Friday, 13 August 2010

Daily Mail "miracle cure drug" nonsense

The Mail website is running a story headlined "Bomber freed to die is now being given 'miracle cure' drug: Treatment could add 18 months to his life".

The drug in question is Taxotere which, in some cancer patients, can prolong life for a few months. It is not a miracle cure, but since when has anyone expected accuracy to be a consideration for a Daily Mail headline writer?

Three paragraphs from the long story read:

"Although the gruelling treatment is 'going well', according to the [anonymous Tripoli] source, it has left Megrahi feeling depressed. He also complains of black moods because of the negative way his case has been portrayed around the world, and especially in Britain and America.

"Megrahi has always maintained his innocence of Britain's worst ever terrorist atrocity, believing he will one day prove this beyond doubt.

"The source in Tripoli said: 'His number one aim is to prove he had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing, and this is the reason he is putting so much effort into regaining his health.'"


  1. The Mail has obviously been fed disinformation.

  2. [Not having to eat Greenock 'cuisine' would prolong anybody's life. (warning) I lived in Greenock (not HMP) for 10 years so can defend this statement]
    I read the Daily Mail article thinking it must be a lean day for news about Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampost (whoeva), and was expecting their typical prejudice or at best, a 'light' treatment of a serious subject. However, the piece is fairly balanced and I don't think Megrahi can expect much better from the non 'red-top' tabloids in London.
    They hype up the 'miracle cure' of course, but they only have one short item about a victim's mother in the US who still mourns the death of her daughter, as a counter to his release and return home. They have taken the human angle and show two sympathetic photographs of Megrahi on his hospital bed and with his loving family – these shots are sympathetic – being aware of how this paper can choose unflattering images when it has a negative angle on the subject.
    There is a mention of Megrahi’s mood being low because of his wish to clear his name, but again this is stated as a matter of fact, without the usual insinuation of ,”what a cheek!” etc. So this article carries a definite editorial decision not to damn Megrahi but instead to keep it neutral – this has been assisted by one of the contributing journalists being Nabila Ramdani who often writes about Arab and Islamic affairs.
    Finally, the readers’ comments always provide a good straw poll as to the temperature, and they are realistic more than critical – the only overtly negative comment from, “don, Arizona”, is voted down by the readers – remember, the Daily Mail readership represents Conservative middle class England.
    Food for thought.

  3. On reflection, blogiston, I think your take on the article is right. Given the source, and apart from the headline, we might have expected a lot worse.

  4. The man knows that he's dying.

    The man knows that he will never be able to rescind his renunciation of the Appeal.

    The man knows that he's reviled by tens of millions of Americans, and perhaps a few million Brits, for a dreadful mass murder which he knows he did not perpetrate. He also knows that his country is also wrongly excoriated for something which probably have been disproved had the Appeal gone ahead during the past 12 months or so.

    I'm no doctor, but I think it's clear that in such circumstances bouts of depression may perhaps not be drug-induced.