However cerebral and dispassionate we think we are, I contend that at heart we are all influenced by tribalist instincts. ‘Speak for yourself!' I hear you say - that is what I am doing.
In the case of good old Alan M. Dershowitz, I take issue with the Times quote (which I initially mistook for Craig’s own opinion) for reasons that might very well (in the circs quite reasonably) be dismissed as tribal. I contend that the quoted article is susceptible to being unduly weaponised by those of us who are apt to take the reflexively anti-BBC stance that can easily run away with us all.
“Despite being personally involved in the case himself and previously being involved with Jeffrey Epstein, Professor Dershowitz was merely introduced as a “constitutional lawyer”, and someone who had been brought on to give “more analysis”. Moreover, his BBC interviewer, Ben Boulos, failed to challenge him in any way when he used the platform granted to him by the BBC to try to discredit Virginia Giuffre, the woman accusing both him and Prince Andrew.
“Let me be clear: I never met Virginia Giuffre, who is now 36 years old. There is documented evidence that until she met her lawyers in 2014, Giuffre never accused me.... In one email, a well-known journalist urged her to include my name because of my fame, writing that although there is "no proof " that Dershowitz had sex with you, he is a "good name for your pitch." Giuffre then included me, but as someone who she met and did not have sex with.
Full disclosure. I am tribally predisposed to align with Dersh. His book The case For Israel (You can now get it online for only £3.99!) influenced and substantiated my own (some might say pathetic) attempts to defend Israel against the BBC’s tribal loyalty to the Palestinian cause.
Using partisan witnesses without ‘full disclosure” is one of our principal and ongoing accusations re BBC bias, but it is hardly fair to imply that the BBC failed to fully disclose Derchowitz’s partiality as he was “merely introduced as a constitutional lawyer.”
Well, indeed he was “personally involved in the case himself“ ...... as a constitutional (Jeffrey Epstein’s) lawyer!
He didn’t pretend otherwise; see Craig’s detailed transcription.
Alan Dershowitz: Well, I think the most important thing, particularly for British viewers, is that the government was very careful who it used as witnesses. It did not use as a witness the woman who accused, for example, Prince Andrew, accused me, accused many other people, because the government didn't believe she was telling the truth. In fact, she, Virginia Giuffre, was mentioned in the trial as somebody who brought young people to Epstein for him to abuse.
I do get it. I get what they are saying here. However, for readers of this blog, don’t let’s fall into the trap of criticising the BBC for any and everything it does and every move it makes. Perhaps, granting ‘the enemy’ a platform is ‘merely’ Tim Davies’s way of redressing the imbalance. (I don’t actually believe that by the way. It’s my flippancy talking)
Ah! A timely update from the BBC News Press Team in the form of an apology for giving a platform to the guilty-until-proven-innocent Alan Dershowitz - well, back to square one.
Let us never forget Carl Beech. Could Virginia Giuffre be a fantasist? Could she be a bit on the ‘flakey’ side? Hmm. Carl Beech’s unsubstantiated allegations hung over Leon Brittan’s grave and the Maxwell story isn’t over yet. Plenty of fat ladies still waiting to sing.