Right. A little more info from the pcc – and I will be going back to them later in the day. Bottom line, though, seems to be that they are trying to have their cake and eat it.
One part of my complaint focused on the fact that Littlejohn appeared to be implying that the use of electrolysis for trans individuals was a cosmetic treatment. Clues abound in the article, such as: “Surely they should be expected to buy their own Immac and Ladyshaves, like everyone else”.
But no. According to the Commission, they “acknowledged that the columnist had failed to give full weight to the necessity of the procedure – especially in regard to the reference to razors and hair removal cream and the rather flippant comparison to “bikini waxes for bisexuals” – and considered that more attention could have been paid to this point.
However, given that he had not stated that the work was unnecessary or that it was for purely cosmetic reasons, it did not, on balance, consider that the article was in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code. That said, it recognised that this was an important point for the newspaper to be aware of and, as such, was happy to pass on the complainant’s concerns to the newspaper for future reference”.
There’s the first bit of wiggle room. He didn’t actually SAY it, so he can’t be done for it.
Interesting. On this basis, the PCC seem to be saying that were I to publish a comment to the effect that before going out to a fancy dress party this xmas some prominent individual – a leading politican or actor, A N Other Royal Family member, or even a newspaper columnist – could always check their wardrobe to see if they had a ready-made SS uniform in there…I wouldn’t be being inaccurate because I wouldn’t actually be stating that they DID have such a uniform. Or that they were a paid-up member of the Nazi party.
Not sure the libel courts would take quite the same view
(Note to lawyers: I am absolutely NOT suggesting that I know of any politician, actor, Royal or newspaper columnist who does possess such a uniform, ever has possessed one, or is ever likely to. I have no grounds whatsoever for even imagining such a thing, and the par above is inserted purely to make a point because readers would be well aware that the suggestion is utterly ludicrous).
Anyway, you get the point? Because he (Littlejohn) didn’t actually use the word “cosmetic” or “unnecessary”, he can’t have been taken as meaning cosmetic.
So on to that 400 figure. According to my source at the pcc, they didn’t reject my complaint because 400 is a decent estimate of 10,000. Nope: they rejected it because they thought Littlejohn meant “surgeries”.
Did he say surgery? No. He said cases.
And that brings us to the heart of the disingenuity here. When it comes to the complainant (me) suggesting that a journalist has implied something, the pcc defence is that unless the journalist actually used THE WORD…there is nothing they can do. He didn’t say “cosmetic”. Tough.
But when it comes to defending same journo, they are more than happy to dig behind the word used and presume they know what he meant. He said “cases”: oh, he must have meant “surgical cases”.
Pull the other one! The pcc appears to be shit scared of taking on a columnist who writes for one of their biggest supporters.
So to save his skin, they are prepared to face both ways in one and the same adjudication.