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Sunday 2 December 2012

Gilligan Gets Leveson Wrong

The kind people at the Sunday Telegraph have kept Andrew “Transcription Error” Gilligan busy by letting him loose on the Leveson Report, and their reward has been a typical slice of slanted and occasionally downright dishonest copy which does not survive a cursory examination. “The devil is in the detail” he tells readers, and he is dead right – the detail of his own piece, that is.

He pauses momentarily to find adversely upon the Hutton Report – wonder why that might be, eh, Andy? – before asserting that Leveson’s “guarantee of media freedom” would “almost certainly” mean less freedom. Then he misleads readers with the idea that the state would specify much of what the proposed independent regulator does, which it would not. Validation is merely a quality control check.

Then Gilligan moves to complaints – remember, the now discredited PCC was expert at fobbing off these, especially when they came from someone who was not the subject of the offending article – where Leveson would have the new regulator accept “third party complaints”. This does not trouble the papers when it is the BBC getting those third party complaints, of course.

Here, he performs a sleight of hand which fools nobody: talking first about accepting third party complaints, and then talking about groups that have made submissions to the Leveson Inquiry, which is something totally unrelated. So Leveson accepted the submissions Gilligan mentions? So he also accepted hundreds of other submissions. This is a total red herring, but par for the course with Andy.

Gilligan claims that third party complaints will mean lobby groups being involved. On what basis? Do they get involved in third party complaints to broadcasters? Ah, but his real concern is stuff like Wind power. Here, he is worried about being forced to show “balance”, but what he really fears is that the likes of his pal James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole will not get away with another of his hatchet jobs.

Del Boy and the Tel saw off the last complaint against them by deploying a combination of the “Littlejohn Defence” (in other words, “it’s only an opinion piece”) and having their interpretation of science taken as fact. What frightens them is that a truly independent regulator might give equal weight to the complainant. If that had been applied previously, Delingpole would have had to withdraw and apologise.

And to put the lid on it, Gilligan shows his unhappiness at the thought of being prevented from “discriminatory reporting” because it would allow all and sundry to hide behind that rotten Political Correctness, while he lays into a group which made a submission to Leveson by smearing it as harbouring Islamists, and therefore highlighting the kind of discriminatory reporting that shames many newspapers.

So Gilligan, too, opens mouth and inserts boot. No change there, then.

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