Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 29/1/2004Good to see that following a war where the country sent troops to die under false pretences and the BBC saw its standing rise internationally and at home by never losing sight of that possibility, sanity has been restored by the utter destruction of Auntie's top management. It's particularly heartening to see Alastair Campbell so happy, and so eager to share that happiness.

Thursday 29/1/2004

Good to see that following a war where the country sent troops to die under false pretences and the BBC saw its standing rise internationally and at home by never losing sight of that possibility, sanity has been restored by the utter destruction of Auntie's top management. It's particularly heartening to see Alastair Campbell so happy, and so eager to share that happiness.

As a journalist, I'm particularly interested by the idea that things should only be reported once they are known to be true. There's no room in the modern media for reporters and editors to run with a story based on their experience, insight and background knowledge. Say I'm told by a man with a roadmap that a chip company is about to launch a new processor, but the chip company denies it outright when I ask them: who am I to say that just because last time it happened the chip company launched the thing hours later, there's a chance they may do the same again this time? Or let's pretend that a software company was making promises to fix a problem that they'd promised to fix for five years, but they'd always failed in the past and there was no sign they'd do differently this time: should I mention that in a story?

Clearly not. Best to stick to whatever facts we are given by those in positions of knowledge and power -- after all, as the Hutton report makes plain there is no deceit or incompetence where the great and the good are involved. And what better day to reflect on that than the one on which our arcane and outmoded drug laws are clarified by making possession of cannabis a nonarrestable offence -- then changing the rules so that you can be arrested after all.

Whatever they're smoking, I wish they'd share it around…

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