Having seen a huge rise in my hit-counter, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that Tim Ireland over at bloggerheads had linked my previous article on Paula Murray’s horrendous story condemning the survivors of the Dunblane Massacre for leading normal lives. Reading through his article on the same story, I noticed the comments on the bits in red and his reference to the enemies of reason blog. It turns that MSP Elizabeth Smith had replied to a email sent to her asking how she could make such ill-judged remarks. It reads thusly:
My comments were not made in the context of Dunblane. The journalist did not ask me anything about Dunblane nor did I comment on it or on any individual involved. It would be quite wrong for me to do so.
I have made comments recently to several newspapers about the issues related to young people using internet sites and the inappropriate use of that material. It is in relation to these views that I was approached and I can assure you there were no references to Dunblane.
What the Sunday Express chooses to print as the context is a matter for the relevant editor.
Now, obviously one must take comments by any politician with a pinch of salt. Yet we’ve already seen the depths to which Paula Murray is willing to reach, and it wouldn’t surprise me if her groundwork and quote-finding where at a similar level. Effectively, it looks like a leading journalist at a major tabloid paper has approached Smith asking questions in one context, and then warped her quotes into a completely different one. It hasn’t only misrepresented Smith, it has also mislead the entire readership of the Sunday Express.
It actually beggars belief that a story like this can be reported, drafted, redrafted, edited and published on the front page in a national newspaper without anyone within the newspaper showing a bit of concern.