Nicola Sturgeon has been crowing after the Independent Press Standards Organisation upheld her complaint about the ‘Memogate’ story that caused such a stir for the Daily Telegraph in April.
Ipso has ruled that the story – based on a memo that was leaked, we later learned, on the orders of the Coalition’s then-Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael – was “significantly misleading” because “the newspaper had failed to make clear that it did not know whether the account the memorandum presented was true”. It stops short of any suggestion that the story was false.
This means we still do not know whether the account in the memo was true.
A Cabinet Office investigation revealed that the civil servant who wrote the memo had a spotless record of accuracy and believed that it was accurate because it set down what he was told, faithfully.
But the SNP distortion machine has rolled into action to claim that Ipso’s ruling supports Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that the memo – and the story – were not true. This is a claim that we cannot accept on trust because, as one of the people involved, she has something to gain by making it.
In fact, none of the statements made by people who took part in the conversations mentioned in the memo may be taken at face value. The only person whose account may be considered impartial is the civil servant who wrote the memo – but everyone seems very keen to dismiss what he said.
According to The Guardian, Sturgeon said: “Subsequent events have proven conclusively that the story was entirely untrue, and today’s ruling simply underlines that.” This is a lie. They did not; it does not.
“They [the press] have a duty to ensure, as far as possible, that the stories they present to readers are fair, balanced and – above all – accurate. The Daily Telegraph, in failing to carry out the most elementary of journalistic checks and balances, failed in this case to meet that duty.”
Which checks and balances would these be, Nicola? Do you mean the Telegraph reporters didn’t ask you if the memo was accurate? Now, why do you think that would be? Could it be because the memo said you secretly wanted David Cameron to be the next Prime Minister, while open claiming you wanted Miliband – suggesting you were lying to the public? You’re too intelligent not to understand that this means anything you said about it would be suspicious.
Why are you insulting the public’s intelligence by claiming otherwise?
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