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The danger of making unsubstantiated allegations

Lord McAlpines statement

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#1 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

http://www.guardian....ement-full-text

It's hard to imagine how stressful it must be to be wrongfully accused of paedophilia, and to have those allegations bandied about the Internet.

In the circumstances I think his statement shows quite a generous spirit.

Steve Messham has since stated that Lord McAlpine was not the individual who abused him, although he had earlier thought he was, apparently having been shown a photograph of the abuser who he claims was mis-identified by the Police as Lord McAlpine.

#2 Trojan

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:52 PM

Why should we believe him? He wouldn't be the first top Tory to tell lies - it seemed to be the zeitgeist among them at the time. If he has been falsely accused then he's entitled to recompense and an apology.
But I remember Alistair Milne (DG of the Beeb) being forced to resign in similar circumstances about 25 years ago. It was alleged at the time that Norman Tebbitt leant on a key witness who withdrew his evidence and the Beeb's case collapsed. (a case which IIRC involved Neil Hamilton) And who can forget "Fragrant Mary Archer", or Jonathan Aitken's "sword of truth." Both were found eventually to have perjured themselves.
Who's to say that Steve Messham hasn't also been leant upon? Surely after all this time thinking it was Lord McAlpine he's at some point seen a picture of the person he accused of abusing him.
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#3 Saintslass

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:09 PM

Why should we believe him? He wouldn't be the first top Tory to tell lies - it seemed to be the zeitgeist among them at the time. If he has been falsely accused then he's entitled to recompense and an apology.

He's been falsely accused. Everyone involved states that. End of story.

#4 Saintslass

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:10 PM

Who's to say that Steve Messham hasn't also been leant upon?

Steve Messham has form in this area. He's spoken about his abuse before and been misguided so I think it highly unlikely that he has been leant upon.

Actually, I'm beginning to wonder more about Steve Messham.

Edited by Saintslass, 10 November 2012 - 02:10 PM.


#5 JohnM

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

Newsnight made a mistake, that’s all. It was, though a deliberate mistake as is now clear to everyone.

They broadcast the items in such a way to lead the reader, viewer and listener to believe that the unsubstantiated allegations were really true. The joy with which Newsnight covered this illustrates, in my opinion, a desire and wish that the allegations were true. However, being concerned of the possibility of legal action if they were wrong, they adopted the jigsaw approach of presenting the individual pieces and letting us form the image, similar to the way that the Guardian printed a denial of an unsubstantiated allegation in a way that led readers to think there was substance to it.

Based on what was said on Newsnight, it is extremely easy to get to a particular blog that makes the most scurrilous and actionable accusations against living people who are senior Conservatives. Some of this goes back to 1993 when Scallywag magazine was sued out of existence because it falsely accused the then prime minister of having an affair a Downing Street caterer.

The motives of the Newsnight team involved, of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and of the Centre of Investigative journalism are blindingly obvious. Throughout, there has been a clear and consistent attempt to implicate senior Conservatives, aides, Ministers and even Thatcher herself. The way the Newsnight team exploited Steve Messham, the real victim in all of this is disgraceful and Newsnight should hang its head in shame.

Edited by JohnM, 10 November 2012 - 02:47 PM.


#6 gingerjon

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:37 PM

So they were right not to broadcast the unsubstantiated allegations against Jimmy Savile?
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#7 Trojan

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:07 PM

He's been falsely accused. Everyone all the Tories involved states that. End of story.


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#8 Northern Sol

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:46 PM

The actual victim stated it too. Maybe he is a Tory.

#9 Steve May

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 08:58 PM

Witchhunts never end well.

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#10 Padge

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 09:22 PM

The biggest danger of unsubstantiated allegations is making people in the know making substantiated allegations.scared of being ignored .

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#11 Methven Hornet

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 09:27 PM

Witchhunts never end well.


Mm, isn't the way some on the right go after the BBC similar to a witch-hunt?
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#12 Northern Sol

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 09:41 PM

The BBC isn't an individual.

#13 Methven Hornet

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:04 PM

The BBC isn't an individual.


Remarkable!
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#14 Northern Sol

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:08 PM

Remarkable!


It changes things. An individual is capable of being put on trial hence the need not to prejudice a potential jury. An organisation can't face a jury trial.

#15 Methven Hornet

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:17 PM

It changes things. An individual is capable of being put on trial hence the need not to prejudice a potential jury. An organisation can't face a jury trial.


It changes everything. Yet things remain the same.
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#16 Northern Sol

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:31 PM

It changes everything. Yet things remain the same.


No, they don't.

#17 Steve May

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:35 PM

Mm, isn't the way some on the right go after the BBC similar to a witch-hunt?


One of the great pities of all of this is that, even as we write now, there are senior Tories who will be looking to find a way to privatise the BBC. I think the happy days of ad-free children's television are, sadly, coming to an end.

I would have thought Murdoch is too damaged to step in - this has all come a couple of years too late for his shower. But RIchard Branson has a burgeoning media empire and a taste for taking over, at great expense, public services. Watch this space?

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#18 WearyRhino

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:33 PM

One of the great pities of all of this is that, even as we write now, there are senior Tories who will be looking to find a way to privatise the BBC. I think the happy days of ad-free children's television are, sadly, coming to an end.

I would have thought Murdoch is too damaged to step in - this has all come a couple of years too late for his shower. But RIchard Branson has a burgeoning media empire and a taste for taking over, at great expense, public services. Watch this space?


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#19 Wolford6

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 02:16 AM

I suspect there might be a degree of obfuscation taking place. The government is stressing it's the wrong person that's being accused. Fair enough, but could someone with the same surname have dubious morals of the type that's been alleged?

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#20 gingerjon

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

Because when large scale systematic child abuse is covered up and those who have suffered left to rot it's vital that the focus is on one person with the resources and influence to immediately defend themselves

http://www.independe...ed-8303903.html
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