Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What the Papers Say



One thing I've noticed, attending the court every day, is the apparent disparity between what we see and hear there and  the media reports. It is not that the reporters are making things up or telling lies, just that they present a very partial and incomplete account of the proceedings.


I'm often struck, for example, by accounts of a witnesses' evidence which go into great detail about their testimony for the prosecution but then totally ignore any doubts that may have been cast upon that evidence during the defence cross examination.

I was starting to think it was just me, thankfully however  Kenneth Roy in the Scottish Review  has chimed in with a fascinating piece on the media accounts of the case.

His conclusion is one that I would wholeheartedly agree with.

The more I read of the Sheridan trial, the more I long for a return to the more passive court reporting of old, when readers were allowed to draw their own conclusions about the evidence. As long as the reporting of the 'trial of the decade' remains as excitable as it is at the moment, there is always a risk that two trials will be taking place in Glasgow this autumn – one arranged by the Crown Office, the other by the Greek chorus of the Scottish media.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been in court a couple of times to listen and I've found that there is a disparity between what the papers report too, but I'd also add that they often report defence questions that have been fielded to the witnesses without adequately explaining the witnesses responses. IMO, there is a clear lack of cohesion between papers in that some papers journalists are lazier than others and just paraphrase rather than quote, but there's definitely no bias on show, except perhaps from Ponsonby who is confused and all over the shop. They are reporting what they think makes good news, not trying to influence the outcome of the case. They've occasionally paraphrased/missed things out when it's come to both Tommy and to the witnesses so I agree that definitely the papers are rubbish, but I definitely don't think that they are prejudicing the case. It'd take some amount of twisting of what's been said in court for the papers to be in contempt of court/subjudice, and as of yet, they have remained within the acceptable limits of the law in terms of impartiality, and I'd say the same goes for this blog, it's within the limits of the law too, so I don't think we should speculate as to what either blogs or papers might do in the future. It's certainly nothing to get worked up about, what's been reported so far.

Jim said...

Only Bernard Ponsonby on STV seems to be willing to much beyond the prosecution and touch on the outcome of cross examination by the defence.

There have been a few dubious reports, especially over coverage of the McNeialge tape. But nothing that is a clear breach of guidelines.

The coverage is highly biased towards the prosecution but we are seeing the prosecution led case at the moment. When we see the coverage of the defence case we will get a better idea of whether it is actually biased or not.

Anonymous said...

That's what I like about this blog, it's got a "raw" feel to it - almost as if it was written by someone actually present in the courtroom :-) I judge this blog as a more authoritative source rather than the hyperbole, spin, paraphrased, makes a good story that the papers/tv are spewing out. And why is bool-in-the-mooth Bernard Ponsonby described as the "political editor" during reports.

Anonymous said...

Anyone one know for how long the prosecution case is likely to drag on for, how many of the (180) witnesses are being called for the defence/prosecution. It seems that at least one witness is being called for both.

Jim said...

It's impossible to say how many will be called, that can be changed at any time. Any guessing on who will be witnesses for either defence or prosecution would be pointless. Who is being called by both?

Karen said...

Gotta agree... this blog is written in the style of a "fly-on-wall" documentary. Its like being sat in court... I half expect the judge to tell me to shut up lol

Anonymous said...

@ Jim I have a vague recollection of Bernard Ponsonby mentioning that one of the witnesses would be called later by the defence, I am almost certain that it was Colin Fox. It though it was kind of odd and it just passed me by, maybe I was hallucinating, Bernard was getting mixed up or both. Anyway, it's easily checked up on.

James Doleman said...

Now that Tommy is defending himself there is the possibility he will ask to recall some witnesses.

The judge allowing him to is a different matter.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I expect that Tommy would want to recall witnesses, especially if he felt that that slim lady whats-her-name made a hash (deliberately?) of presenting his case. Tommy would rip to shreds the likes of Colin Fox. It's to be hoped that none of them have got off the hook. Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

I can sense Tommy's frustration that his case hasn't been properly and that his so-called representatives have been doing him a disservice. In this light his decision to sack his counsel is perfectly understandable. All the best Tommy & Gail

Jaqui said...

I done like the tone of these trashy rags, for example the Scum. They are trying to make Tommy out by being some sort of demon, by implying that Tommy has single-handled dragged Gail kicking and screaming into the court to sit through a trial. They omit to say that they are both on trial and that what both Tommy & Gail are being forced to sit through and listen to so far has been nothing more than a serious of wild, outlandish allegations, the truth of which have yet to be decided on by the jury. I'll be sticking with this blog for coverage of this trial, newspapers reports are only good for one thing, maybe Bernard Ponsonby has other uses.

Big Lizzie said...

Very true jaqui... what the scum should have on their front page is a pic of the depute advocate with a headline "why are you putting tommy, gail and wee gabrielle through this?". Bernard is not really my type... he needs to calm down, leave off the sherry and stop talking posh... he is an east end lad fae dennistoun lol Although I don't believe a word he says I do find raymond buchanan rather tasty... he can take down my brief any time he fancies... :-)

Tam the Bam said...

rofl at some the comments on here - Jaqui and Big Lizzie are like the Francie & Jossie of the blogosphere. I don't know if Tommy & Gail read this, but id they so at least it should bring a smile to their face as they relax after a day in court fighting the murdoch empire. Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

For the first few comments I was looking forward to an unbiased blog and with a few comments those participating have lost the plot as once more the Scottish left descends into tribalism and political sectarianism that spurred Sheridan's Bonapartist grab for power. Oh well once this is over the sane people can start reforming some form of resistance agains the Condems and nasty nats. I wont be back.

Anonymous said...

"Sheridan's Bonapartist grab for power"

The above say`s it all about the person who wrote it.

They started off their post by saying "I was looking forward to an unbiased blog"

Still it gives us all a laugh.

Anonymous said...

lol some of the commenters on this blog should be writing for monty python pmsl

Anonymous said...

"Sheridan's Bonapartist grab for power"
The above say`s it all about the person who wrote it.

nah rippin the pish, just googled a couple of keywords and got that from the CPGB(ML) I think, but seriously the majority of people on here are clearly in denial.
1. fighting the Murdoch empire?
All Solidarity and all SSP members at the civil trial were investigated by Lothian & Borders Police and the prosecutions are according to them based on the evidence they found, nothing to do with News International.
2. The SWP supported the Exec at first and then did a U-turn, and internal bulletins point to an abandonment of Solidarity after the trial.
Now only close friends and the rump of the CWI are standing by TS and they are in denial.

Anonymous said...

Solidarity wasn't even founded until after the trail so if the SWP abandonded Solidarity it could only have been after the trial. What's your point caller?

Not fighting the Murdoch Empire eh? Who bugger Tommy's car and who refused to investigate? Who could possibly be in cahoots with one another. Learn to put 2+2 together.

Anonymous said...

The CWI/SWP split happened long before it became a reality through the formation of Solidarity. Members of both the SSP and Solidatiy have at times entered into discourse with employes of News International, a lot of pots calling kettles black. Just read through this blog.
Who bugged Tommy's car?
I believe that Winnie Ewing often, when discusing political matters in private, started the conversation witht he words
"this is between me, you and MI5. Could be anybody.
This whole shambles is due to a fatal need for a Great Leader by the Scottish Left.

Anonymous said...

"This whole shambles is due to a fatal need for a Great Leader by the Scottish Left."

The powers that be know that, as do we. Why do you think the powers that be are trying everything they can to take Sheridan out of the political arena at this critical moment in time, when the roof is about to cave in on the working and middle classes. Make sure they have no one to turn to.