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Sunday 15 December 2013

Christopher Booker’s False Narrative

Still there is no retraction, let alone an apology, from Christopher Booker following his now totally discredited claims regarding the Italian woman who was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and later had her baby delivered by Caesarean Section after the hospital treating her had secured a judgment in their favour. The child was taken into care afterwards.
The ever-reliable face of shameless dishonesty

Instead, Booker has clearly decided that the best form of defence is attack, and so, in an attempt to get his critics to “look over there”, has told that “BBC and Channel 4 news prefer their 'narratives’ to the truth”. And, just to drop a few more jaws, he adds that “A vital function of responsible journalism is to seek out the evidence and expose bogus scare stories wherever they are found”.

What seeking out of evidence and exposure of bogus scare stories would this cover? First up is “the great alarm over global warming”, to which he brings “honest dialogue, based on an attempt to explore the truth of an issue”. So let’s test this out on one very visible side-effect of warming, polar ice. “The ice is not melting, yet still the scaremongers blunder on” he told in September.

This summer’s ice-melt has been the smallest in seven years, and the global extent of polar sea ice is currently equal to its average over the past 34 years” he blustered, managing to miss the significant loss of Arctic sea ice over that period, the downward trend, and that Antarctica is losing land ice at an increasing rate (Booker would prefer to talk about sea ice there instead because it suits his argument).

That would suggest it is Booker, and not all those rotten scientists he rails against, who is fuelling a false narrative. So it was with his assault on Essex County Council, and the case of the Italian woman whose baby was taken into care. “Operate on this mother so that we can take her baby” was his headline. The conclusion could only be that social workers made that decision. They did not, because they cannot.

Then he told that the woman had not seen her baby after its birth. This was a downright lie: she had – twice. He mentioned the woman’s two daughters, who were at home with her parents in Italy, failing to mention that they had been placed there by order of the Italian courts. He also failed to mention that she had been admitted to psychiatric hospitals in Italy three times previously.

Two of those three admissions were enforced. She had previous for not taking her medication, which had led to her being seriously mentally unwell. None of this was allowed to intrude on Booker’s narrative. And this is the man who tells “It is better, if more thankless, to try to tell the truth, than to peddle a self-regarding ‘narrative’ that turns out to be based on no more than self-deceiving lies”.

Brass neck and self-description in one from Booker. No change there, then.

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