Anorak News | Perfect Face For Radio

Perfect Face For Radio

by | 13th, August 2003

‘WHATEVER the rights and wrongs of the whole ‘dodgy dossier’ affair, there is one thing that is for sure – BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan has definitely not been sexed up.

Sexed down?

The Today reporter’s photograph assaults readers of both the Times and the Independent this morning and, if ever a man had a face for radio, it is he.

The Guardian takes pity on its readers and pictures Gilligan from behind and afar as the man believed to have inspired Mr Blobby entered the Royal Courts Of Justice.

As for the inquiry itself, for the second day running the papers cannot agree on who, if anyone, emerges with most credit.

The Independent says both Gilligan and BBC colleague Susan Watts agreed that Dr David Kelly had fingered Alastair Campbell as being central to inserting a claim that Iraq could deploy chemical weapons at 45 minutes’ notice in the dossier outlining the case for war with Iraq.

”The disclosure,” it says, ”which came at the end of the second day of the inquiry into the death of the scientist, immediately swung the advantage to the corporation in its ongoing confrontation with No.10.”

But the Times hears a completely different story, leading its coverage of the Hutton inquiry with the headline, ”BBC Admits Iraq Scoop Was Flawed”.

It quotes an e-mail sent by Kevin Marsh, editor of the Today programme, to Stephen Mitchell, head of BBC Radio News.

”I hope my worst fears based on what I heard from the spooks this afternoon are not realised,” he said.

”This story was a good piece of investigative journalism marred by flawed reporting. The biggest millstone has been the loose use of language and lack of judgement in some of the phraseology.”

The Times points out that Gilligan forgot to bring a notebook and pen, the tools of the journalist’s trade, to his meeting with Dr Kelly.

Indeed, the only contemporaneous document he could produce from the rendezvous at the Thistle Hotel in Charing Cross was a bar bill proving that they had bought a Coca-Cola and an Appletise.

With the bill for those two drinks coming to £4.15 (with service not included), the only thing we can safely say has been sexed up is the hotel’s bar prices.

Posted: 13th, August 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink