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Via Recorded Delivery

Michael Grade Esq

Chairman of the Governors of the BBC
Broadcasting House
Portland Place
London W1A 1AA

10 November 2005


Dear Mr. Grade,

You may or may not have heard about the independent investigation conducted by myself and another
freelance journalist named Malcolm Keith-Hill into the long-running “cash for questions” affair of 1994-
2001. Thanks to the media’s news blackout on our work over the last eight years, few people have.

I give an outline of our investigation, its significance, and the BBC’s failure to report it, in my letter of
today to the BBC’s director-general Mark Thompson, which I attach together with my book Trial by
Conspiracy and the bound document entitled: The “Cash for Questions” affair: The unreported side of a
major controversy.

There is no doubt that our work constitutes one of the most important stories in modern times,
disproving as it does one of the principal (and reasonable) suppositions of the acclaimed 1987 U.S. study
on the power of television by Professor Shanto Iyengar and Professor Donald R. Kinder. I quote:
‘Our results imply that television news has become an imposing authority, one that shapes the
American public’s political conceptions in pervasive ways….
Political persuasion is difficult to achieve, but agenda-setting and priming are apparently pervasive.
According to our results, television news clearly and decisively influences the priorities that people
attach to various national problems, and the considerations they take into account as they evaluate
political leaders or chose between candidates for public office…
[We do not] think that television news could long sustain a story that was radically at odds
with other credible sources of information.... Though, again, we have little direct evidence. We
believe that the networks can neither create national problems where there are none nor conceal
problems that actually exist.’
“News That Matters: Television and American Opinion”, University of Chicago Press

Iyengar & Kinder’s belief that television news could not “long sustain a story that was radically at
odds with other credible sources of information” might well be valid in the United States. However,
the enclosed document The “Cash for Questions” affair: The unreported side of a major controversy
proves that, in Britain, television does indeed wield such power: the story that the British media has
persuaded the nation to accept is that Neil Hamilton took “cash in brown envelopes”, whereas the
unreported evidence discussed in my book and on my website “www.guardianlies.com” supports
overwhelmingly his pleas that he did not.

Similarly, Iyengar & Kinder’s notion that “the [television] networks can neither create national
problems where there are none nor conceal problems that actually exist” might well be true in
America. However, our research shows that The Guardian invented its “Cash for Questions” stories,
then covered-up and went on to pervert the course of the official parliamentary inquiry into the affair.
But despite⎯or rather, chillingly, precisely because of⎯the validity of our research and findings,
broadcasters led by the BBC have closed ranks with that iconic newspaper and prevented all news of our
investigation from entering what the Americans term the “MSM” (mainstream media).

As I say in my letter to Mark Thompson:

‘Our findings have been endorsed by parliamentarians and journalists of the highest intellect and
standing, including the BBC’s own, in writing. No one has found any flaw in our reasoning.’

I go on:
‘I liken the resistance I have faced in getting this vitally important story out to that which a journalist in
1930s Nazi Germany might have met in trying to bring to public attention a story of wanton anti-
Semitism. The difference is, of course, that any 1930s German news editor who aired such a story would
have run the risk of being carted off in the middle of the night, whereas in Britain today we have a free
democracy served by a supposedly truthful, unbiased, pluralistic, fact-seeking news media which claims
to treat political controversies impartially.
‘In March last year the BBC’s then acting director-general Mark Byford parried my offer to demonstrate
to his staff the evidence showing how The Guardian perverted Sir Gordon’s Inquiry ⎯ despite my
providing him with written endorsements of our work by people of standing, including BBC journalists.
‘This censorship of our work helps maintain an ingrained public misunderstanding of the “cash for
questions” affair which undoubtedly helped skewer Neil Hamilton’s 1999 libel action and underpins the
British media’s tendency to still refer to John Major’s administration as “sleazy.” ’

I trust that you fully appreciate the importance of this matter.

In my efforts to get this story aired I have continued with my research, including research into related
issues. During this I came across items published in The Guardian and The Sunday Telegraph following
your appointment as the BBC’s new chairman, in which you make clear how much you oppose
censorship of all kinds, which I presume includes political censorship. Mark Thompson also makes
clear his abhorrence of censorship too, in a recent e-mail to staff. I naturally welcome these statements.

In my letter to Mr. Thompson I inform him about my recent discovery of important new evidence which
explodes The Guardian’s and Fayed’s “cash for questions” accusations. Mindful both of his abhorrence
of censorship and the BBC’s desire for “scoops” (as expressed by the BBC’s head of news Helen
Boaden), I have offered Mr. Thompson exclusive access to this evidence. As a first step I have
suggested that he order an examination of all the evidence that I have collated prior to announcing to the
world this sensational new development in one of this country’s biggest political scandals.

I call on you to offer Mr. Thompson your full support for the commission of an assessment of our work.

I have copied this letter to others including Mark Thompson; the BBC’s head of legal affairs Dominic
Lundon; and one of the few BBC staff to have examined our work, BBC NW’s political editor Jim
Hancock. I have written separate letters announcing the discovery of the new evidence to Helen
Boaden; the BBC’s head of political programmes, analysis and research, Sue Inglish; and the BBC’s
political editor Nick Robinson.

I look forward to your reply and to the BBC taking a positive interest in this story.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Boyd Hunt