The cost of pride
Posted by aogTuesday, 03 February 2004 at 14:02 TrackBack Ping URL

[Via Transterrestrial Musings]

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald discusses the Hutton inquiry in the UK. What I learned from this is that the original misreporting by Andrew Gilligan

was made in an unscripted interview with another journalist live to air early one morning, and that he did not thereafter repeat it.

That makes it look even worse for the BBC leadership, who backed a sensational and off-hand remark by one of their reporters without investigating it further. Once again, the coverup turned out to cost far more than the original error. Had Gilligan just said “woops, I overstated my case” or the BBC itself just said “that’s the reporter’s opinion, not an official news report” I doubt that anyone would remember it today. The situation certainly resonates with the problem of the sanctimoniousness of the press, who simply cannot conceive of being wrong.