Brave journalism, thirty years after the event

I can’t access this story in The Times because it’s paywalled, but I can see enough to make my point:

Peter Ball escaped justice for decades, at a terrible cost to his young victims, thanks to his many establishment friends, argues Sean O’Neill

The tale of the paedophile bishop and the heir to the throne — private prayer sessions, gifts of money and a 20-year correspondence — is the stuff of a conspiracy theorist’s dream. Except that the story of Peter Ball and the Prince of Wales is not a theory. It is a key element in a real, modern-day account of how powerful people in Britain formed a protective shield around a predatory sex offender.

Not six months goes by without some public figure from twenty or thirty years ago being identified, usually after he’s died, as a sex pest, liar, or criminal. Every time, it’s revealed the entire media and political establishment protected them, only the individuals concerned are also dead or long-since retired on hefty pensions. These stories are now so common I wonder why they even bother reporting them.

Instead, I wonder which current public figures are engaged in appalling behaviour which would see them sacked or jailed, or are covering for people doing the same, and why the media isn’t reporting on them, now. The reason is, the media is doing the same job now their predecessors did for the likes of Peter Ball: they’re covering for their ruling class friends, and act as their mouthpiece. I suspect everyone knew back then what Ball was up to, just as the abuse of vulnerable girls in Rotherham was no secret, but there is common knowledge and – separately – there is that which the ruling classes and media will acknowledge. In fact, one could pretty easily draw up a list of current issues and individuals and make a sure bet that most will be the subject of a documentary or newspaper piece in thirty years time which will have everyone shaking their heads over how it was allowed to happen.

The answer will be the same as it is now: the ruling classes are above the law, aided and abetted by those working in media. So my message to The Times is this: the time for reporting on Peter Ball and his enablers was in the 1980s, when he was still actively abusing people; what I want to know is who you and your fellow travellers are covering for now.

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12 thoughts on “Brave journalism, thirty years after the event

  1. I actually hate thing like this. After people I die I believe we should give no credence to the accusation furthermore I think people who do not report these offences have morale responsibility for victims who follow them.

    I would like, but know it would never happen for a journalist to actually ask hard questions rather than breathlessly report them.

  2. @benaud

    Peter Ball is 86 and still alive, for what it’s worth.

    The press are reporting on this at the moment due to an ongoing inquiry that has just had a letter from Prince Charles read out – he acknowledges that he was aware Ball had been kicked out for an “indiscretion” but denies knowing the nature of the allegation or lobbying for him to be reinstated.

    Can’t really blame the press for the timing of this, they are actually reporting on new information (the Charles letter) even though it relates to old events.

    Has it ever been true that “everybody” knew what was going on? That seems to be a short-hand for “the political and media and chattering classes”, but the truth is they don’t all socialise with one another and just because one group of people knew something doesn’t mean everyone else did. Particularly front line newspaper reporters – and even then much of what they do “know” is second or third-hand and uncorroborated, so unpublishable. If you deem them guilty of conspiracy because they “know” something they heard a rumour of once, then by the same strength of evidence they also “know” a whole bunch of other stories that simply aren’t true.

    (As an example of this point, people at the periphery and in some cases even at the heart of Westminster went through a phase not so long ago of trying to prove just how “plugged in” to all the juicy inside info they were by gossiping about various rumours spread by Exaro media about a murderous network of political paedophiles. Some even grandstanded in Parliament about it. The problem being it was all baloney. Were those people who “knew” but said nothing until firmer facts emerged just protectors and enablers of a vile Establishment?)

  3. This system is called pathocracy, in which individuals with personality disorders (especially psychopathy) occupy positions of power and influence.

    There are jobs which you can not get with psychiatrist diagnosis, like Airline pilot.
    And there are also jobs which you can not get without psychiatrist diagnosis, like high rank Government or Business or Clergy.

    This is called anthropological method when you search people with certain personal qualities. For example , army searching young males, who are strong, aggressive, intelligent and so on. Or you can not be firefighter when you get vertigo on the fire ladder or you are afraid of dead bodies.

    Some other organizations searching pedos weirdos an criminals. Because normal people can not run cultural marxist absurd.

  4. What about that recent tweet of Trump’s exposing the 122 year old Sulzberger Dynasty purveyors of Fake News by name!

    It was that good and cutting that the slime bag in person issued a five paragraph retort within a couple of hours. In which he accused Trump of using inflammatory language that could encourage violence. Oh the irony.

    And for those that dont know of the Sulzberger Dynasty by name which would be most on the US it is the New York Times. They know now though.

    Trump by all accounts is working hard to get at the noncers of the day as well.

    Some tweet that, going in my Trump top ten.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/us-politics/article-trump-says-he-new-york-times-publisher-met-at-white-house/

  5. I would have thought our stringent libel laws mean that its hard to do an expose and nail wrong doers.

    Also the concept of ‘diffusion of responsibility’ is at play, people assume that others must have taken responsibility if x person was up to no good. When you see your peers inactive on a suspicion you might assume that they know more to it than you and thus have concluded its a rumor and therefore choose not to act.

    It effects us all. Robert Cialdini wrote about it in one of his books and recounts (not sure how much is embellished as he is a master persuader) when he was injured by a car and knowing that the diffussion of responsibility exists deliberately fingered a passer by to take responsbility to help him, otherwise people would walk by assuming ‘someone else’ must be helping.

  6. Can’t really blame the press for the timing of this, they are actually reporting on new information (the Charles letter) even though it relates to old events.

    True, but they might want to ask themselves where the hell they were when it was all going on.

    Has it ever been true that “everybody” knew what was going on?

    In every scandal I’ve been personally close to – such as the paedo who was at my school – it was common knowledge.

    they were by gossiping about various rumours spread by Exaro media about a murderous network of political paedophiles. Some even grandstanded in Parliament about it. The problem being it was all baloney.

    The chattering classes are good at two things: making shit up about people they don’t like who aren’t of a protected class, and ignoring inconvenient things about those in protected classes.

  7. I think the picture is a little different. Very few people really knew about the likes of Ball, just as very few people really knew about Savile. There may have been rumours, but I don’t think there has ever been a culture of serious investigative journalism which could build a story and a legal case from such rumours. What happened is that Ball was shopped by his victims, and the Church eventually had to act. Once it becomes public knowledge, journalists and commentators use hindsight in order to make a massive fuss. And one way of making a massive fuss is to implicate all those who were around at the time. “Why didn’t they do something?!!” Well, they didn’t because the boring truth is that they didn’t know.

  8. I would have thought our stringent libel laws mean that its hard to do an expose and nail wrong doers.

    True, but given the zeal with which they go after their political enemies – making stuff up along the way – I don’t think this is the only reason.

  9. Well, they didn’t because the boring truth is that they didn’t know.

    So nobody knew about the Oxfam executives (kudos for the papers for finally breaking that story)? And nobody knows the scam that is being run regarding “child” migrants? And nobody knew about Rotherham, no journalist could find a single person willing to make a complaint? Every time one of these stories breaks, people come forward and say they approached the papers and the authorities at the time but were sent packing.

  10. What would national media be doing in Rotherham? Not even local media go hunting for stories in places like that these days. Far easier to just publish today’s twitterstorms.

  11. Twitter does a decent job of surfacing some of these points. So any journo who wanted could pull together a list of great questions to go digging into with about 30m work per day. They don’t. So I am with the appetite/interest in the questions rather than could it be known.

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