death following the release of the Forensic Pathologist's report and Toxicologist's report on the internet on the 21st October.   The presentation of these releases by the MSM in newspaper, radio or TV format could very easily influence the conclusions reached by the reader, listener or viewer.  Factual reports in the press ought to be fine although even these can lead the reader away from what should be totally non committal by the subtle use of headlines for instance.

Where I get particularly irate though is in the way certain commentary pieces are written with a total lack of objectivity.  In fact they are often just strewn with rubbish and what were once considered to be the quality papers are as guilty of this if not more so than the "popular press".  I'll just flag up a couple of examples, one in the Telegraph and one in the Guardian, that followed the recent release of the documents mentioned earlier and they demonstrate all too clearly in my view how impoverished their writers are in the opinions expressed.

So let's look at the Telegraph piece first, written by one Andrew Gilligan (remember him?).  His offering can be read here.  You will see, if you didn't know already, that Gilligan is firmly in the "it was suicide" camp.  That's fine, even though I'm leaning more and more toward the belief that Dr Kelly was murdered I'm very happy to engage with anyone with an opposite view providing they are presenting some sort of sensible, coherent argument.  Gilligan I'm afraid is coming out with rubbish.

"The only other wounds visible at all were superficial abrasions to the head and minor bruising to the limbs – consistent, says the report, with scraping against rough undergrowth (presumably as his body was removed)."  This is just one statement of his that got my blood pressure rising.  Think about it for a moment.  What Gilligan seems to be implying here is that Dr Kelly's body was manhandled through the undergrowth to the waiting hearse when it arrived at Harrowdown Hill on the Friday evening prior to its journey to the mortuary slab.  Are we supposed to take Gilligan seriously?  The undertakers would have walked into the wood with a coffin and gently lifted the body into it.  This is what undertakers do for God's sake!

"What this week’s report does do, however, is show the murder theory to be even more absurd and fantastic than it already was. For Dr Kelly to be killed, it would have needed someone to force 29 pills down his throat, making him swallow them without protest."  Another piece of nonsense from Gilligan!  As with all the "suiciders" it's a case of 29 tablets missing - therefore 29 tablets were ingested by Dr Kelly.  Let me spell it out: there is no incontrovertible proof that Dr Kelly ingested 29 co-proxamol tablets.  All we can safely say at the moment is that evidence was found of the two constituents that make up co-proxamol being in the body.  This is very different from what Gilligan is saying.  Much more from me on another day about the tablets.

There are other examples where his logic can be knocked down but I'll leave the reader with an open mind to consider them.  I now want to have a quick look at what Vikram Dodd wrote in the Guardian.  The headline is "The experts are clear on how David Kelly died" and immediately underneath we read "Not a single forensic pathologist has challenged the conclusions of the Hutton inquiry".  The implication clearly is that these two statements are two sides of the same coin - that they are effectively saying the same thing.  Now I realise that when a reporter sends his or her copy in someone else will conjure up a headline.  In this instance we are talking about commentary that appeared a few days later.  I would have thought that Dodd would have written this headline or at least agreed with it.  It took me all of a millisecond I would think to realise the incompatibility of the two statements.

Let's delve a little deeper into what Dodd is saying.  It's here.  His piece appears to be built around the premise that as none of this country's forensic pathologists have criticised Dr Hunt's findings then obviously the suicide verdict is correct.  Now we are led to assume that the experts (implied meaning; other forensic pathologists) are "clear" about something because they have never commented on it!  No logic there whatsoever so a poor start indeed Mr Dodd. There aren't many of these forensic pathologists about - I don't have a figure to hand but understand it's less than 50 - so I would be amazed if in that sort of profession one would break ranks and carp about Dr Hunt when that would suggest incompetency.  Like me these other forensic pathologists weren't at Harrowdown Hill so somewhat difficult for them to suggest that Dr Hunt was coming to the right conclusions.  I mean if one had commented who would you believe a forensic pathologist trying to protect the name of his profession or an ambulance crew well experienced in observing the aftermath of arterial bleeds.  Yet Dodd is intimating that the silence of other forensic pathologists is indicative of a correct deduction by Dr Hunt.  What planet is Dodd on?  And Gilligan come to that.   It's absolutely ridiculous - to use a familiar phrase "you couldn't make it up!"  


  1. Brian -

    You write here about commentary pieces being written with a total lack of objectivity. In particular you state:

    "Are we supposed to take Gilligan seriously? The undertakers would have walked into the wood with a coffin and gently lifted the body into it. This is what undertakers do for God's sake!"

    For the record, there is no evidence of any undertakers being called to the scene. The words 'undertaker', 'undertakers' and 'coffin' are all entirely absent from the available Hutton transcripts.

    The pathologist's report mentions a mortuary exhibits list. Included on this are NCH/37, a body bag, and NCH/38, a black plastic sheet. It can only be presumed that Dr Kelly's body was wrapped in this sheet before being placed in the bag prior to it being removed from the scene.

    You then move on to Vikram Dodd's article. You completely fail to mention that he has in this piece (and the one preceding it) recorded the views of at least five (or then four) individuals with professional pathological expertise.

    Earlier in the above post you write: "I'm leaning more and more toward the belief that Dr Kelly was murdered." For the benefit of all concerned here, could you please outline why you increasingly hold this view?

  2. I haven't much spare time at the moment Andrew to respond. However for now I'll just refer you to this BBC report of 18 July You will note the line "A hearse left the scene shortly before 2000 BST on Friday". I was absolutely confident of my facts on this matter - in fact I would consider it absolutely unthinkable that Dr Kelly's body wasn't moved in a hearse.

  3. Brian -

    Re your above post - I believe there is photographic evidence of a silver-coloured Vauxhall Senator estate car with heavily tinted side windows leaving the scene that evening, so I think we can probably agree that this was vehicle used for this purpose.

    (I note, simply from personal experience, that all the Funeral Directors in my area use black cars for funeral procession purposes, and use dark coloured 'private ambulance' vans for other related activities.)

  4. Brian/Andrew
    The hearse is introduced into the Hutton Inquiry evidence by Mr Green, he says it arrived as he was leaving , which would imply some time after He doesn't describe the colour.

    Since you started writing this blog, I have read and re-read all the relevant exchanges in the Hutton Inquiry, which is all we have to go on , along with more recent newspaper articles which add nothing but want to close down the discussion.
    Having previously just read these same newspapers,faithfully reported on the Judith Miller and David Kelly and the Missing Iraqi WMD blog and seen Rowena Thursby's TV programme and her blog and followed the debtate, now I go to the original source - what the dramatis personae say, I cannot get out of my head that a lot of it appears to me to be made up. I am sorry but very little of I read is describing how people I have come across in my life behave or speak. Frankly, it is all a load of highly evasive BALONEY. A lot of the distinguished witnesses at the Hutton Inquiry used just that process, conjecture, and that is how I have arrived at my current position.
    I dread to think what is going on at the current Chilcot Inquiry (in which , incidentally , I have no interest at all)

  5. "Move along now please, nothing to see...."

    That is the message of Vikram Dodd and his fellow journalists who rush out like the fire brigade to dampen down any sparks of investigation. Of course, these journalists (certainly not investigative ones) all have brains and can spot nonsense when they see it, but none of them wants to break rank either, lest they might not get any spicy morsels from "official sources close to whatever" or incur the mirth of the rest of the "move along please" herd,none of whom either wants to be the first to question the official narrative.