segunda-feira, 26 de dezembro de 2011

Tácticas verbais: 3º efeito-" aconteceu assim" !


By Dr Martin Roberts
25 December 2011

 The Third Effect, 25 December 2011 the more immediate context of their subtle mis-representations to the Leveson inquiry, to look for indications of a 'third effect' and to conclude: 'It didn't happen like that.'


The third effect is an experience familiar to exhibiting photographers, whereby the viewer gains an additional impression of a subject from two separate images of it deliberately juxtaposed in view, as they might be in a gallery say. It's as though the onlooker's subconscious synthesises an interpretation which neither of the two visible images independently makes explicit.

The McCanns' testimony to the Leveson inquiry has afforded, among other things, two quite different instances of Gerry McCann's preparedness to mislead as far as 'evidence' is concerned.
Although the subject matter differs in each case, what they have in common is a verbal tactic which quite deliberately attempts to lead the listener to a false conclusion. 
I have previously discussed the one, the Blacksmith Bureau the other. 
The episodes in question concern (a) the McCanns contract with Transworld publishers and (b) their relationship (or otherwise) with the PCC.

In the case of Kate's book and serialisation thereof, Gerry McCann makes it sound as though, sensitive parents that they are, they opted for Transworld publishers, so as to avoid the 'horror' of serialisation, and were only persuaded by News International, after their Transworld contract was in place, that serialisation would be a good thing after all. Not only that, but their 'campaign' would receive further 'backing.' "Oh go on then," the McCanns must have said, bowing to the inevitable pressure.

Or so it is made to appear. The truth is that the McCanns could only have completed this volte face if serialisation rights had been deliberately withheld from the Transworld contract in the first place, by themselves. That has nothing whatever to do with Transworld as the original 'good guys' and the McCanns, once again, the victims of circumstance, yet everything to do with the McCanns, no doubt on advice, broadening their options base and augmenting their income.

Turning to the matter of the PCC and Gerry McCann's various interactions with Sir Christopher Meyer, as covered in detail by the Blacksmith Bureau, we have, or so Gerry McCann would lead us to believe, an instance of bureaucratic impotence almost, Sir Christopher Meyer seemingly conceding, nay advising, that for the sake of effectiveness litigation was the 'way to go' if the McCanns were intent on puttting a stop to all of the salacious stories being printed about them in the tabloid press. (We'll not go into the small matter of 'inertia' and examine quite why it should have taken the McCanns months to get around to 'nipping' press inaccuracies 'in the bud,' by which time the petals had long since fallen from the flower). The essential point is that the PCC, as its name suggests, is an organisation whose work is driven by the complaints it receives. Quite simply, if you want the PCC to act on your behalf you first have to complain. The McCanns never did lodge an official complaint with them, hence it should come as no surprise to anyone that the PCC allowed the dice to roll. Gerry McCann, far from being disappointed at having to unleash a neutered labrador, took the decision, again under advice, to release a Rottweiler instead, gently coaxing Sir Christopher's organisation back into the kennel. In short, PCC restraint was the consequence of a McCann initiative, not a suggestion put by Sir Christopher Meyer, as counsel at the Leveson inquiry took pains to establish.

These characteristic instances of deliberately skewed evidence call to mind the closing scenes of Kevin Costner's on-screen interpretation of Wyatt Earp, during which a young hero-worshipper asks him for clarification on a historical point of derring do the now ageing ex- U.S. marshal can himself scarcely recall. The enthusiastic younger man obligingly recounts the tale, filling in the gaps so as to confirm Earp's otherwise mythical act of heroism. Earp still has trouble remembering the specifics, but his wife gently consolidates the story with, 'It happened like that' (even though she herself was not even present at the time of the incident in question).

Events in Praia da Luz during the first week of May, 2007 may be unconnected with the history of the American West but, on the strength of the evidential claims of the McCanns, one is tempted to view their account of daughter Madeleine's disappearance in the more immediate context of their subtle mis-representations to the Leveson inquiry, to look for indications of a 'third effect' and to conclude: 'It didn't happen like that.'
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