Biting the hand

It is never a good idea for a journalist, especially a freelance one, to bite the hand that feeds him.

Nevertheless, I must say that some of the headlines that have appeared about Gillian Gibbons since she returned to the UK lack a certain something – like integrity.

The particular one that seems to be grabbing everyone’s attention is “Teddy teacher ‘feared rape’ in Sudan jail”.

Doubtful that this accurately reflected what Gibbons said, I dug up the actual recording of the interview she gave, to an Observer journalist. What she actually said was that, at two in the morning on the first night of the arrest, in a foreign country where the guards didn’t speak her language, her mind started racing and imagining all sorts of things.

Gillian’s exact words were: “You start imagining that maybe some of the guards will come in and teach the blaspheming white woman a lesson.”

She was then asked, by that hounding Observer journalist if she was talking about rape, and she said yes.

But she positively stressed the following: “I had no justification for thinking [these things].”

So how can one put ‘rape’ in the headline in quotes, when this isn’t actually what Gillian said? Seems to be rather misleading the readers, if you ask me.

But then that’s British journalism for you.


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