Gilligan’s blog

Gilligan’s blog
: David Steven performs a great bit of digging and analysis through Andrew Gilligan’s contributions to the BBC’s group war blog.

Point 8, Gilligan never apologises. One of the beauties of blogging is the ability to use later posts to comment on, reshape or even correct earlier ones. ‘That’s what

I thought was happening then, but this is what I now know

  • JohninLondon

    Excellent dissection of Gilligan’s skewed reports from Baghdad.
    There is a lot of discussion of all this over on the LGF board :
    Two thoughts there have caught me – that the BBC’s main error is in the cover-up, not the original report. And secondly, that the BBC is like the Catholic church in England before the reformation.

  • I always thought that professional journalists were paid to make an analysis on the best available information. This involves listening to information from all sides and all sources, analysing it on the basis of experience and attempting to reach an objective assessment. This isn’t the same as saying what your government or audience feel comfortable hearing, and democracy wouldn’t be safe it it was!
    So long is journalists do as much as is humanly possible to check their material before they publish I don’t see an overwhelming need to apologise for earlier assessments. In terms of the above examples the allies HAVE encountered more resistance than many expected (with 100 plus losses since the end of the war proper) and Gilligan has not yet been proved at fault… if anything the motives of the MoD and notes of what was said by Dr. David Kelly to three BBC journalists seem likely to confirm key quotes were individually confirmed.
    20:20 hindsight is easy and personally I would rather not watch yesterday’s news being rehashed for today. This may be what bloggers have the time and audience to do but is less interesting to the majority of other people.
    Malicious or deliberate statements certainly merit an apology or even resignation… in which case the first resignation is likely to be at the UK’s Ministry of Defence (either the head of news or Geoffrey Hoon) which leaked Dr. Kelly’s name to the media, followed by Alistair Campbell who was responsible for the “dodgy” dossier and maybe last of all Mr. Gilligan who query the quality and reliability of UK intelligence (which the CIA also did last week!).

  • I have responded to Matt’s post on my blog – though any discussion will have to continue here as I am, alack, comment-less.

  • Hey David! It’s great to hear from you. I didn’t realise that I was responding to points raised by THE David Steven ;)
    I agree with you about the cynical and periodically bored nature of Andrew Gilligan reporting, but think we need to remember the scale of the uncertainty, secrecy and plain lying involved in a modern war… This doesn’t excuse sloppiness when it happens but also means we have to be realistic in what we can expect from someone attempting to interpret events for us.
    Increasingly, journalists are becoming pawns in a media game and I respect those few experienced journalists brave enough to remove themselves from the “embedded system” with it’s steady stream of ready-made headlines and an appreciative audience!
    Reporting matters of such great importance deserves more than spoon-fed journalism and is inevitably messy, unpredictable…
    As a last point, Gilligan may well be a bolder than the more cautious and blinkered competition but I still think he can hold his head relatively high. Especially, as he can support the vast majority of his statements and up until Dr. Kelly’s suicide did his best to protect his sources.
    P.S. I watched the video footage of Dr. Kelly’s evidence to the foreign affairs select committee while it was on the Guardian website and noticed that Dr. Kelly was very cagey about his unauthorised communications with journalists and I expect more to come out in due course… My hunch is that Gilligan and other were told much more than they should have been by someone so high in the UK’s anti-WMD effort.
    P.S. I’ll be adding you to my blogroll so it’s easier to stay in touch. All the best, Matt