Other news organs reported McGee murder, but repeated the same information

Anthony J. writes from England:

The Google News search brings up more than the Mail story. However, the lack of attention this story is receiving suggests there is more to the case than has been reported.

When I first looked at the list of results on the Google News results page that Anthony had sent, including items from Sky News, BBC, and The Scotsman, I couldn’t believe that Google News had turned up so many mainstream new articles that Google had missed. But then I clicked on the links, and found that, except for one new piece of information, which was that McGee died of stab wounds, there is nothing in them that is different from the Mail story. They are all using the same quotations from police, neighbors, and relatives. Most of them are very short. And they’re all from the 16th and 17th, with nothing later than the Mail story of 12:15 p.m. Greenwich Time on the 17th, and a Sky News item from 2:26 p.m. on the 17th. That’s two days, seven hours ago.

I suppose this is why Google did not display them. Google can tell when items are simply repeating other items, and filters them out. Google News is more thorough, and shows everything. The linked publications, which all repeat each other, include Manchester Confidential, Metro UK, InTheNews.co.uk, Manchester Online, Manchester Evening News, Fleetwood Today, and Chester Standard.

Below I copy the headline of the Sky News article, along with with the one new piece of information that it contains.

Headless Man Was Stabbed To Death
2:26pm UK, Wednesday December 17, 2008

A post-mortem on the body of a man whose severed head was found in a wheelie-bin has found he died from multiple stab wounds.

Also, look at this, from The Scotsman. I copy this, not because it has any new information,—it doesn’t—but because it’s the entire story, showing how unseriously The Scotsman treated this.

Tribute to ‘gentle’ victim
Published Date: 17 December 2008

A MAN whose severed head was found in a wheelie-bin has been described by his brothers as “kind and gentle”. The grim discovery was found by police officers who were called to a house in Crumpsall, Greater Manchester, at around 9.20pm on Monday.

The victim has been named as Patrick McGee, 63.

A neighbour, 31, understood to be suffering mental illness, is under arrest.

Last Updated: 17 December 2008 10:44 AM

In addition to the brevity of the article, notice that the headline doesn’t report a murder—it reports a “tribute to gentle victim.” And notice that the lead sentence doesn’t say, “A man was murdered and decapitated”—it says, “A man whose severed head was found in a wheelie-bin has been described by his brothers as ‘kind and gentle.’” The fact that the man was murdered and beheaded is placed in a subordinate clause, while the “real” news, the news in the main clause, is that the man was kind and gentle. Wow. A man was kind and gentle. These people really have an instinct for news, don’t they? If they were reporting the news on the day in 1453 when Constaninople fell to the Moslems and the city’s population was slaughtered, their headline and lead would have been something like this:

Lovely City Remembered

May 29—Constantinople, which was conquered and sacked by the Ottomans yesterday, with many thousands of its Christian inhabitants slaughtered and others sold into slavery, was described by survivors as a place of many wonderful memories.

- end of initial entry -

Philip M. writes from England:

I’ve just read your headline for the sacking of Constantinople.It made me laugh out loud … “lovely city remembered”—brilliant!

LA replies:

Don’t praise me, praise the headline writer for The Scotsman, who gave me the idea!

December 20

LA writes:

I just did my daily search for items on Patrick McGee, using “decapitated” rather than “beheaded,” which turns up more results, but there’s still no news, no new information from the police, and nothing about the suspect. There has still been essentially one real news article on this murder, the one in The Mail dated December 17, with other news organs copying parts of that article, though occasionally a slight variation appears. As of yesterday, the most recent items I found were on the 17th. Today I find a couple of items dated the 18th and 19th, but they simply repeat what came before. Indeed, even two or three days after the first reports, newspapers were still recycling the same quotations from the police that were used in the first articles that came out on the 16th and 17th.

However, I’ve found one item from The Mirror on December 17th with a new detail:

Elderly man decapitated

Police found a man’s decapitated body after getting a call from a neighbour now suspected of his murder.

A 31-year-old man showed officers the severed head of Patrick McGee, 63, dumped in a bin. The man, thought to have mental health problems, was being quizzed last night.

The other accounts had said that police found the head. Here it says the suspect showed them the head.

By the way, what is this about a 63 year old man being “elderly”? Whoever thought of 63 as elderly, let alone in this day and age of eternal youth? It’s another sign of “journalists” using words without thinking. Alternatively, there’s a subtext in the use of “elderly,” making McGee seem passive, out of it, and insignificant, along the lines of his constantly being referred to as “kind and gentle” (see below), so that his murder will not matter much.

Something else I’m picking up. Several of the stories mention that the suspect is being held under the “Mental Health Act, like this item from View London.com:

Man detained under Mental Health Act over decapitation

A man arrested after the body of 63-year-old man was found decapitated at a property in Crumpsall, Greater Manchester, has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Patrick McGee was found dead at his home by police officers on Monday evening. A subsequent post-mortem concluded he died from multiple stab wounds.

A 31-year-old man originally arrested on suspicion of murder held in police custody for questioning. A statement released by Grater Manchester police on Thursday confirmed he had been detained under the Act.

If a person is being “held” under the act does that mean that his name is not released, and that there will be no more information on the murder? Is this just going to disappear?

That would be scanned:

1. A Muslim (or a madman) murders and beheads a Briton.

2. The victim’s brothers say he was “kind and gentle”—a description endlessly reiterated in the press, as though to say, “See, he really didn’t do anything to deserve this” (as though anyone had been implying that he did!), while there are no quotes from the oft-quoted brothers expressing horror, rage, indignation at this inconceivable crime. Just “kind and gentle.” We’re all doddering Eloi here, you see.

3. The killer is “held” (not arrested) under something called the Mental Health Act.


I hope what I just said is not true. But after almost five days with no new information, not even the suspect’s name, it’s shaping up like that.

I feel inspired to write The Modern Briton’s Guide on How to Exit This Life. It’s very brief, and goes like this:

Get decapitated in your front yard, get your head dropped in a garbage bin, get called “kind and gentle”—and good night!

LA writes:

Concerning the media’s methods of removing any significance from the event, Lydia McGrew at her blog has an excellent insight:

The news stories (such as we have) have said bizarre things to the effect that he was “decapitated after a dispute about noise” by a neighbor “said to be suffering from mental illness.” Say, what? You know, you’ve gotta watch this business of asking your neighbors to turn down the radio (or playing yours too loudly). If you’re not careful, you might just enrage the poor fellows to the point where they cut off your head. I swear, it is impossible to satirize the UK anymore. Every story out of there is self-satire.

Lydia is absolutely right. One of the subtexts of “decapitated after a dispute about noise” is: don’t ask your neighbor to turn down the noise; he might decapitate you. Which would be very sad, of course, especially if you’re a kind and gentle soul….

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 19, 2008 04:56 PM | Send

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