Retro-fitting a different question to an answer given at interview, is a technique which ranks near the bottom in any measure of journalistic integrity and it is disappointing to see evidence that Panorama could have done this.
At 45:50 firearms expert Mark Mastaglio says in reply to a suggestion from Jeremy Vine:
“Yes. I think that’s a fair statement….”.
Mastaglio was apparently agreeing with Vine’s proposition, starting at 45 min 40 sec:
“If for- we take your analysis of the facts, it makes it look more likely that this gun went off in a struggle when it was right up against her. Is that right?”
We have good reason to suspect that the original question asked of Mastaglio has been altered by editing in additional phrases. Does Mastaglio really agree with Vine’s suggestion as broadcast? Or was he actually saying “yes” to a different question?
For example, could Vine have originally suggested: “…it makes it look unlikely that this gun went off when it was right up against her. Is that right?”
Simbonile Matokasi: An Illustration.
In 2012, Panorama broadcast footage of Simbonile Matokasi describing his impressions when he first saw Shrien Dewani.
In 2013, Panorama reused that footage, but they also cut a large chunk from the middle, presenting a somewhat altered version of what the witness actually said. Panorama disguised the cut by inserting a momentary view of Simbonile’s garage.
The Matokasi footage is instructive, because we can see the same techniques have been used to disguise edits in the Mastaglio interview. Observe carefully in the following clip of Vine asking the question, how video footage of Mastaglio has been edited in, to coincide with those two phrases: “more likely” and “in a struggle when“. Note also, the sound quality of those two phrases: the flow of Vine’s speech – the rhythm of those phrases – is not quite natural, and the second phrase has been badly edited so that the final “n” sound is missing from the word “when”.
Can we believe that these video edits just happened to coincide with two contentious audio phrases which suggest a struggle took place, and which contradict what Mastaglio says elsewhere? That is simply not credible. The alternative construction, is that Panorama have modified the original, retro-fitting those phrases into the middle of the statement. The disturbed speech rhythm and audio content suggest that audio has been added in two places, where Vine says “more likely” and “in a struggle when“. And discontinuities in the footage of Vine when he originally asked the question, have been disguised by inserting shots of Mastaglio, in exactly the same way as gaps in the footage of Simbonile Matokasi were covered.
So it seems that Panorama have doctored the video of their own expert, to promote suggestions that there was a “struggle”, and that the gun was “right up against her”.
Why would Panorama do that?
This is a suggestion which has been relentlessly pushed by Panorama’s biased programme researcher Dan Newling, in several of his newspaper articles, despite unequivocal findings by the official pathologist and other forensic investigators, that there was absolutely no evidence of a struggle. Newling has proven links to the Dewani’s hired media publicist, Max Clifford (See our article on Newling HERE). It is not hard to join the dots.
It is clear from his remarks elsewhere, that Mastaglio does not agree that the gun “went off in a struggle“, nor that it was “right up against her“. At 45:20 he says “The size and shape of that pattern of soot on the back of her hand, would indicate a very close range, potentially less than five centimetres“. Similarly, in evidence given at Mngeni’s trial, Jeanette Verster, the police pathologist, estimated the distance as “between five and ten centimetres“. Clearly, both experts are in substantial agreement, that the gun was fired at close range. So why does Vine attempt to suggest otherwise, contradicting both experts, by saying: “If Anni was leaning forwards, can the South Africans be sure that the gun was held at a distance from her“? (see 45:10)
So on the one hand, Jeremy Vine misleadingly suggests that the official pathologist believed the gun was held “at a distance”, rather than “5 to 10 centimetres” as her report clearly states; and on the other hand, Panorama appear to have doctored the video of their own expert, to include a suggestion that there was a “struggle”, and that the gun was “right up against her”.
This is not the behaviour people expect from an impartial news organisation.