Saturday, 12 February 2011

On censorship

If you have the time later on, I would like you to think about the following conversation. It took place on The Morning Line. It had no prior context and happened during the paper review.

Please read the transcript with exclusive focus on the arguments themselves, and in non-judgmental awareness of the people behind them. Where possible, I think this is the best approach to debate.

I'll post my thoughts tomorrow.

* * *

John McCririck: "This, I think, is very, very disturbing. Patrick Weaver [Daily Express] had an interview with Evan Williams, the trainer of Tarkari in the totesport Trophy.

"And he said of Tarkari - who ran third as an 18-1 chance behind Oscar Whisky in the Welsh Grand National (sic) [Champion Hurdle]:

" "He was in the process of running a blinder when hitting the final hurdle, as good a run as we could have hoped for as he only went for a gallop and a good school, he only went for a gallop and a good school (emphatic)."

"That is appalling for a trainer to say that, for the public to hear that."

John Francome: "I'll bet if you had asked Nicky Henderson what was he doing with Oscar Whisky, he would have said exactly the same, prior to the Champion Hurdle. He was going for a gallop and a good school."

McCririck: "...but he won!"

Francome: "Well, this horse would have won if he'd been good enough. He [Williams] said he [Tarkari] was travelling well, made a mistake at the last."

Jim McGrath [to McCririck]: "In the realms of this horse's record, because you have clearly researched this thoroughly, how would you place this in terms of its run?"

McCririck [hastily]: "...it ran trying on its merits, nobody is saying that (sic) [denying that]. But to say that [the Williams quote] for the public image of racing is absolutely terrible."

Nick Luck: "This is the key, isn't it? It's a bit naive. It's a naive expression."

McGrath [interrupting]: "So, if the journalist is concerned about the public image of racing, and the racing editor is concerned about the public image of racing, should they have put it in?"

McCririck: "Of course they should! That's what the man said."

Luck [almost drowned out]: "Otherwise it would be dishonest to have not..."

McGrath [amid hubbub]: "Are they concerned about the public image of racing?"

Luck: "Your concern as a journalist is to accurately portray what somebody said."

McGrath [laughing]: "Is it? Never let the facts spoil a good story."

Francome [to McCririck]: "More than anything, Mac, it's a racing expression. Fred Winter never stopped a horse in 15 years of riding.

"The number of times you woud go into a novice hurdle and he said "go out there and enjoy yourself, don't give them a hard race". Now you'd be jumping up and down if he said that, and you're a Fred Winter fan, I was a Fred Winter fan."

McGrath [again to McCririck]: "If you'd have put the video on, Mac, and seen evidence to back that up, we would have all given you a lot more credence. But that's just mischief making."

McCririck: "Well, censorship, I don't agree with that. But there you are. Evan Williams should never talk like that."

Luck: "I think it was naive, in truth. No skulduggery implied at all, however. Now, this is what's still to come on the programme...."

McCririck [interceding]: "It was [naive]."