Let me preface by saying that this series of blogs is not related to George’s condition. As I said before, the only thing I have to say about that is that I wish him a speedy and full recovery.
Today, the weak reporting on George Michael’s accident continues. Why does this matter? It matters because when a full and accurate picture isn’t being painted, it leaves lots of scope for mis-reporting and mis-representation of the reality of a situtation. When you can’t see the full picture, that’s sometimes pretty similar to not being able to see any of the picture at all. Yet again, The Sun, is the only paper that has anything new to say – what are the other news organisations doing? Yet again, the quality of reporting in The Sun is shockingly weak. If you’re taking the time and trouble to interview eyewitnesses, why not ask them the key questions about what they saw and try to get the answers?
The Sun had the opportunity to talk to a motorist who says he was driving directly behind George Michael’s Ranger Rover at the time of the incident (read the story in The Sun). As I said in the last blog, there are significant unanswered questions about what happened, at least as far as the public is concerned (the police will know much more). Some of these questions could have been addressed by such an eyewitness. This is the sum total of quotes from this witness,
I suddenly saw the back door on the driver’s side open. A body appeared and went bounce, bounce, bounce. He was spinning as he came towards me. I had to swerve left. I could have killed him. In my mirror I saw trucks and cars swerving to avoid him.
I have a couple of things to say about this. Firstly, it’s unfortunately and abundantly clear from the previous interviewing of the witness in the white Mini that The Sun is prepared to simply misquote people and even completely make up quotes. So, we don’t even know if this new eyewitness actually said this. I have my doubts about at least some of it. For example, would anyone really say, “bounce, bounce, bounce”? They might. On the other hand, it’s also something The Sun would make up to enable another inappropriate pun that they used as the headline for this story, “Whambusters”. In case you don’t realise, the pun there is about the Second World War RAF attack called “Dambusters” where a special “bouncing bomb” was used.
Let’s assume, though, that the quote is accurate. It might, or might not be, but let’s assume for a minute. It begs some obvious further questions that could have been asked of the witness. So how did The Sun follow this up? The answer is that it didn’t.
What did we learn from this piece of reporting? We learnt that the witness says they saw George exit the vehicle from the rear seat on the drivers side of the vehicle. That’s it. We still learnt nothing about the speed that George’s vehical was travelling at – the eyewitness was not quoted on this subject.
As with the previous report, this new report does appear to move the story on (albeit by a tiny amount), so well done to The Sun for that – they’re the only news organisation that’s doing this.
Really though, the news media should be doing much better than this in painting an accurate, full picture of the events on the M1 last Thursday evening. Given the eyewitnesses we now have, it’s really quite amazing that we know so little about how “conscious” George was immediately after the incident, and how fast his Range Rover was travelling at the point he exited it. There are other really key questions I’d expected the media to have found out answers for by now, but as I said in my previous blog on this subject, I’m not going to do their job for them. Let’s be clear though, the press is not making any effort to paint a good picture of George’s condition before, during or after this incident. The question I’m asking is – why?