Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Scotsman Backs Down

Earlier today the Scotsman's David Maddox posted on the Steamie the paper's blog an article which included unfounded allegations about Jo Swinson's expenses. Indeed this was the same day that the Grauniad had to apologise for printing those falsehoods.

Caron's article alerted me to the latest bit of sloppy and lazy journalism over this whole affair. After correcting the blog a David, possibly Maddox himself, left an apology on Caron's blog stating he had 'checked with the Telegraph who said they had not retracted anything on the original story'. Herein lies the rub, the Telegraph, as James Graham pointed out, are treading a thin line between fact, innuendo, sexism and fiction.

A superficial reading of the article would lead the casual reader to assume that the record of Jo Swinson MP’s expenses claims demonstrate that she had claimed for makeup and dusters. However, a more careful reading reveals the following information:

1 – that although receipts containing those items had been submitted, there is no actual evidence that these specific items had been claimed for. Indeed, this claim is explicitly denied by Jo Swinson herself and no evidence has been brought forward to give us cause to doubt this whatsoever.

2 – furthermore, that in at least one case the items which had been claimed for were clearly marked by an asterisk. In the case of the eyeliner and dusters this was not the case.

3 – the claim that Jo Swinson is "known in Westminster for the attention she pays to her appearance" is entirely unsubstantiated and innuendo-laden. There is nothing remarkable about a Member of Parliament not wishing to look unkempt; indeed they would be open to criticism if they did so.

4 – the headline epithet "makeover queen" is equally unsubstantiated. No-one appears to have called Jo Swinson this apart from the article’s author, Rosa Prince, herself.

5 – the page design is clearly intended to convey the idea that Jo Swinson has had numerous "makeovers" - yet the photographs provided are merely
pictures of her looking slightly different over a period of eight years.

As I pointed out earlier today just because the Tell-lie-graph has exclusive exposure to these expenses claim the fact that many of their points about MPs are merely leading questions, unsubstantiated, unchecked, unresearched, unjournalised if you will. Far from reporting public opinion they are leading it and don't care what half or even untruths they can spread in the telling.

The Tell-lie-graph should carry a health warning at present.

Somethings you read here should be done so with a pinch of salt. Read every word, our lawyers have carefully inserted some so as to keep us legal but to make you miss the meaning. By the way as salt is the root for the word salary we'll be looking for MPs who have mixed up salt and salary with expenses, we're still looking.

It doesn't which is more the point. Look into the facts yourself. Read carefully and look at the reaction and indeed history of your MP's quotes on expenses, transparency etc.

1 comment:

  1. I notice that the 6 or so comments that were left on the Steamie blog post yesterday have now been whittled down to 1!

    It never happened, you see...