Monday, October 11, 2010

First, do no harm

My mentor taught me that the first rule in journalism is, or should be, "First, do no harm."

In other words, get your facts straight. Do your homework. Don't muddy up the water.

Don't get it wrong.

Steve Dixon of the UK's Sky News learned that lesson the hard way over the weekend. Dixon was interviewing Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Talk turned to British actress Barbara Windsor's claims that she had a sexual relationship with Robin's twin brother, Maurice, back in the 1960s.

According to reports, Robin was amazed to see photographs of a beardless Maurice. Dixon then asked whether Maurice might be watching the program.

Well, that would be quite a feat. Maurice died in 2003.

I didn't see the clip, but Dixon was apparently horrified, and audibly gasped, according to a report in the Daily Mail. Robin Gibb reportedly remained calm and just kept talking about his late brother.


The Bee Gees are mainly known now for the huge hits they enjoyed during the disco craze of the late 1970s -- and for the backlash that soon followed and kept their music out of fashion for a decade. It's a shame because their best work happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the Brothers Gibb (BGs, get it?) weaved harmony over dark and imaginative hits like "I Started A Joke," "I've Just Gotta Get A Message To You" and "I Can't See Nobody."

If you want to see the group in their prime during this period, surf over to YouTube and search for clips from their 1971 concert at the Festival Hall in Melbourne. It will make you forget all about "Staying Alive."

You can read the full report about Dixon's disaster here:

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