Back in the day, EC had a number of friends who were journalists. They didn’t call themselves that—they called themselves hacks, and when plied with a drink or three they could be extremely entertaining company.
One in particular regaled his audiences with tales of his early career at a one of the big-city rags which shall remain nameless. The competition between papers in those days was fierce, as reporters elbowed one another out of the way so that their paper could be first on the scene to get the coveted scoop.
This hack told of carrying an old, battered doll in his car, which he used to good effect when covering local disasters like house fires—he’d toss the doll on the ground, then start snapping his photos with the burning house in the background. The discarded toy, seemingly abandoned in the front garden by its poor young owner, tugged at the heartstrings.
Better yet, it sold papers.
He assured EC that nobody ever seemed to notice this bit of emotionally manipulative flim-flammery, and his photos nearly always made the front page. Job done, right?
We were reminded of this a couple of days ago when we read that Private Eye had followed up on last month’s coverage of Anna Brees, ex-BBC journo turned PR flack to the conspiracy set, most notably Jon Wedger.
It seems that somebody at the Eye has noticed a few discrepancies between Mike Tarraga’s memoir, Meat Rack Boy (published by Brees Media in February) and Tarraga’s previous self-published memoir, The Successful Failure: Life of an Uncouth Lout.
Both books tell essentially the same story, with the notable exception that in the Brees Media version, Tarraga claims to have been sexually abused by Sir Edward Heath.
‘I knew this would draw attention to his story and it has’, Brees tells the Eye. ‘As a journalist I knew what the ‘headline’ would be for others, so pursued this in my interview and added it to the book.’
In other words, she hauled the poor old doll out of the back seat of her car, and tossed it on the ground as bait, knowing that the Heath story is hugely popular amongst the conspiracy set. And hey, it sells books:
According to a post last month on BarthsNotes, Tarraga only mentioned Heath at Wedger’s instigation:
Wedger previously interviewed Tarraga last month, and according to Brees Heath’s name came up afterwards: ‘It was Jon Wedger was talking to you after, you know, off-camera, and you just said ‘yeah, I saw him. He was called Uncle Teddy”. In other words, Heath’s name only came up because Wedger mentioned him first – and Tarraga would have known what Wedger wanted to hear. The name “Uncle Teddy” is reminiscent of “Uncle Eddie”, which was the name provided by another Heath accuser, James Reeves – whom Wedger interviewed last September. Like Tarraga, Reeves was also raised and abused in care during the 1950s and 1960s, but details in his “VIP” allegations against Heath and others are contradicted by the historical record.
The Eye article has stated that further inconsistencies were found between the two books, but that Brees has “refused to answer any more questions after the Eye challenged her to explain the contradictions”.
It is not explained what these contradictions are, although one may pertain to a social media post that Tarraga made in August 2011 to RootsChat.com, in which he referred to having “many very happy memories” of an orphanage in London Colney in the 1950s; this seems difficult to reconcile with his claim that he was living with a couple during this period who “raped and sold him out to others” (as summarised by Wedger) from the age of four.
Another inconsistency we’ve noticed: while Wedger has claimed that “All profits [from Tarraga’s book] go to the campaign to expose an establishment cover up of child abuse”, Brees has a bit of a different take on how the funds will be used.
As noted above, she says, “[Tarraga’s] book is making £350 a month which will pay for a big event in June for survivors to tell their stories”.
Then again, if they invite just the right survivors and get them to tell just the right stories, perhaps the “big event…for survivors to tell their stories” will reveal astonishing information which will “expose an establishment cover-up”.
Stranger things have happened.