I’ll be candid and say that I had treated with some caution allegations that News International journalists had colluded with others to undermine former members of the Child Abuse Inquiry panel, nevertheless it is difficult to ignore the mounting evidence of bias and spin.
It is never a good idea for journalists themselves to become the story.
Anyone reading today’s Sunday Times will certainly not have been given a balanced report and will not be better informed.
Let’s first look at what Graham Wilmer posted yesterday;
The Sunday Times phoned me this morning, asking questions because Mr Lavery has told them the police are investigation me. His latest complaint is because I published on this blog the letter he persuaded Leigh Day to send to the CSA inquiry and the Home Secretary, in their attempts to discredit me and the inquiry. But, just a moment, Mr Lavery had already put that letter into the public domain when he gave it to the Observer on December 5th, and they published parts of it the following day – including revelations about his medical condition, as you can see here:
Survivors Support Service
As you can see Mr Lavery had already put this letter into the public domain along with details of his medical condition. You’d have expected Tom Harper, Home Affairs correspondent for The Sunday Times to have reported that fact if he were to do a story on the subject, wouldn’t you ?
After all, isn’t it the duty of a journalist, especially a broadsheet journalist on a newspaper of record, to inform the readership ?
Perhaps you’d also expect Tom Harper to report that Graham Wilmer had made complaints to the police against Andrew Lavery and Ian McFadyen last week. It is what you’d expect, right ? That would be ‘balanced’ reporting and Times readers would understand that Lavery’s police complaint was just a desperate response to the allegations of harassment made against him.
You’d have thought also that Tom Harper would have taken the time to include the fact that the original allegations made by Andrew Lavery against Graham Wilmer were investigated by the Home Office who found nothing of concern;
“As a result of these allegations, and in line with normal procedures for complaints of this nature, legal advisers considered the allegations against Barbara Hearn and Graham Wilmer. They found nothing of concern. This was an internal process and not a formal investigation.”
The Home Office
In the interests of informing The Times readership, you’d have thought that this meaty fact from a government department would have been included, wouldn’t you ?
Alas, you’ll find none of these salient facts in Tom Harper’s report for The Sunday Times today and I think it is fair for readers of this blog to ask themselves why.
Might it have something to do with the fact that Times journalists had developed a close relationship with those behind the undermining of former panellists at a time when those former panellists were unable to respond ?
I’m sure readers will recall the hatchet job done on Barbara Hearn published in The Times on November 1st last year which can be found HERE and I’m sure readers will have noted with interest the allegations that News International journalists were very close to Ian McFadyen and Andrew Lavery at the time that the appalling attacks on former panel members were being made.
And so I don’t think readers of this blog will have to tax their minds too hard to come up with a reason why Tom Harper of The Sunday Times wrote and published a bias and unbalanced piece today which failed to inform its own readership of so many salient facts.
Here is part of Tom Harper’s article. I can’t reproduce it all due to fair usage issues but I can assure readers that the full article is as I’ve described.
Tom Harper Home Affairs correspondent Published: 22 February 2015
POLICE are investigating a former panel member of the troubled child sex abuse inquiry after he removed confidential documents from the Home Office and posted them on the internet.
Graham Wilmer, who had advised the inquiry panel before it was disbanded earlier this month by Theresa May, the home secretary, published on his blog the correspondence between government officials and Andrew Lavery, a high-profile survivor of child sex abuse.
Wilmer has been locked in an online feud with Lavery, whose whistleblowing led to a police investigation into abuse by monks at a Catholic boarding school.
Since May reformed the inquiry under the leadership of Justice Lowell Goddard, a New Zealand High Court judge, Lavery has played a key role representing victims of historic sex crimes.
Wilmer, who heads the Lantern Project, a charity that offers help to abuse victims, is angry at the loss of his position and blames Lavery for it.
The row boiled over last week when Wilmer published on his blog highly sensitive correspondence detailing Lavery’s health and history of abuse that had been sent privately to the child sex abuse inquiry by his lawyers.
I’ve seen the correspondence and I can understand why Andrew Lavery refused to hand it over to the Home Affairs Select Committee when Chairman Keith Vaz MP asked him to. Why ? Because it clearly shows that Andrew Lavery had misled people over the nature and context of the communication.
Still, don’t go looking to The Times to inform you on this issue. Far from being impartial and objective, they’ve taken a side.
And I can tell you straight, they’ve taken the side of lies and trolling. In other words, they’ve taken the wrong side and it reflects badly on them.