Journalistic ethics

The Times is shameless. (Wait – why do I even bother to say that? It’s a Murdoch paper. Murdoch is the genius behind Fox “News” – for which the word “shameless” would be gross flattery.) Its headline is untrue, yet it won’t even post a letter from the subject saying so.

The Times ran the headline: Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI. It went on to say he was planning a legal ambush, he’d asked lawyers to do things, and so on. He says that’s not how it went. He posted a comment on the Times (and his own site) saying how it went.

Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. So all the vicious attacks on me for seeking publicity etc are misplaced…

Marc Horne, the Sunday Times reporter, telephoned me out of the blue and asked whether I was aware of the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s visit. Yes, I said. He asked me if I was in favour of their initiative. Yes, I said, I am strongly in favour of it. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horne, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article. How the headline writer could go from there to “Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” is obscure to me.

It is a remarkably large and brazen jump, you must admit. Are you aware of, do you support, becomes total initiative for and responsibility for. Are you aware of the Obama administration’s attempts to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians? Yes. Do you support those efforts? Yes. Headline: I will make peace between Israel and Palestine says random person.

Richard reported an hour or so ago that five hours after he posted the comment, it still hadn’t appeared. Bill O’Reilly must be beaming with pride. Glen Beck must be sobbing with joy.

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