Andrew Gilligan’s hypocrisy


12:22 pm - May 7th 2008

by Sunny Hundal    


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I guess should have mentioned and emphasised this little-known-fact earlier. But for a little while I had some respect for Andrew Gilligan’s journalism. Once he went way over the top and sold his soul to the Evening Standard’s vendetta against Ken Livingstone, that evaporated.

First, a bit of background.

You can read Gilligan in this Guardian profile squirming while explaining why Boris is apparently the more left-wing or progressive candidate:

“One of the things that’s happened with Boris,” Gilligan says, looking slightly uncomfortable, “is he’s quite clearly come to understand a little bit more. You see, the things he said about black people were not because he’s a racist I fundamentally do not believe him to be a racist. It was probably because just he did not really understand what London was like. Now, over the past nine months or so, he’s been round, and actually you can see his, erm … you can see his, his, er … his understanding growing.”

And yesterday in the Independent Gilligan peddled this:

The Standard’s comment pages were hostile to Ken. But we used arguments, mainly derived from the facts we discovered, not insults. We separated news and comment. In commentary I make no secret of my views, so readers can take them into account as part of deciding how seriously to take my news reports. It doesn’t seem to have stopped the judges, who gave those reports the top prize in newspaper journalism.

Facts?

Like when it claimed the Congestion Charge only bought in £14 million?

Like its claim that: Suicide Bomb Backer Runs Ken’s Campaign….. when, erm, that clearly wasn’t the case?

The Evening Standard’s campaign was about smear by association.
– Ken’s association with Lee Jasper (who I hold no candle for) and Jasper’s association with those black groups like the Stephen Lawrence fund!

– Ken’s association with suicide bomber backers apparently running his campaign!

– Ken’s association with al-Qaradawi! Next thing you know Ken would be taking al-Qaradawi’s advice on what to do about gays and Jews! Its Boris the progressive versus Ken the homophobe hugger!!

If smear by association is legitimate, then what about this?

Not many know that Andrew Gilligan is a regular host at the Iranian television channel Press TV. Let that sink in for a bit. Press TV is funded by the Iranian government because it wants to create a global alternative to CNN.

Let me put it in other words. Part of Andrew Gilligan’s salary is paid (indirectly) by the very anti-semitic and homophobic Iranian government. I’m assuming he still works for them. But he definitely did at one point. You can see his name listed on their website.

I wonder what Gilligan would have written if Ken had received money from the Iranian government?

Commentators applauding the Evening Standard’s crusade against Livingstone seem to think this was simply good journalism. They are fools. There’s no doubt he unearthed enough stuff to ask legitimate questions, as any good journalist should. But this went way beyond that; this was mostly smear by association.

Andrew Gilligan’s hypocrisy is that he has tried to position himself as a progressive and left-wing journalist simply exposing Ken’s cronies. But an Evening Standard journalist being (indirectly) paid by the Iranian Government cannot really call himself progressive or on the left. Can he?

This is why I said we, the bloggers, have to watch Boris Johnson. The Evening Standard won’t do it.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Labour party ,Media ,Westminster

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Reader comments


Talk about a sore loser.

You should have gone to his Frontline Club talk; you could have challenged him directly.

(They have a lot of good stuff on by the way of interest to conspirators of all persuasions…)

http://www.frontlineclub.com/

Interesting to hear about Gilligan and Press TV. Apparently they have a history of: “presenting dubious reports and analysis with no evidence to back them up.”

Nothing like our Mr Gilligan then.

Could be wrong but it semed like the whole of yesterday’s Standard was devoted to Boris-Watching.

They even published this article which was a breath of fresh air for anyone who (like me) is concerned about the culture of violence surrounding some young black children.

If he can put a lid on the murders and help these kids do better, won’t he have been worth the job?

4. Sharon Benson

“Jasper’s association with those black groups like the Stephen Lawrence fund!”

Wasn’t it about Jasper’s association with groups run by his personal friends ie Erroll Walters (Brixton Base), Karen Chouhan (the 1990 Trust) and Joel O’loughlin (Diversity International) and his business associates like Emerson Braithwaite (Ethnic Mutual Fund & the African Caribbean Positive Image Foundation).

Why link Jasper to the Stephen Lawrence fund?

Gilligan did not link Jasper to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust – at least, not in the article to article to which Sunny refers – Lee Jasper and Doreen Lawrence were ‘linked’ only in the sense that their names appear in the same article.

Gilligan’s point about Doreen Lawrence was that, during her attacks on Boris Johnson, she did not declare that the trust had received a substantial sum of money from the LDA. Similar claims are made about a number of other people and organisations. As the article says, it is about

Dozens of apparently independent people or organisations which have praised Ken Livingstone or attacked Boris Johnson have received large sums of taxpayers’ money from City Hall

The point about Jasper was the claim that a number of people of people that have received money from London government, some of it personally signed off by Jasper, have likewise not declared that during their support for Livingstone, Jasper, or attacks on Johnson.

It seems to me Liberal Conspiracy is getting more in danger of throwing stones while standing in a glass house.

Talk about a sore loser.

No surprise you avoided the main point them cjcjc! If this was Ken you’d be writing exclamation marks all over the place.

7. Margin4 Error

Gilligan did his job. His mortgage is paid for by the Mail Group and he attacked Labour with all the sence of smug superiority that makes him the man he always has been.

So why is anyone angry at this? It is the game he plays and always has done.

I worry the anger might just be among those who liked him when his pathetic and self indulgent attitude to news reporting led him to write just as valuless tripe that fell in line with their views.

After all – vicious, decietful and shoddy tripe attacking Tony Blair (and killing Dr Kelly) was good news – unlike the same vicious, decietful and shoddy tripe attacking Ken.

is that right?

Possibly!!!!

He came across well at his talk though.
Very interesting events generally at that club.

In case there are some readers who may be tempted to think these numbers are not in themselves very large, let us remember that these teenage killings are not a series of freak events. Each fatal stabbing or shooting is at the apex of a pyramid of violence, thuggery and bullying that is making life less pleasant for everyone in the city.

Scaremongering tosser. I wish some politician, *any* politician had the balls to say “27 murders is absolutely sod-all in a city of 8 million people, and if you think it’s a Terrible Affliction that’s more worth worrying about than the economy or the transport system or the education system then you’re a moron”…

“is that right?”

He didn’t get Blair, he did get Livingstone. In my book that’s the wrong bloody way round, considering the relative merits of London and Basra as places to live at the moment.

I don’t think everything he said was “deceitful and shoddy tripe” by a long way and it’s just a little bit of a stretch to say he killed David Kelly. Much of it was true, but I have never liked Gilligan, even after Hutton. The annoying thing about Hutton was that views on Gilligan were so polarised. For the Blairites and the pro-war lot, he was the villain of the piece who had made everything up and smeared the dear leader. On the other side, he became such a cause celebre of the anti-war movement that it was almost as if he had done *nothing* wrong. He did. He had a great story and he screwed it up, not once, but twice (in the BBC report he did and, even more so, the Mail on Sunday column the next weekend), and then he pretty unforgivably released Kelly’s name to the Foreign Affairs Committee, while attempting to draw in colleagues such as Susan Watts (claiming Kelly was her source which – while it turned out to be true – he had absolutely no way of knowing) as allies.

The result of it all was obviously ludicrous and parts of Gilligan’s report were clearly true. The anti-war movement have much to be grateful to Gilligan for – the release of plenty of documents that showed that political pressure was brought about to remove words like “possibly”, “has the potential to”, etc – but plenty to be angry about too. Had he simply stuck to what he had been told, or even corrected himself given that he had quite obviously exaggerated a story that needed no exaggeration, then the story that would have been concentrated upon was the obvious truth that parts of the intelligence used were cobbled together and, as Kelly actually said IIRC, “blown out of all proportion”. The BBC would never have been so utterly cowed by the government and we would have been spared Blair’s smug gloating about it. I think the real hero of it all, incidentally, was Susan Watts, who ran the story on Newsnight a couple of days later and was consequently shot at from both sides for her journalistic integrity and commitment to what she had actually been told.

History has essentially repeated itself with the Jasper/Livingstone affair. He had potentially an excellent story but couldn’t help himself from coming out with reams and reams of bullshit to spin it in a particular way and make it look more sensational than it was. I think he’s probably a fine investigator, but an absolutely hopeless, egotistical reporter.

Oh, and incidentally I think that Guardian piece is woeful journalism, even if I agree with the main thrust of it. You can make anyone sound evasive by faithfully transcribing every time they say “er…”.

Gilligan is an investigative journalist and does what he says on the tin.

Ken was a disgrace – thank goodness he’s been consigned to the wastebin of history.
The corruption, cronyism and wastefulness of his predecessor means it should be easy for Boris to demonstrate massive progress.

You seem emotionally flooded, but even if you weren’t, I doubt anybody would be listening to what you have to say.

You seem emotionally flooded, but even if you weren’t, I doubt anybody would be listening to what you have to say. ~ praguetory

Oh man that was so funny.

I bet Sunny will cry himself to sleep tonight… Ha ha ha! You’re killing me. Seriously. Oh, my sides are hurting. Where do you get such great lines, PT? Huh?

Fucking Genius.

:o|

15. andrew gilligan

This is very sad stuff, Sunny. Firstly: neither of the stories you cite was actually written by me. If you are going to attack someone for getting their facts wrong, you should surely check your own. I’m still waiting for anyone in the sour-grapes fraternity to produce a single example of anything I wrote about Ken that was inaccurate.

Secondly: you criticise me for working for Press TV, but unfortunately forget to mention that you have appeared on my show.

Thirdly: youattack me for partisanship, while your own definition of good journalism is transparently partisan. Any of my journalism which has exposed people you dislike (such as the Blair Government over Iraq, or the Hindu Forum of Britain) you deem good. Any of my journalism which exposes people you like (such as Ken Livingstone) is deemed bad.

You therefore commit the exact crime of which you accuse me – you see journalism as a partisan tool to be used against people of whom you disapprove, but from whom others should be exempted. The fact is – leftwingers can be liars and phonies too, and any journalist worthy of the name will sink his teeth into the leg of anyone who deserves it, regardless of their political views. And that, I suppose, is the difference between us.

To be fair Andrew, Sunny didn’t actually say those articles were written by you. He just used them to undermine your statement that the Evening Standard coverage was based entirely on facts. It wasn’t. Ken’s campaign was not run by suicide bomb backers and the congestion charge has not brought in only £14 million. If you are defending your paper you cannot dissociate yourself from these leading articles, (one of which was published on the eve of the election) even if you didn’t write them.

On the subject of disassociating yourself from those people who pay you, you haven’t actually offered any explanation as to why you have taken money off of a regime that has been responsible for extreme human rights abuses. I’m sure you have your reasons, but it certainly puts your ‘revelation’ about Ken Livingstone speaking to a group associated with the Tamil Tigers in a different light.

The congestion charge article was based on attack quotes from an anonymous ‘economist’ working for a bank and Phil Taylor, a hard-right Thatcherite Tory from Ealing Council who had previously made a point about the cost of bus travel on Dave Hill’s blog which involved getting the fare wrong by 70% (I’ll be charitable and say that in my opinion he didn’t know what he was talking about rather than deliberately misrepresenting it).

It didn’t balance this by any discussion of the actual nature of the CC finances or the duty to spend the proceeds on public transport and report the finances to the Secretary of State every four years (a FoI request for the 2007 figures would have been a good start) or critical examination of the analyses put forward by Taylor and Mr. Anonymous or critical examination of the figures put forward by TfL in its extremely detailed annual reviews. ‘TfL CC Figures A Bunch Of Lies And Here’s Why’ would have been a genuinely great scoop, if it was backed up with cast iron proof. The fact that it wasn’t suggests to me that such proof doesn’t exist, and thus that the CC finances are perfectly sound and are providing a steady income of £100m+ every year ringfenced for London’s transport system, as TfL claim.

Instead, the article went on to follow the attack quotes with a brief quote from a CC supporter and a string of random facts about the Livingstone GLA without any coherent story or structure or analysis or attempt to weigh the competing arguments. In short it was a piece of crap, and if that’s the standard of journalism that wins awards these days, God help us all in our blogging, as we really are the last hope of sanity. You could have been the man who brought down Blair, Mr. Gilligan, instead you’re a second rate hack writing crap in a crap newspaper. Well done, mate.

The saddest thing is that you could have been a genuinely great journalist.

18. andrew gilligan

Tom, baby – re-read my first comment. I did not write the C-charge story. And Adam: the post is entitled “Andrew Gilligan’s hypocrisy,” so it seems odd that it should cite two stories by someone else as proof of my failings. And everyone else – you lost, fair and square, because your man was a liar and a sleazebag, and I am proud to have exposed those facts to the people of London. Once again – is there anything I actually wrote that you want to dispute?

Here’s a thought folks, Boris says he’ll scrap the publicity budget and no longer publish ‘London Life’. And quite right too, that job is being served by the Evening Standard, London Lite and the Daily Mail. Perhaps they should be officially incorporated into the GLA, at no expense to the taxpayer…..

Secondly: you criticise me for working for Press TV, but unfortunately forget to mention that you have appeared on my show.

That’s what I call a “gotcha”!!

21. Margin4 Error

Dan

decietful – he lied about the nature of Dr Kelly’s position and seemingly too about some of the things he said.
shoddy – he didn’t even have backed up notes on the things he claimed (which at best means he can’t refute that he made it up).
tripe – a handy word to sum up such low standards of professionalism in journalism.

anyone looking at that case – be they pro or anti war – could see that it was pretty damn poor journalism.

But thats my point – Gilligan (and maybe he’d like to refute this) isn’t really a journalist. He’s a campaigner. So lies and shoddy journalism were not the guage by which he should be judged.

He made life hard for the man he was trying to make life hard for (Tony Blair) and so succeeded perfectly well. (His mistake being that he used a the BBC to do so – and so got into trouble over the lack of journalism).

And in the london elections he made life hard for the man he was trying to make life hard for (Ken Livingstone) – this time its fine though because he wasn’t working for the bbc – he was working for the Mail Group.

margin – I would be careful – some of what you say above might well be libellous

Whereas your man is in the pay of the tobacco and property industries and friends with convicted fraudsters. Didn’t see too much of that in the run up to the election now did we Andrew?

Still, I notice you still haven’t addressed the Press TV question. To be honest I don’t blame you. Why should you be smeared through your association with other people. That wouldn’t be fair now would it.

As for your articles, it is hard to question them when much of your evidence is based on the word of one disgruntled ex-employee. Especially when that single source has been professionally discredited themselves. Still it’s good to hear you’re drinking buddies with him now. I take it you buy the rounds.

Ken didn’t receive any donations from the developers whose carbuncles he so assiduously promoted did he, oh no?

25. Margin4 Error

liberlous maybe cjcjc – but you’ll note it isn’t untrue.

and I can’t imagine a wealthy guy like Gilligan wasting money on a court case of questionable merit for the few pence he might get out of a poor man like me.

26. Margin4 Error

I really must check my spelling. that’s shocking.

Looking forward to your fearless expose’s of Boris Andrew G. Although I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time.

Secondly: you criticise me for working for Press TV, but unfortunately forget to mention that you have appeared on my show.

Nice try Andrew! Except I asked them to donate that money to charity… in this case Greenpeace. Go and check it.

The point is, you were paid indirectly by a regime that goes against all the principles you claim to be espousing. Bullshit. You’re a fraud.

And anyway, appearing on a show to give my opinion, in which instance I specifically went out of my way to criticise the Iranian regime, is rather different to being paid by them week in week out isn’t it?

30. andrew gilligan

Folks,

You are in denial. The articles were true – that’s why they resonated. I’ve heard a lot of silly abuse on this thread, but I still haven’t heard a single example of anything I wrote that was untrue. I sincerely feel that unless you come to terms with reality and face up honestly to why you lost, you will be out of power for a generation.

31. Margin4 Error

Mr Gilligan

Do you really believe that resonance is born exclusively from truth? If so I must correct you.

Looking to your own employer for a perfect counter case – how about the low take up of the MMR jab among Daily Mail readers during the period in which it reported the falsehood that MMR was linked to autism?

That story resonated and indeed served its purpose of driving a wedge between Tony Blair and centre ground middle class voters. It was of course not true, as anyone who read the ‘evidence’ for a link knew full well. (It was amazingly based on no more than a very short period in which levels of MMR take-up and levels of autism rose in correlation)

So as Hitler might have said – the bigger the lie the more people will believe it.

You need a better defence than that. Surely my “It worked” defence is an option?

But Andrew you said this in your article above:

The Standard’s comment pages were hostile to Ken. But we used arguments, mainly derived from the facts we discovered, not insults. We separated news and comment.

Still believe your ‘facts’ were presented properly??

Margin – I wouldn’t go too far down that road!

“Doctors have warned Ken Livingstone his outspoken opposition to the MMR vaccine could leave him partly responsible for youngsters’ deaths.
The London Mayor says his child, by partner Emma Beal, would not have the controversial triple jab and he has advised parents to opt for single vaccines. ”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2082344.stm

Margin – you are making an error of logic.

Andrew’s defence is not that his stories resonated; it is that they were true.

I wouldn’t go too far down the MMR route by the way!

“Doctors have warned Ken Livingstone his outspoken opposition to the MMR vaccine could leave him partly responsible for youngsters’ deaths.
The London Mayor says his child, by partner Emma Beal, would not have the controversial triple jab and he has advised parents to opt for single vaccines. ”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2082344.stm

Another Livingstone lie then – excellent!

Andrew Gilligan,

Out of power for a decade?

Are you framing us all as Labourites? Anyway, I thought you were a left-winger who simply hated Ken? Aren’t you one of us?? ;o)

Personally I just think you’re a paid hack. Nothing wrong about that – we all have mortgages etc. But please don’t pretend your one of the good guys.

I was no fan of Ken. But I also think Boris will be out on his arse inside two years.

BTW Andrew Gilligan,

I respect you for challenging your critics in their own forum.

Aaron

37. Margin4 Error

cjcjc

you have stretched beyond your reach there mate.

firstly is was Mr Gilligan’s logic not mne. He said “The articles were true – that’s why they resonated”. I don’t think for a second he believes that. Only an idiot would believe that untrue stories can’t resonate.

secondly – while you may be on here for a bit of post Ken gloating, I’m not your target. I posted to point out that the same people annoyed that “Andrew” smeared their friends are seemingly very bitter about it mainly because they liked him when he did the exact same thing to people they disliked. (Tony Blair for example).

He said the same thing himself just above.

38. Margin4 Error

And as often happens – Aaron says it all better than I can.

“Personally I just think you’re a paid hack. Nothing wrong about that – we all have mortgages etc. But please don’t pretend your one of the good guys.”

Although I’d have avoided the yuppy nuremburg defence.

Livingstone’s comments on MMR weren’t “lies”, they were worse than that. They were utterly, utterly idiotic and irresponsible, and I say that as someone who likes him.

Only an idiot would believe that untrue stories can’t resonate.

Indeed.
However that idiocy is nowhere implicit in suggesting that true stories resonate through readers recognising their truth.

You’re right about some others’ bitterness of course.

I especially enjoyed the revelation that Sunny had appeared on Press TV!

41. Matthew Stiles

Gilligan is happy to defend his own stories but when challenged over other stories in the Standard he simply states that he didn’t write them so he doesn’t have to defend them. Indeed, it seems that the Standard itself may have cold feet. The article headed “Suicide bomb backer runs Ken’s campaign” no longer seems to be available on his website.

As Sunny points out isn’t there a contradiction in criticising Ken for welcoming al-Qaradawi to London and then accepting payments from the Iranian regime. Silence from Gilligan on that one.

As for his comment “you will be out of power for a generation” does that mean he regards himself as being on the Tory side now?

As for the specifics of the Gilligan stories, Gilligan is always at pains to state that he is not accusing Jasper of anything criminal but on the radio and even on this thread there are claims that Jasper is corrupt and a crook and so on. This is what really damaged Ken, not the detailed stories themselves which I doubt hardly anyone has followed in great detail but by the innuendo created by Gilligan’s stories.

42. Margin4 Error

cjcjc

I don’t watch Press TV so that bit went over my head a bit. Although it did look a little bit “ha ha, got you”.

as for the idiocy

“The articles were true – that’s why they resonated”

that was the quote – not “might be why they resonated” or “added to their resonance” – just simple perfect cause and effect that clearly only a fool or a liar would claim.

I still think you have made an error.

When you argue than X has attribute Y – in this case true stories having resonance – that is not the same as saying that not-X cannot have the same attrubute.

Gilligan is happy to defend his own stories but when challenged over other stories in the Standard he simply states that he didn’t write them so he doesn’t have to defend them.

Well yes, what’s wrong with that? He isn’t the editor, is he?

As Sunny points out isn’t there a contradiction in criticising Ken for welcoming al-Qaradawi to London and then accepting payments from the Iranian regime. Silence from Gilligan on that one.

All depends on context, just as Sunny himself implied.

As for the specifics of the Gilligan stories, Gilligan is always at pains to state that he is not accusing Jasper of anything criminal but on the radio and even on this thread there are claims that Jasper is corrupt and a crook and so on. This is what really damaged Ken, not the detailed stories themselves which I doubt hardly anyone has followed in great detail but by the innuendo created by Gilligan’s stories.

So you’re now blaming Gilligan for people not reading his stories properly? This is getting ridiculous.

45. Margin4 Error

cjcjc

seriously mate give it up – he argued that his articles resonating was evidence of their truth (in defence against accusations that he lies).

I pointed out how fatuous that suggestion was and offered a clear example showing that lies resonate to. (The MMR story).

so what’s to argue here?

would you like an true story that didn’t resonate? How about that the DfT yesterday signing a deal for 109 new Penolinos for the West Coast Main Line. It did happen but it didn’t resonate. It was dull story.

Truth and resonance have little bearing on eachother.

46. Margin4 Error

ukliberty

on your first two points spot on – on your third – a journalists has a resonsibility for what his stories convey.

but hence my point earlier, Mr Gilligan (as I’ve taken to calling him since addressing him directly on here) is not worth judging by journalistic standards. He is a campaigner who did a good job at getting Ken out of office. That it was not good journalism is irrelevant.

Ah, a balanced discussion! How enjoyable; how enlightening; how progressive!

Margin – you have got it the wrong way round.

He said they resonated because they were true.
He did not say that they were true because they resonated!!

His evidence of their truth – beyond that contained within the articles themselves – was that none of the moaners has pointed to a single factual inaccuracy.

He said they resonated because they were true.

Which bit? That a suidie bomber backer was running Ken’s campaign? That the incomce from the Congestion Charge was only 14 million?

That Andrew Gilligan is a progressive and leftwing journo only doing this because he has good principles??

Would love to know what his supporters, who funnily enough accused me of overlooking Ken’s faults, are doing exactly the same now.

50. Margin4 Error

no no no – read back cjcjc – thats where you have confused yourself.

acused of lying he offered that the resonated as a defence of truth.

Dave I am always glad to add a blonde moment to your august posts.

Ken’s progressed horoscope may not have showed victory, like Boris’s did. However, it showed something just as good – A Uranius /Chiron aspect. According to the laws of astrology, this means, ENHANCED FAME!!! This aspect is very long lasting, so sorry all Ken detractors, Ken is likely to be very rich and famous for a long long time…….

Andrew Gilligan is – deliberately? – confusing two distinct points.

Sunny points out that Gilligan is in the pay of the Iranian regime, because he works for Press TV. This is true, but it isn’t something to get upset about. It’s worth mentioning only because of the fact that if, counterfactually, Ken Livingstone were in the pay of the Iranian regime by working for Press TV, we can be confident that the Evening Standard would have splashed with it as part of its efforts to discredit him.

Gilligan points out that Sunny has appeared on Press TV. This is true, but irrelevant (and Sunny’s “I paid my fee to Greenpeace” defence is equally irrelevant). The charge is *not* that appearing on Press TV is bad. The charge is that Gilligan does something for which he and/or his employer would certainly have criticised Ken Livingstone.

Sunny’s piece illustrates, very well, that you can make anyone look bad by spinning the facts selectively – he uses the Standard’s technique on the Standard’s reporter. That’s all he does.

To put it another way, if “Suicide bomber backs Ken campaign” is a legitimate story, then “Gilligan in pay of antisemitic Iranian government” is a legitimate story too. That’s all. Andrew – is “Gilligan in pay of antisemitic Iranian government” a legitimate story?

Oh dear, I don’t really want to get involved in all of this. But I’m still wondering about the story Andrew wrote about Boris’s plans to replace bendy buses with a new kind of Routemaster double decker….

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23458906-details/Mayor's+bus+boss+and+'nail+Boris'+emails/article.do

…which contains the following:

“Questions may also be raised about a briefing given by TfL officials to journalists last week about the cost of Mr Johnson’s policy to abolish the bendy bus, and introduce a new design of Routemasters with conductors.

TfL said that it would need 60 per cent more Routemaster buses than bendy buses to replace the current service provided by the 350 bendy buses. This, TfL said, would cost an extra £72 million a year for the staff, plus £40 million to buy the extra buses, making a total of £112 million, almost exactly the same as Mr Livingstone’s costing of the Johnson plan.

One TfL source said: “Everyone knew the figures we were giving out last week were at the very least deliberately skewed to the highest possible pitch to help out Ken.””

What the article DIDN’T report was that although the figures TfL provided did indeed total much the same as the Livingstone campaign’s estimate, they arrived at that figure by a different route. TfL estimated far lower costs-per-conductor than Livingstone’s team did (£28,000 per year compared with £40,000). However, Livingstone’s people forgot to include the estimated cost of additional drivers for the additional buses both said would be required if passenger capacity was to be maintained (bendys can carry more people than any current double decker).

So, in fact, TfL’s figures were at odds with Livingtone’s as well as with Johnson’s. I know this, because I was the journalist who obtained the TfL figures in the first place and wrote several blog posts about the issue including this one…

http://davehill.typepad.com/london3ms/2008/03/bus-wars.html

…and a resulting Guardian news story….

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/mar/07/london08.boris

…some time before Andrew’s piece for the Standard appeared. This calls into question the accuracy of the quote from the unnamed TfL source contained in Andrew’s investigation. It also suggests that had Andrew included more detail about the TfL figures in his article, its overall message – that TfL were improperly providing Ken-friendly figures amounting to covert political assistance – would have lost significant force.

I’ve always been troubled by the absence of these details from Andrew’s story. After all, as I’ve shown, they were in the public domain before he wrote it and, in any case, according to TfL’s press office, it provided him with exactly the same figures that it provided me with.

Was this failure to show that TfL’s figures were, in fact, at odds with Livingstone’s despite adding up to the same total, an oversight by Andrew, the result of some rather insensitive sub-editing or was there another reason?

It may well be a legitimate story.
As with his anti-Ken “campaign” he was challenged over it at the Frontline Club talk.
But then he is not standing for public office, is he?

But then he is not standing for public office, is he?

So he deserves no scrutiny then?

“Firstly: neither of the stories you cite was actually written by me. If you are going to attack someone for getting their facts wrong, you should surely check your own.”

The Standard’s comment pages were hostile to Ken. But we used arguments, mainly derived from the facts we discovered, not insults. We separated news and comment.”

“Facts?

Like when it claimed the Congestion Charge only bought in £14 million?

Like its claim that: Suicide Bomb Backer Runs Ken’s Campaign….. when, erm, that clearly wasn’t the case?”

57. Margin4 Error

cjcjc

it may not be a legitimate story – but like all those coke snorting hacks who expose the “drugs shame” of various celebrities – it is hypocricy.

The trouble with your case Gilligan is that whether or not things were nominally true they seemed to be presented in untrue forms, combinations and juxtapositions. And certainly not in any way fairly or in any sort of balance.

And what is a sleazebag? Is Ken = sleazebag, is that a “fact” or is it a value judgement? Is he a “liar” in the same way as Boris with his tosh for example about whether he did or did not use cocaine and whether it had any effect on him …. when he didn’t use it! too.

Since when do allegations of mistakes or sleaze or whatever equal mistakes or sleaze or whatever? It is very blurry this “journalism” of yours.

Are people that you called “friends” of Jasper actually his “friends” on some proper definition of this term or acquaintances or colleagues of some other fairer description?

And do they then become “friends” of Ken because Ken is “friends” with Jasper?

As you know such nuances and chains and juxtapositions are the stuff of clever smearage and also of defamation and you should have a PhD in it as you have easily covered all the seven shades of shit when it comes to this dark art.

Now we have Boris. Partly due to smearage and media bias but largely due to the state of Labour in the country – which he exceeded by 20%.

Though of course it could be said that your rot contributed to that low standing …

Boris is not showing great signs of knowing what he doing vide appointing at least 80% and likely 100% Tories to an “independent” panel … to investigate cronyism!!!!

http://chrispaul-labouroflove.blogspot.com/2008/05/trial-by-jeory-john-biggs-batters-boris.html

Dave Hill – a spot on comment. Was Andrew Gilligan ever honestly covering this election campaign with his journalistic integrity intact? Oh look! there’s a flying pig!

60. andrew gilligan

Still waiting for anyone to provide a single example of anything I wrote that was untrue… don’t forget to send me a postcard when you find one!

andrew gilligan,

surely you should have learnt your lesson by now. Your lack of rigour is why you lost your previous job.

While what you have authored may partly or wholly accurately reflect the truth, it has been your professional responsibility to report fact.

It is indicative of your style and methods that you should demonstrate your flawed intellect in trying to create a trap out of your own confusion, but that is why you are more suited to the role of a gossip-mongering hack than a reputable counsel.

Andrew

Don’t worry about these sore losers.

Simply note that none has yet answered your challenge!

And Thomas, really, Andrew may have slipped up in one 6am two-way, but are you denying that the substance of what he revealed about the sexing-up was not true?

From PCC website..
http://www.pcc.org.uk/news/index.html?article=NDU4Nw==

Complainant Name:
Tower Hamlets Council

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Evening Standard

Complaint:
Tower Hamlets Council complained that a number of articles by Andrew Gilligan had inaccurately claimed that council tenants in Tower Hamlets were being offered a £4,000 bribe to vote ‘yes’ in the Housing Choice Ballot. In fact, Tower Hamlets Council explained that this was a statutory payment available to any tenant if their home was to be demolished, and was not a bribe or in any way related to the voting process.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification:
We have been asked to point out that our heading “£4,000 bribe offered in bid to sell off run-down estate” on our report of 21 September referred to a £3,800 statutory payment available nationally to any tenant whose home is to be demolished. Tower Hamlets Council say that it was not a “bribe” and was unconnected with the stock transfer voting process. We are happy to clarify this.

As a wordsmith any journalist ought to be acutely aware of the distinction between fact and truth.

Facts are based on evidence, not unnamed single sources. There may be truth in innuendo, but without cross-checking points of reference certainty is impossible and can still be plausibly refuted and therefore cannot be classed as news until that point.

As I recall it took a high profile public enquiry to retrospectively prove the truth of the Gilligan’s comment about the dodginess of the Iraq dossier.

There is a level of trust expected in public life on which he has consistently traded in his work, yet it appears he doesn’t expect to be held to account for not living up to similar standards of probity – that’s hypocrisy.

Gilligan provides a specific example of a person whose work doesn’t withstand his own criticisms when applied in reverse and he is therefore guilty of undermining confidence in our democracy and spreading the noxious fumes of cynicism.

I refer cjcjc to comment number 54. I don’t allege outright lack of truth but I do suggest a certain convenient economy with it in that particular passage.

And while we’re on the subject of truth, cjcjc, you recently sent a comment to my London blog inviting me to apologise for allegedly claiming that YouGov’s polling during the campaign was inaccurate when, in fact, I had never done so. I saved you from embarrassment by deciding against putting the comment on the site and sent you an email explaining why.

It really is quite important not to go around accusing people of things they haven’t actually done. If you continue doing it even the most fair minded and forgiving object of such accusations might decide that you deserve to be embarrassed after all.

And I replied to your email apologising for my mistake.
But I would not have been embarrassed if you had exposed my honest mistake.
Why would I?

You may not have slagged off YouGov but lots of Ken supporters did.
And in the end YG were spot on.

“Still waiting for anyone to provide a single example of anything I wrote that was untrue… don’t forget to send me a postcard when you find one!”

So far there have been two examples given Andrew. One about Routemasters and TFL, the other being about bribes which as you were later forced to admit, weren’t actually bribes. Care to comment on either?

Also more importantly, would you like to comment on what the actual central claim of this piece is, which is that you have been hypocritical?

Don’t worry about putting it on a postcard. Just put it here.

Why exactly is Andrew Gilligan a hypocrite? The argument seems to be that it is because he worked fro Press TV. Well, I used to be a projectionist for Rank Cinemas and in 1979 I ran that famous Labour isn’t working cinema advert. Does that make me a hypocrite?

Actually what we do for money – bastard work – and what we are just happen to be two different things.

69. andrew gilligan

It is genuinely stupefying how hopeless the arguments on here have been. What those accusing me of “hypocrisy” appear to be saying is that because I am a left-winger I should only have written stories favourable to Ken and hostile to Boris and should have suppressed or twisted the awkward facts I found about London’s former Great Helmsman.

That’s not journalism as any professional journalist understands it. It is clearly you guys, not me, who believe that the truth should be subordinate to a political agenda.

Because I’m still waiting, after, what, three days now, to hear an example of anything I wrote about the Mayoral election that was untrue. Just one, people – that’s all you need! Dave: in your account of my story that TfL improperly interfered in the election campaign, you forgot to mention my key piece of evidence – leaked emails in which the Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy (RIP) discusses how to use TfL resources to “refute Boris’s transport ideas.” An oversight? Or another example of the Ken Left’s disregard for the facts?

And, sorry, folks – if a clarification about a headline, written by someone else, on a completely unrelated, two-year-old story is the only other thing you can muster, I don’t think you’ve quite understood this facts business yet. Keep trying, though – you will need to make at least passing acquaintance with reality if you hope ever to regain power in London.

What those accusing me of “hypocrisy” appear to be saying is that because I am a left-winger I should only have written stories favourable to Ken and hostile to Boris and should have suppressed or twisted the awkward facts I found about London’s former Great Helmsman.

No Andrew, the point is that you accused others of agendas and played smear by association, and then refuse to acknowledge that the same applies to you. Unwilling to apply the standards you apply to others, to yourself?

You acknowledge you’re paid by the Iranian regime. Right? Doesn’t that make you complicit in their homophobic and anti-semitic agenda? And how would you report it if Ken was paid by the Iranians?? Please do tell us.

It is clearly you guys, not me, who believe that the truth should be subordinate to a political agenda.

But its obvious to everyone, and you admitted yourself, that your campaign against Ken Livingstone was indeed driven by a political agenda, no? You admitted your own bias! And you’re pretending that you did it only to find the truth?

Because I’m still waiting, after, what, three days now, to hear an example of anything I wrote about the Mayoral election that was untrue

No one accused you of lying. But lying is not the same as mis-representing the truth or being silent about some truths or denying your own agenda.

Keep trying, though – you will need to make at least passing acquaintance with reality if you hope ever to regain power in London.

Who is “we”?? I thought you ran this campaign for the greater progressive agenda?

71. notalondoner

One of the main issues highlighted during the mayoral campaign was an apparent rise in crime, and in particular violent crime, and the number of murders committed was alleged to be the responsibility of the then mayor.

I understand that in this last week there have been two violent deaths involving firearms in London. Is Andrew Gilligan running an article/ headline in the ES stating that already violent crime has escalated on Boris’s watch? If not why not?

A recent picture of Boris depicting him with his usual beaming grin wearing a police officers hat and mucking about while citizens are being killed isn’t that funny and may well come back to haunt him. Not a good start.

Still waiting for you to pen a single comment/article/paragraph/word/letter in any way critical of Boris as opposed to the rainforests you’ve sliced damning Livingstone Andrew! You know, what with you being a great principled lefty / disinterested objective journalist [delete both as appropriate] and all. Don’t forget to send us a postcard when you write one!

Andrew – those accusing you of hypocrisy on here seem to have three main points:

1. That you wrote stories condemning Ken Livingstone’s alleged associations with people that support the execution of homosexuals, the subjugation of women, the destruction of Israel etc without disclosing the associations that you have had with the very same people. And that, indeed, unlie Ken, you have actually been paid by an organisaiton with links to such people.

2. The forensic examination you have applied to Ken Livingstone over the last few months was never applied to Boris Johnson. If you were truly interested in reporting as opposed to a one-sided campaign of smear, you would have scrutinised Johnson’s behaviour and policies to the same extent you did Ken’s. But you did not. You – like the newspaper you work for – chose to ignore the huge holes in Johnson’s campaign commitments and so failed to provide any kind of balance.

3. That you continue to call yourself a left winger when every available piece of evidence seems to suggest that you are nothing of the sort. Left wingers do not have to support Ken Livingstone – many do not and did not at the last election – but left wingers in the media do subject the policies of the right wing Conservative party to some kind of scrutiny. Can you point us to any articles or comment pieces that you wrote during the last mayoral campaign that offer a critical discussion of the Tory candidate’s policies and/or arguments, or take a forensic look at the people running his campaign or supporting it?

You may not have written any untruths during the mayoral elections, but you colluded with the Conservative editor of the Evening Standard to provide one-sided reporting that had the sole aim of painting as negative a picture as possible of Ken Livingstone. In the end, it really is quite simple. I think that most of us accept you are a right wing journalist, with a right wing agenda, writing for a right wing publication. What we find difficult to accept is that you will not admit it. Why not?

“What those accusing me of “hypocrisy” appear to be saying is that because I am a left-winger I should only have written stories favourable to Ken and hostile to Boris and should have suppressed or twisted the awkward facts I found about London’s former Great Helmsman.”

Andrew, how many more straw man arguments are you going to put up before you answer Sunny’s question about Press TV?

“And, sorry, folks – if a clarification about a headline, written by someone else, on a completely unrelated, two-year-old story is the only other thing you can muster, I don’t think you’ve quite understood this facts business yet.”

Come now, Andrew, don’t blame the sub who based his headline on the content of your article and whose page proof you would have read and helped approve.
That article on a supposed Housing Choice vote corruption on the Ocean estate contained prominent and heavy references to £4k bribes, which in fact were statutory payments, a fact–because yours is a “facts business” right–you either failed to check out, or intentionally omitted because it would have ruined a muckraking piece about Tower Hamlets council, another of your personal targets.

It’s interesting isn’t it that the Standard decided to remove the entire article from its website, rather than just “clarify” the headline.

You see, that piece was typical gung-ho Gilligan: get a whiff of something scandalous, speak to vested interest sources and fail to provide rigorous analysis.

That said, some of your pieces on Lee Jasper and the LDA have been first rate; as people write above, it’s a shame you didn’t apply that rigour to Boris’s credentials.

Andrew, shall we compare thee to Piers Morgan? Another unreliable name who places himself at the centre of every story in place of the real cast.

I’m really not surprised to see you here defending yourself as it clearly satisfies your ego to be the focus of attention: it would suit your style and skills better to apprentice yourself to an interviewer of John Humphreys ilk than allow your heavyweight pretensions to trap you in the tabloid gutter before you get any deeper – that is, if you ever want to be more than a roving pawn-for-hire.

At least Morgan recognises his populist preferences and can still tailor his career accordingly.

On the “hypocrisy” point, I’m not sure where I stand. I’ve never watched Press TV and don’t know what kind of work Andrew Gilligan does for it. I’ve written for newspapers whose values I dislike in the past – including the Evening Standard, though mostly under its previous, less fanatical editor – and don’t consider I’ve been guilty of double standards by doing so, because the pieces I wrote did not involve my writing things that went against my principles. However, like J.Wild (comment 74) I’d be interested to read Andrew’s defence against the charge.

Now, regarding Andrew’s comment no. 70, my comment no. 54 and Andrews’s article about Transport for London. My comment addressed a specific section of that article (the one I quoted); a section relating to a matter I know something about. The point I made was that by omitting the differences between the Livingstone campaign’s costing of Boris’s “21st Century Routemaster” and that of TfL this passage invited its readers to infer that TfL had deliberately provided figures confirming Livingstone’s in order to improperly help Livingstone’s campaign. However, those differences – facts of pressing relevance, which the article did not include – show that this was not the case.

I further argued that had these differences in the two sets of estimates been included they would have diminished the force of its central charge: that TfL and Livingstone were working in concert to undermine Johnson (a claim Johnson’s team too made during the campaign). Andrew upbraids me for not mentioning the article’s lead material – emails between Livingstone’s chief-of-staff Simon Fletcher and TfL boss Peter Hendy. Well, I didn’t mention them in my comment because they weren’t the part of the article I was concerned with. But since Andrew has brought them up I’m happy to address them.

The mails do indeed strongly suggest that at the time when they were exchanged – last October – there was some sort of complicity between Livingstone’s chief of staff Simon Fletcher and TfL boss Peter Hendy; a shared desire to defend the bendy bus against Boris Johnson’s criticisms expressed in an email discussion about how this might be done. This is the heart of the story, and it is certainly valid. To me, it underlines both the need for clearer demarcations between the London mayor’s office and his agencies and the difficulty of making them effective given the way that power is concentrated in mayoral hands. Perhaps the Johnson regime will improve this situation.

But let’s stick with those TfL figures. As I’ve said, they were presented in Andrew’s story as evidence showing that the complicity suggested by the email exchange had evolved into an actual covert policy or plot to undermine Johnson by the time the election campaign was underway. Yet the truth is that those figures – which were provided to me, published by me and later provided to Andrew at his request – weaken the complicity thesis and could be said to directly contradict it. Those figures – those facts – suggest that the very people who would have put such a policy or plot into effect – those who compiled data for journalists and provided them with it – appear not to have put any such policy into effect or been in on any such plot. Those same facts therefore invite us to ask if there really was much of a policy or plot in the first place. However, in Andrew’s article they were cited selectively to encourage the opposite conclusion.

It would be an interesting media studies-type exercise to scrutinise the whole of the article – other supporting evidence it offers, the use of hot air phrases like “questions will be asked” and “critics today said” when the only critic quoted and named is Boris Johnson, and so on. Suffice to say it illustrates the difficulty I and others – including some of those he has attacked – have with much of Andrew’s coverage of the campaign. It is that genuinely good and important stories – including those about Lee Jasper – were over-sold, over-simplified and ruthlessly spun in order to further as much as possible Andrew’s and his editor’s explicit political objective, that being to damage Ken Livingstone and get Boris Johnson elected.

Now, all newspapers indulge to some degree in slanted coverage and I happen to think it’s hard to quantify the effect of the Standard’s on how voters behaved – for example, it’s arguable that it solidified support for Livingstone even as it may have swayed others Boris’s way. But as for the substance of it, I don’t think the evidence Andrew or any other Standard journalist produced justified the paper’s relentless insinuation that Livingstone’s administration was rotten to the core. And I certainly think Londoners deserve better from “London’s Quality Newspaper”.

Finally Andrew, whilst I find it hard to imagine favouring any Tory candidate over a Labour one, I am not a member of “the Ken-Left” or any other political faction. I’ve never been a member of any political party and am a member of no informal political alliances with fellow journalists, politicians or anyone else (unless contributing to Liberal Conspiracy counts, which I don’t think it does). I’m just not that way inclined. Ken Livingstone got my vote because I like his political track record more than Boris Johnson’s and because the campaign confirmed for me that, policy for policy, politician for politician, he was the better candidate for London.

Now that Boris has won I wish him well and hope he does good things. If he does, I will applaud him. If he doesn’t, I will take issue with him. Sometimes, I expect I will do a bit of both at the same time. Shades of grey and all that – the type that can be hard to find in the palette of Associated Newspapers and the often extremely vindictive, hard right newspapers it publishes.

78. notalondoner

So – Gilligan can’t even be drawn to answer a couple of simple and reasonable questions put by his critics.

It is surprising that the polite and patient people here have even bothered.
You know what you’re dealing with. His slippery lying performance over Kelly was a bit of a giveaway.
You didn’t really expect he’d evolved into an honest and decent journalist these last few years as a result of that, did you?

Take comfort in the fact that he’s tarred forever over Kelly, and that you don’t have to wake up every day living in his ugly mind and world.

Sunny has clearly won the argument here, mr gilligan.

People who criticise others for things that they themselves are knee deep in are hypocrites. the idea that you can criticise livingstone for something you shamelessly do yourself is hilarious.

now maybe you should redress this fact by donating some money to the labour party. perhaps 20 million quid should suffice, given that this is the hole the labour party is in at the minute, which you are responsible for in a large part.

Your ostensibly ‘progressive’ nature has helped in handing London to the tories and will probably hand Britain to the Tories. And to cap it all, you take money off gay-killers and women-beaters, and excuse it by bringing up trivial points of fact.

jeff m – hilarious Dave Spart spoof – excellent!

i don’t know how that comment could be percieved as ‘dave spart’. surely if he is so pissed off about livingstone taking money off right wing extremists then he shouldn’t do it himself. i’m not (i was not?) a livingstone supporter but i am a labour supporter.

I came to this late but really couldn’t let this response to Dave Hill by cjcjc, after the latter’s accusation was shown to be untrue, pass unremarked: ‘You may not have slagged off YouGov but lots of Ken supporters did.’

It strikes me that that’s exactly the sort of guilt by association that the Standard was levelling at Livingstone. Never mind if he didn’t do it; other people did, so hang him anyway.

83. Torrance

I find it amazing that goggle-eyes Gilligan is still employed to write for anyone given that he’s had blood on his hands for the past five years.


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