How Far Do The Sources Suggest That It Was The Press That Played The Key Role In Uncovering The Scandal Surround The Sinking Of The Belgrano Essay

Submitted By ryanpotter
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How far do the sources suggest that it was the press that played the key role in uncovering the scandal surrounding the sinking of the Belgrano? (20)

All the sources, ironically, are either taken from newspapers, or detail the importance of going to the press when publicizing an individuals’ story in regards to the on-going scandal. One could suggest therefore, that all the sources show significant evidence that the press played a large role in uncovering the Belgrano scandal.

Source 1, part of a speech by a then leading MP Tam Dalvell, arguing that Margret Thatcher ordered the sinking of the Belgrano to boost her popularity, suggested that: ‘Only leaks, it seems, will reveal the more spectacular parts of the iceberg”. From this one could infer that individuals have to step up and release the official information, as it’s the only way for the public to know the truth – essentially the press cant report anything without somebody to tell them the information: ‘investigators, whether journalists or MP’s, needed an informant to suggest what questions to ask’. Despite this, the source originates from ‘The Times’ newspaper, which solidifies the idea that no matter who you are, or what you have to say, you need to go to the press to get yourself heard. Even though Tam Dalyell’s argument is very much justifiable, it’s a more solid argument to suggest that individuals with the information, and the press, work better in unity, and the very fact he went to the press to uncover this information backs this up strongly, however in general, the view sported by Tam Dalyell suggests that the press didn’t play a key role in uncovering the scandal.

Denoted in Source 2 is a cartoon image of Margaret Thatcher pushing the door closed on a skeleton holding the Belgrano, this cartoon is playing on the phrase “skeletons in the closet” which can be interpreted as keeping secrets to yourself that you don’t want other people to know, normally, these secrets are bad and could be disruptive. Therefore, the source is pointing out that Thatcher is hiding something from the public, and isn’t telling us everything about her involvement surrounding the sinking of the Belgrano, and she is using her authority to keep it out the public eye: ‘CLOSE! IN THE NAME OF THE LAW!’ The cartoon originates from the ‘Evening Standard” newspaper only days after Clive Ponting made his first appearance in court, it could be arguable therefore that the cartoon also represents the struggle Thatcher was having with covering the scandal, the case already had a very strong foothold in mass media and individuals were beginning to reveal the truth. Although the Source does not directly link to the press being responsible for the uncovering of the Belgrano scandal, it does show how newspapers were portraying it and therefore how they were molding public opinion, as the satirical cartoon appears to have not only an entertaining purpose but a derogatory and informative one too. It is difficult to relate Source 1 and 2, whilst source 1 underlines the importance of individuals when leaking information to the public, source 2 focuses more strongly on how then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was trying to keep everything from the press – which suggests that she knows if things get out there things will explode into something much bigger. It is arguable that the nature of the two sources is relatable as they both show the importance the press has in releasing information to the public, and although this is expressed differently in both, the general idea is still there.

Source 3 is the only source, one could argue, that has a direct link between the Belgrano and the importance of the press in relation to its sinking. From ‘The Right to Know’ by Clive Ponting in 1985 it is a personal recollection of events leading up to the leaking of the truth about the Belgrano being outside the TEZ, and the need for public support was made clear: ‘the need to try and win the public debate in advance