18 September 2010

A prediction

Flipping through the channels last night, trying to avoid popovision, I saw both the BBC's and the ITV's reporters talking about the arrest of six street cleaners on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against the Pope. Both of them quite carefully explored the possibility that the six might be innocent* but that the Police had to take the suspicion seriously and investigate fully.

This is somehow different from what usually happens, when the reporters talk about a sense that a major attack has been averted, a huge conspiracy revealed. It's clear what happens then: an unattributable police source leaks or briefs the reporters, so although no-one actually says these people are guilty, police and press are happy to let that impression be given.

Something of this is visible in The Sun today, which quotes a "security source" as saying "Information was given on Thursday night of alleged conversations in which the assassination of the Pope were discussed in detail." That's weak, compared to what we've seen before. (And ungrammatical - but when you combine a security source and a Sun reporter, that's the least you expect.)

I can't help thinking the "sources" are preparing the media for the news that nothing was found. Maybe some of the men will be prosecuted for immigration offences, but, I predict, that'll be it. We'll never find out what the information was, or whether the response was proportionate. Those sources will hint at what might have been, and the media will happily repeat it. What a lovely democracy we live in.

*Of course, they are innocent, you know, legally.


Anonymous said...

..and that's why many people don't bother watching the TV news anymore. No integrity.

Keith Nevols said...

Here in Millbank they had all the lamp posts open to check for explosives, sniffer dogs everywhere, and police boats swimming about.

Worst of all, they closed Parliament Square and would not let me through to Embankment to get my coach home. I had to get the underground!