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Savile not the story: Haiti, the UN and cholera is

by on 23 Oct, 2012

What’s the biggest news story of the week?  Obviously Savile’s systematic sexual attacks on the youth of Britain.  Unseen by those great British institutions: the BBC and the NHS, as well as the Prison Service.

Not.

News editors in many media are vying for what they can say new about Savile.  Now it’s the BBC’s story about the non story on Newsnight.

Real story buried

But the real story of the week has been buried: it is that over 7,000 people died in Haiti as a result of cholera introduced after the earthquake by Nepalese soldiers.  They were from the UN.  Cholera is rampant in Nepal and the local population has some immunity was a result.  It is new to Haiti.  Nepalese soldiers were not strict in their “toilet regime”, hence the spread of it in that island.  It is the same strain of cholera in both places, say doctors.

The UN faces billions in damages.  The Haiti population fights an epidemic.

Search for it

Yet this story was buried:  the BBC leads its web page as I write on the evidence to a Commons Committee by the Director General.  You can find the Haiti story, but have to search for it.

Something wrong here.  There seems to be civil war breaking out in the BBC.  Much to the delight of The Times.  A star is found wanting.  Much to the delight of every tabloid.  Savile’s attacks are portrayed as part of the permissive society.  Much to the delight of the right.

Pigeons dying in Fleet Street

I could only read the first and second stories about Savile.  The growing list of those abused, often in care, sometimes immobile in wheelchairs, raised such a rage in me that I could not finish them.  Now I am not reading them at all.  It is no longer about the abuse, or the victims, or who else was involved.  But about the story.  “Pigeon dies in Fleet Street: hold the front page.”

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From → BBC, Journalism

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