Part One – When is a Lie not a Lie.
Andy Coulson emerged from the Edinburgh High Court his old confident self.
“This prosecution was always wrong. I didn’t lie and the prosecution, in my view, was a gross waste of public money.”
The headline “Coulson – I didn’t lie” had its boots on and was swaggering round the world just as fast as a top flight media spin doctor could set it running.
Anybody would have thought that a Scottish judge had just declared that Andy Coulson “didn’t lie”. Or even, that he told the truth. No such declaration had been made.
Unless you are a real media anorak, you may be puzzled as to how someone can stand in a court of law, on oath, declare that they knew nothing of phone hacking – then find themselves in Belmarsh prison after admitting their involvement in phone hacking; to wit: David Blunkett’s messages to a married woman he was involved with. Surely Coulson must have lied in one of those trials – either he did or he didn’t know about the phone hacking?
The answer to your puzzlement, is that the Edinburgh court hadn’t declared that Coulson didn’t lie. That was Coulson the master spin doctor’s declaration on the court steps that the media were repeating – as he surely knew that they would.
What the Judge had declared was that Coulson’s evidence in the Sheridan trial was irrelevant, and if it was irrelevant then it couldn’t be perjury under Scottish law.
Judge Lord Burns dismissed the charges of perjury against Coulson before they could be put to a jury. He told the court that while Coulson may not have told the truth when he was questioned about phone hacking at the 2010 trial of Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan, no evidence had been led to show him that the alleged mistruths were “relevant” enough to reach the standard required for a conviction. “Not every lie is perjury,” he told the jury.
Part Two – When is a Secret not a Secret?
Another headline winged around the world after the death of Charles Kennedy:
Charles Kennedy was found dead by his secret lover.
The fact that Charles Kennedy has been divorced since 2010 was certainly no secret. The fact that the ‘lover’ in question was the widow of Murdo Macdonald was no secret to Charles family, his son, and ex-wife. The fact that both parties were unattached and perfectly free to have a relationship was no secret. So what was the secret?
Perhaps the fact that the Daily Mail and other papers had not found a suitable opportunity to inform their readers that a man who used to be married, who used to be a politician, was visited at home by a woman who used to be married to a man who was involved in politics? Perhaps it would have been better to run such a headline when Charles lost his seat in parliament to SNP member Ian Blackford.
As it is, the Daily Mail cover is probably the most tasteless example of ‘intrusion into private grief’ ever printed.
Part Three – When is a woman not a woman.
Hot on the heels of the Daily Mail’s tasteful expose of Elton John’s decision to name David Furnish as the Mother of his children on their birth certificates – an appellate normally reserved for those who have been impregnated by a man and given birth to the child; the Virgin Mary excluded of course, we have the Caitlyn Jenner consumer of column inches.
Caitlyn Jenner used to be Bruce Jenner, a olympic athlete. You can end up with whiplash trying to tie both ends of that sentence together. First Bruce, who entirely coincidentally is/was Kim Kardashian’s stepfather, claimed to be an abused husband – or was it wife? – to Kris Jenner, who insofar as I can tell, is still Kim Kardashian’s mother, but could turn out to be her uncle by episode 23.
Then Bruce got a divorce from Kris, and turned into Caitlyn. Then she appeared on the front page of Vanity Fair in a fetching white corset which suitably subdued those parts that might previously have demanded she still be called Bruce, and reaffirmed the desire of the transgendered world-wide, not merely to be recast as ‘woman’ but as a particular pumped up, wonder bra enhancing, Brazilian waxed version.
An Australian journalist, Paul Barry, made the blasphemous mistake of referring to Barry as ‘he’, totally misunderstanding that it no longer takes a vagina to make woman, or even mother, and definitely not wife.
Twitter exploded. The media have taken note – and Caitlyn will be forever ‘she’ no matter what you think.
Don’t expect anything resembling truth from our media.