Monday, 16 August 2010

Tom Mangold, Dr Kelly and duff reporting

It is looking increasingly likely that a new inquest will be opened into the death of Dr David Kelly. The pressure for this to happen from many quarters is building and I shall pleased if it materialises.

This particular entry is not so much about the suicide v murder question, it concerns just how slanted a journalist can make his story. The person in my sights is Mr Tom Mangold who, on his official website, describes himself as "one of Britain's top television reporters". Evidently modesty isn't his greatest virtue! I've been reading an article he penned which is on "The Independent" website and dated 4 July 2010. It is headed "David Kelly murdered? Yes, and I bet you believe in the tooth fairy too". The sub-heading starts "Investigative journalist Tom Mangold ..." Mangold takes The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday to task as they said that they produced "damning new evidence" of a cover-up to hide a murder plot. Mangold then writes:

The "new evidence" now includes a statement last week from Mai Pedersen, Kelly's former US Air Force interpreter in Iraq, who was a close friend. After seven years, she has suddenly recalled that Kelly could not have cut his wrist because an elbow injury had left his arm too weak. She has also said that he could not have swallowed 29 tablets because he "had difficulty swallowing pills".

Now it's quite possible that Ms Pedersen repeated the statement at the time described by Mangold but the implication he makes is that this is brand new stuff. Well, it isn't. Her statement came into the public domain in July 2009 a year earlier than Mangold's article. Two possibilities then:

  • Mangold didn't know about the Pedersen information until the week prior to his article, almost unbelievable for an investigative journalist, someone who also said "I knew David rather well".
  • Mangold was aware of the earlier statement from Mai Pedersen but tried to hoodwink his readers into thinking that this was brand new information. If that is indeed so then it is a total disgrace and furthermore an abuse of his profession.
Later on, in berating those in the "Kelly was murdered" camp, Mangold lists a sequence of events which he says must have happened if their theories are true. He includes "They then kidnapped Kelly and forced him out of the house while his wife was present". What is Mangold on for goodness sake. Kelly might have had a phone call to meet someone away from his home, he might have been shadowed by someone on the way to Harrowdown Hill. I don't know and neither does Mangold.

Mangold we know believes that David Kelly killed himself. Nothing wrong with that. And of course objectivity can get kicked out of the window when you are convinced that your version of events is the right one. Certainly on the basis of the points I've raised one shouldn't give much credence to the writings of Mr Mangold.


DNP said...

I well remember Tom Mangold's book on the death of the Romanovs and his search for the 'surviving' Anastasia. Not the most accurate of books and it doesn't sound as if he has improved with the passing years. Maybe he's got another book planned?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mr Mangold sounds a bitof a prat. I'd ahte to make a judgement on how the man met his death having neither the knowledge nor the expertise to interpret properly what I do know...

But if something looks fishy, smells fishy and Tony Blair had anything to do with it....

Nice article.