Two Case Histories: Jonathan Aitken and BAe

  • David Leigh


The Aitken and BAe cases demonstrate key techniques. The melodramatic pursuit of a politician put my own career at stake. When the Guardian failed to nail Aitken, their methods instead became the story. TV’s World in Action took up the baton, compiling chronologies and tracing sources to link Aitken to a Saudi prince. They used deception, reconstructions, and humour. Were they unfair? The exposure of arms giant BAe, by contrast, was a 7-year slog. It only gained traction with a cover-up attempt by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Sources eventually revealed a network of secret payments to make arms sales. Questions of chequebook journalism arose, plus controversial links with police and colleagues from the BBC, Sweden, Tanzania, South Africa, and Romania.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Leigh
    • 1
  1. 1.City, University of LondonLondonUK

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