The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55581   Message #864707
Posted By: GUEST
11-Jan-03 - 05:25 PM
Thread Name: BS: Pete Townshend a Child Fondler?
Subject: RE: BS: Pete Townshend a Child Fondler?
Unfortunately, it looks like people here who are polarized on this issue are already over-reacting to this news.

First, I couldn't believe how badly the quality of information was in the original post when I read it--it seemed very badly written, particularly the way it lacked in a lucid journalistic narrative of event. But before dismissing it completely as an internet hoax doing the rounds of the music forums, I had a look at the BBC News website it cited. Shockingly enough, the article here is cut and pasted verbatim, and the quality of reporting is as bad there as it looks here.

This reporter is leaping all over the map, there is no linear series of events one can follow, the contexts of remarks by Townsend seem non-existent, and the source of the information that leaked his name to the press isn't even mentioned. Now, if I am not mistaken, due process works about the same here in the US as it does in Britain, and investigations usually don't divulge the names of only one of what appears to be numerous suspects unless there is an intention to take the suspect into custody, and the suspect is still at large. The article is rife with rumours, innuendos, and sensationalist reports.

For instance, I went to the Pete Townsend website, where the article said Townsend claims to have evidence of his anti-child porn crusading, and there was no such thing there (that I could find anyway). Also, the quotes from Townsend say nothing about what this "crusade" against child porn and paedophilia was called, who it involved, etc. Then there is mention of Townsend's involvement in adult pornography. And his claim to have been abused as a child. Well, anyone who is familiar with this sort of case, knows that a history of abuse as a child, combined with an adult fascination (obsessive compulsion?) with pornography, are virtually always a part of the profile of the perpetrators in these cases.

So, while one never wants anyone, including celebrities, tried in the court of public opinion, much less by yellow journalists (and I note this is a large industry in Britain), the fact that this story is being reported by the BBC does, in fact, lend it some credibility to it. Especially in light of the broader investigation involving other notable British citizens who, for some unknown reason, aren't named in this article, despite the fact they are high visibility suspects too--including a judge, police officers involved in high visibility police investigations, and other community leaders.

To make it worse, Pete Townsend himself idiotically is talking to the press (himself? through an agent? solicitor?) giving statements that appear, at least on the surface, to be contradictory.

I think this may end up being a big story, but I can't say that the BBC News has distinguished itself in the reporting of it thus far. I note it is one the entertainment news page, and not the front page, as I would have expected a case of this potential magnitude (involving government and law enforcement officials especially).

As to the civil rights issue, when one commits a crime, is caught, prosecuted, found guilty, and sentenced to serve time, probation, do community service, or whatever, one often loses at least some civil rights as a result of the commission of the crime. If, in fact, a case is proven against any of these men, and they are found guilty, then they will almost certainly lose some civil rights as a result of it. Convicted criminals always do, and there is no conflict there, regardless of the potential sensationalism surrounding these sorts of crimes.