George Michael And Continued Poor Reporting

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?

14 thoughts on “George Michael And Continued Poor Reporting

  1. Hey Remarkable, let me start by saying I have always appreciated your blog, and I like reading your posts! As for your last pieces…maybe you should openly state your questions, because I personally don’t really get what it is exactly that you want. Police is “unaware” of any damage to his car, and it is obvious the car itself didn’t crash. George Michael fell out of his car one way or the other. How clear do you need the picture? There’s only one way to get out of the car, which is through the door! Does it matter which door it was? Or whether he jumped, was pushed or accidently fell our of the car? What is it to anybody why he actually landed in the road?

    And it’s not like eyewitnesses can know the answer to that except from what they have been told at the scene. And you can’t blame them for hearing what they have heard! Also you can’t blame them if in such a situation their memory is a little different here and there than was actually the case, there are great deal of studies into the reliability of eyewitnesses. You seem to be criticizing a lot by focusing on inconsequential details in The Sun…but does it matter, George fell/jumped/stepped out of his car onto the moterway, the details are of no concern to anyone really. Isn’t this really a case of people (fans mostly) thinking they have the right to know what happened to ease their own minds? To have some control over the situation? Just my questions🙂

    You have to give it to The Sun, it’s not like the are making up stories about what happened in the car that landed George on the road. So they are sensationalizing here and there, so what I think? It’s the bloody newspaper, it’s been like that forever, that’s how people sell their stuff! Just as it is team George Michael’s (Connie & co) job to only say what is convenient for them to say. Do I hear any complaints about them?? Very little they say is the complete story, and they are the ones that should be looking out for the fans, not the The Sun. Fans are ignorant not to see the wool is being pulled over their eyes at times, and instead go blame the press for doing what they are there for…make sensational stories.

    Lastly, I like to take the opportunity to say that those who cry out for #respect for George the most, are the ones who appear the most in George Michael’s and Fadi’s + family’s!! Twitter time line! Have some respect yourselves! I’m wandering off here….:)

    I have no questions, it is what it is. BBC seems to be backing up most of what has been printed in the press, so I take it overall it’s sort of🙂 pretty clear what happened to George. (I trust his friends didn’t toss him out! :)) Hope he will be fine!

    Thanks again for your blog, it’s a joy reading! Keep them coming! Ps. Sorry for the extended reply!🙂

  2. Obviously, there is no “right” to know anything. However, given the there seems to be enormous interest on the part of the papers to run this story, you’d have thought they might want to find out what happened and paint a full, accurate picture.

    1) Have they really done their best to find out how fast the car was travelling at the point George exited the vehicle. All they’ve done is state the speed limit of a motorway. They have no quotes that give estimates of the speed, and show the basis of those estimates. The speed at which this incident happened is clearly massively relevant. There’s a difference between 20mph, 40mph, 70mph etc.

    2) Have they really done their best to establish how conscious George was immediately after the incident at the scene? We have heard that he was “conscious”, but was he “minimally conscious”? That is, completely unaware of who he was or what his surroundings were? Or was his brain functioning normally? That is massively important in terms of George’s prognosis.

    3) Have they really done their best to identify the driver of the car and the other passenger? You wouldn’t expect them to want to talk to the press, but knowing their identities would add to the picture.

    4) Have the papers done their best to get quotes from the ambulance service and the police? I don’t think they have. There have been almost no quotes from police spokesmen in the mainstream press.

    5) The press assert he exited the car at 70mph. Have they done their best to see how likely it is that someone wearing no crash helmet or protective clothing would be fine if that was the case? I don’t think they have.

    5) George Michael fell out of a car on a motorway, and his official PR say he’s “fine”. Yet he’s still in hospital a week later. HIs official PR says this is a normal period of observation for a “bump” on the head. No it’s not normal period of observation at all. Something else is going on here. Have the papers done their best to find out what? I don’t think they have.

    I could go on, but I won’t. I think the quality of reporting has been shockingly bad. I’ve majored on The Sun because they’re the only news organisation that has done any reporting. Clearly, pretty much every paper has done precisely zero real reporting. They’ve justed cut and pasted.

  3. and then.. if you are a witness of this why waiting almost a week to talk ? or if this witness was convinced to talk only with police why does he now decide to talk to the Sun? if we believe that David is not telling anything to keep the investigation procedure secret, wasn’t it something being told to this witness from the police ? (to keep it secret?) . If he saw everthing it means anyway that he hadn’t stop we assume?

  4. You are referring to his medical condition and wanting to know details which could give you a hint of what his condition may or may not be. I hope I can assume newspapers have no way of finding that out because of patient confidentiality. There is so much an ambulance spokesperson can say.

    Even if you would know the details concerning the travelling speed you yourself would still be guessing as to what his condition would be because some people have miraculous outcomes to accidents. I have heard many times of people falling down from great hights and only have bruises. Yet there are people who fall practically standing still (with their bikes and stuff) and die hitting their head. Speed would not give a conclusive insight of how George is doing, it would still be guessing.

    Ofcourse he can still be in hospital, because he is George Michael. Maybe it’s normal for others but he is not normal and maybe the hospital doesn’t want to take any risks because he is who he is and would toss anyone else out after a few days. Maybe he has a concusion and he is rich enough to choose to stay in hospital just out of luxery…all guesses, but one thing I know, you can’t rely on anyone to be honest and truthful about it. Everyone has their own agenda in this. We will have to wait and see, And maybe it’s not as severe as you think (make it look)…maybe he actually is ‘fine’ and all this talk and analyses is unnecessary and the press is right not to dig too deep in it as we would wish.

  5. @Nikki- nothing says luxury like staying in a hospital. That’s the last place George would choose to be if he were OK. I would think the police would have already interviewed him if he only has a concussion or a not-so-serious injury.

  6. These blogs are about the quality of reporting on this story by the press. I specifically said in the first blog that I don’t have any comment on what’s happening with George other than to wish him a full and speedy recovery.

  7. The more I think about this obviously poor and shallow reporting, I come to the conclusion that maybe the press has just had it with stories about George Michael’s numerous car-related “incidents” over the years, and so has the general public. The general public probably has no real intrest in finding out what exactly happened, it’s enough to know that he fell out of a car, and thus the press only invests mininal time and effort into asking follow-up questions or getting additional statements from police/ ambulance personnel. Let’s face it, to the press and general public, George Michael is a former popstar, who is now only notorious for his drug- and health problems, run-ins with the law and car-related incidents. This is really just another one of those incidents, albeit a very bizzare one.

    Plus, it is extremely likely that George’s PR-team will deny any reports about details of the accident or his current condition anyway, so why bother?

    I’m fully prepared to accept that we’ll probably never be entirely sure of what really happened, since I certainly don’t expect George’s PR-team to tell the full truth, and to be honest, I’ll take anything George himself might say on this matter with a grain of salt too…

  8. I dunno, Anne. When George had pneumonia, there was huge really in-depth reporting by many newspapers doing their own stories.

  9. @Rem: Absolutely, but the circumstances were not as “confusing”. As far as I remember, that was a pretty straight-forward story…

    (On a sidenote: Wasn’t there supposed to be an official update by George’s team yesterday? Did I miss that?)

  10. It was, but with the pneumonia they really did go into detail writing major stories around the whole subject area. For example, they even found out the type of therapeutic bed George was in, and wrote original articles about how the bed worked. They spoke to experts in the field of pneumonia to understand what the risks were. There was a huge amount of reporting by multiple newspapers. This time, pretty much zero, despite them all running this a major news story.

    The BBC said yesterday that they were expecting an update yesterday, yes.

  11. @Julie, by luxury I mean, if he doesn’t feel well, like with having a concussion, he may feel more secure in hospital than at home, even though technically he would be allowed to go home. The police are quoted to have said that they do not treat the accident as suspicious. Which means maybe they do not have a cause to question him, or maybe they wait for him to feel perfectly fine before seeing him because it’s not important. Maybe they have already seen him without us knowing?

    @Anne great insight!

  12. Nothing to do with the quality of reporting, but I would like to say sth else…
    I am not being naive here. I know George has been struggling with anxiety/depression for years and Yes, recent time has been very difficult for him. But he is not that desperate, and he is not the kind of mad or mental man, as the tabloids have been trying so hard for years to picture him! I simply know he would never consciously do such thing/harm to himself! And I don’t believe it for a second. In fact, let’s be honest, it is hard to believe that anyone would be brave enough to throw himself in such horrific way under the string of speeding cars. Just the thought is terrifying…

    It is strange, nobody seems to consider the option which seems very possible…It happened to me once, when I was tired after work and fell asleep in the afternoon,…then woke up a couple of hours later when it was still bright and sunny, and I jumped off my bed so fast being in a panic, thinking it was another morning and that I was late for work…in fact it was still just evening the same day…,but it took me a minute to get back to reality & realize that…
    Another example: in the past, my brother, a grown up, healthy man, not taking absolutely any medications, he suddenly got up in the middle of the night, went to another bedroom, pulled the curtains, opened the window wide and was looking out…Luckily I was not sleeping then, so I heard it and I quickly run there and approached him very gently…His eyes were wide open, he told me he was seeing some cars, ambulance and people downstairs, outside…I looked out, but nobody was there, completely silent, quiet night…Yet he was insisting again that he was seeing all that…I realized he was fully in his sleep, and not aware of what he was doing at all…I took him to his bedroom and waited till he was sleeping deep and safe…But it was very scary and potentially dangerous…anything could have happened if he had been alone then…Mind you, we lived on the 5th floor…

    Only considering, George may be taking some kind of anxiety pills, which often make you feel sleepy, it is very possible that while sitting comfortably in the back seat of his car, he might have felt dozy, might have been sleeping lightly…You can fall asleep so easily when you can relax and someone else is driving for you.
    Even without having taken any medicine, George might have simply got rapidly awaken from dozzing off, and not quite realizing where he even was, perhaps even thinking that they reached home and, not being quite with it in the first second reaction, he instinctively might have opened the door to get out from the car…and the tragedy happened…
    When You wake up like this, unexpectedly, at first moment you act fast, before you think, while your mind is still partly in different “sleeping reality”. It can last for only few seconds,…but can cost you dearly. You don’t need to be on any pills for this to happen…I think this is very possibly what might have happened to George…If I am right, then this would be an incredibly unfortunate and tragic accident with such serious consequences to his health, both physical and emotional…

    But regardless of how it happend, it is very sad that tabloids and so many people make a mad man or a joke from George, trying to create the atmosphere of scandal around his tragedy. People seem to forget, he is a human being, a good man, and he has got feelings. They seem to always hit him hardest when he is down. It is really sad. …This was a very serious accident. We should have little bit more respect for him and consideration for his current situation/health condition. He really needs a lot of support right now, and kindness, …not cruelty.
    My thoughts and best wishes are with him and I pray George is strong enough, that he will fully recover from this drama.

  13. @Aneta- The tabloids have never been kind to George. Why do you think they would start now? You can think whatever you want about why George ended up on the motorway, but there is cause for speculation as he has a history of chronic depression and drug abuse. We will probably never get the real story because it’s none of our business, but it is human nature to wonder. Personally, I don’t think it was a suicide attempt, but do think drugs were involved, whether they were illegal or prescribed. You just don’t hear about people (in their right minds) flying out of cars in speeding traffic. You might do something crazy like that on Ambien, but he shouldn’t have been on that while in a car at 6pm. His fans care about him and love him, but even they are scratching their heads over this.

  14. As far as I’m concerned I find all this very strange. And for me the strangest thing of all is having absolutely no news about his condition, wether they come from the Hospital or his PR. The thing is that the fans are worried (at least I am and I admit it), George knows it (if he’s conscient), and in previous occasions someone would at least say something… but this time all we get is silence. No. I am very sorry but his is strange. And yes, press was never kind to GM, why would they start now? George is old news? Yes he is, but I don’t buy that. I just hope he’s recovering from whatever happened. Not even Fadi tweets anything. Come on….

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