26 May 2011

Lost in translation - or another Daily Mail 'wind-up'?

Press Conference Lancaster House, London. State Visit 25.05.2011
Yesterday, Barack Obama and David Cameron held a joint press conference at Lancaster House in London following official bi-lateral talks at Downing Street that morning.

Barack Obama was asked by a journalist for his thoughts on the progress of the on - going Gary McKinnon case, accounts of which can be found here  and here.

Gary McKinnon and his mother, Janis Sharp
This Morning, the Daily Mail has an article, written by James Slack and Michael Seamark, giving an account of what Barack Obama's answer was and what it means for Gary McKinnon.

The headline

"Fresh blow for Gary McKinnon as President Obama refuses to halt extradition"

implies a flat refusal by the President to support the moves to allow Gary McKinnon to remain in Britain for any ensuing trial. They go on to assert:

"Gary McKinnon’s hopes of avoiding extradition to the U.S. suffered a severe setback yesterday when Barack Obama declined to allow him to be tried in Britain.
Campaigners had hoped the President would halt the legal proceedings because of the Asperger’s sufferer’s precarious mental state.
But Mr Obama – despite previously saying he wanted to find an ‘appropriate solution’ to end the computer hacker’s ordeal – effectively endorsed the extradition process."
The rest of the article can be found  here.

Also this morning, the BBC News online page carries an article describing the same question Barack Obama was asked and his answer, together with a video clip.

The BBC's version of events are completely different in tone and interpretation from those of the Daily Mail. In fact, the BBC also carry reaction from Janis Sharp, Gary McKinnon's mother, whose optimism and lifted spirits are evident.

So why the wildly conflicting accounts and interpretation of exactly the same event?

Is it an attempt by the newspaper to 'chivvy' up the slowly-grinding wheels of the law? 

Is the Daily Mail using hyperbole and inaccuracy to push Obama and Cameron into a decision which would please campaigners and Gary McKinnon's family?

Public pressure has largely died down in this case as the years have rolled by and perhaps there is a case for a re ignition of public awareness to bring things to a head. But is this the way to do it? By misreporting and attempting to whip up anger instead of reasoned argument? 

Is this not just yet another example of the use of misreporting and misrepresentation in order to manipulate public opinion?

The Daily Mail describes the 'fury', 'horror' and 'anger' of the nation on almost every issue it gives page space to - strange how very quickly it is able to canvass millions to gauge our mood....!