This is the original story of “Gordon Brown’s son has cystic fibrosis” written by The Sun published on 30 November 2006:
The story started with this:
“FRIENDS of Gordon and Sarah Brown last night called their second baby heartache an ‘enormous blow’ – but said the couple were determined to stay strong.” and the story continued to say that
“One friend said: ‘Fraser’s condition has been an enormous blow, as anyone can imagine, particularly after the loss of Jennifer. But Gordon and Sarah are determined to be strong and positive. You would never know Fraser was any different to any other little boy. He is putting on weight as he should.'”
Who are those ‘friends’? Is this ‘friend’ the member of public that The Sun claimed in their statement today (12 July 2011): the information was obtained from a member by the public, who has a family member whose family has also experienced cystic fibrosis?
In no where did the original story mention a member of the public. If it is true, why did they protect this member of the public’s identity at that time? If the purpose was to raise the public’s awareness about cystic fibrosis, why did this member of the public’s relative was not mentioned about the illness?
I found it sick that The Sun sensationalise this and profit from other people’s sadness or misfortune. This is sick, really sick.
If this member of the public really exists and he reported this to The Sun but did not reveal his own information, did it mean that he sold the story? Sorry, not convinced that they did this to raise people’s awareness. Sorry.
Statement from News International: “Following allegations made yesterday by Gordon Brown against The Sun, we have been conducting an inquiry. This is in line with normal practice and procedure.
“We are able to assure the Brown family that we did not access the medical records of their son, nor did we commission anyone to do so.
“The story The Sun ran about their son originated from a member of the public whose family has also experienced cystic fibrosis. He came to The Sun with this information voluntarily because he wanted to highlight the cause of those afflicted by the disease. The individual has provided a written affidavit this afternoon to a lawyer confirming this.
“On receipt of the information, The Sun approached Mr Brown and discussed with his colleagues how best to present it. Those colleagues provided quotes which were used in the published piece which indicated his consent to it.
“We believe that the article was written sensitively and appropriately. We are not aware of Mr Brown, nor any of his colleagues to whom we spoke, making any complaint about it at the time.”
Of course the Treasury would need to provide a quote when approached. What choice did they have? Deny it? Got angry with them and never spoke to them again? Using power to stop them publishing the story?