Chapter 34: Decline and Fall of Modern Journalism

Decline and Fall of Modern Journalism
One small slip for a man; one giant fall for a profession.

In previous short Chapters (29 - Fake News; 30 - Clarke Lies and videotape; 31 - On Lies and conspiracies; 33 - Jon Clarke Entrenched Lies ) I tried to unravel some of the extraordinary stories relating to the reported disappearance of Madeleine Beth McCann put out by Jon Clarke the disgraced journalist, editor and proprietor of “The Olive Press”, a free tabloid newspaper and advertising sheet found at supermarket-check-outs in southern Spain.

I tried to unpick the way in which outright and provable lies were printed, published on-line, and then, bizarrely, put into first-hand reporting in the recent Netflix ‘documentary’.

I showed how a whole series of Clarke’s lies was immediately revealed by the contemporary video footage included in that same Netflix production, and how anyone watching and thinking about what they were seeing could identify the untruths and inventions and falsehoods he was uttering direct to camera, sometimes as he was actually making the mendacious statements.

As each Chapter was finalised new evidence was uncovered and comments from readers flooded in, drawing my attention to yet more aspects of this totally unacceptable behaviour.

What follows is a series of short essays to try to unravel still further what many believe to be a web of deceit .
Jon Clarke. The Olive Press

As readers of his paper have realised, Clarke is very free with invective and ad hominem abuse, Clarke and his paper love nothing more than identifying people by name, occupation, age and place of residence. He purports however to be protective of his own family. A long time ago his children were named by a contributor in an on-line forum, and he asked for the details to be removed. Very quickly they were.

It is in fact easy to find full details of Clarke’s wife and of his children by conducting a ‘google’ search. Even a cursory search will find a Daily Telegraph article – now no longer available except by using the WayBack search engine – where the meta-text, the précis and extracts which appear under the headline, remains.

People familiar with the system will know that by adding one of the terms from the meta-text and then repeating the search a slightly different result is obtained. After as few as five iterations of this type the full names of all the family and details of their home can be seen. The ages of his children are easy to calculate. [ As a matter of common courtesy I shall not append the details here.]

Clarke placed all this in the public domain himself, and yet complains when others do it. He may of course have been paid for the article, and that may have over-ridden his core objection.

During our unproductive e-mail exchange in which I asked for a retraction of the deliberate lies Clarke had told about me, and perhaps some sort of correction and apology, he finished by making an extraordinary statement about publishing details of my family.

It may be that this was a vague threat of some sort, but it is slightly confusing.

Given that my brother was a Blue and twice an Olympic athlete, (Montreal and Moscow, since you ask) then held a National position within the NHS, and lives in a house of historical interest which can be found on the internet; given that my niece holds a middle management position in PR for the UK’s oldest and most famous wine merchant and appears under her full name on the Company web-site; given that my nephews both hold high profile positions one within the world of finance, the other in on-line trading across the world, and that any cursory ‘google’ search will find them all, as indeed it will find me, it is unclear how giving out their details would disturb anyone.

Perhaps the theme of ‘knowing where someone lives’ is a powerful one.

Clarke claimed to have been forced to leave the Costa del Sol some years ago when his activities as an investigative journalist began to attract unwanted attention from his targets. His claims to have sought anonymity in a renovation project outside a small village in the mountains of Andalucia are slightly at variance with his decision to publicise the considerable renovation work in a major national newspaper, and then to open the place as a high quality rural retreat, advertised in all the usual places.

Fact, False Hope, or a Hoax ?

Clarke uses the theme in the story about the Angolan Bouncer [q.v] where it was said that he had ‘been forced to flee to Spain’ (Huelva) from Portugal to avoid his assailants.

The inconvenient facts that there is an open and uncontrolled Schengen-area border between Portugal and Spain; that Huelva is less than 50km from that border, less than 100 km from Faro, and less than 150 km from Portimão; and that the gentleman in question had been living happily in Huelva for some considerable time and had been instrumental in the local basketball team’s success in a relatively major competition – all of this discoverable within two minutes on ‘google’ – seem not to diminish the power of the words used.

The claim that the Angolan Bouncer was living in fear of the gang of high-profile and aggressive Portuguese child traffickers was also slightly contradicted, if not to say revealed as totally bizarre and frankly unbelievable, by the publishing of a full face head and shoulders colour photo at the head of the story in question, reproduced across all the syndicated papers, and still retrievable on the internet.

As with all things McCann, none of it makes sense, and much can only be explained by making the assumption that it is pure invention. Or in plain English – lies.

One of the (many) intriguing aspects of the Angolan Bouncer story is that despite its having been reported by a self-styled Investigative journalist, no follow-up article has even been published.
There is no mention of the result of phone calls to the Spanish police to confirm their receipt of the dossier, nothing about asking the PJ to confirm they had in fact received it, no details of emails to the FBI or Interpol, no follow up interview with the man himself, with his lawyer, or indeed with anyone.
No article either castigating the authorities for their total failure to follow up this important information, nor congratulating them for taking it as far as they did

The story exists as if in a vacuum. It came from nowhere, and went nowhere.
It is as insubstantial as a dream, a phantasm.
It became cat litter and was disposed of in the normal way. It exists in permanent form only in the internet archives in the deep caverns of northern Finland.

More worrying thoughts

The Angolan Bouncer story has been dissected at length and a long series of questions which naturally arise from it has been documented. To date it seems none has been addressed or answered.
There are yet other aspects of that strange story which are more worrying.

Did Clarke and The Olive Press, and the Sun for whom he was also writing, allow time for SpanPol to contact PortPol in the form of the PJ, to contact Interpol and to contact the FBI to start appropriate enquiries with the US Border and Passport control agencies among others, before they published the article ? Or did Clarke just blunder in and risk Madeleine’s life still further – or yet again ?

We know that GM went against specific advice from the PJ when releasing details of the eye defect, the coloboma, thus making it highly likely that she would be horribly mutilated, or more likely killed. Apologists might argue that this was his privilege as a father – to take action which led directly to his daughter’s death – but the same cannot be said about Clarke.

In one of his reports Clarke says he “ran it [the story ] past Maddies family , which – if it happened at all – may be a lame attempt to move any possible blame to the family. But by printing what he did, in such detail that the alleged group involved could have identified themselves, Clarke must consider his joint responsibility for any negative outcome.
Gerry McCann is on record as saying that releasing the details of the eye defect was “a good marketing ploy” which immediately raised even more concerns about the nature of the search.
Was the Angolan Bouncer story also a good marketing ploy for the discredited Olive Press ?

A Lie is a Lie is a Lie
How many different Versions of the Truth can be True ?

I detailed previously Clarke’s three separate and distinct ‘Versions of the Truth’, saw them initially as irreconcilable, one with another, and then tried to fuse them together to make a consistent story.

In this I think I was partially successful. But that success is dependant on the admission by Clarke that one other element is false – that of the claimed time of a phone call and the estimated time of departure from the family home in rural Spain.

It is instructive to consider yet again the wording of the statements.
I make no apology for repeating them, so that everyone shall understand the depths to which journalism has sunk, and how Tabloid proprietors and journalists have lost even the scrap of morality and decency they may once have had.

Versions of The Truth (VofTT)
1 2017. “When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment,
where I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I
could to help.
The only reporter on the scene till late that evening . . .

2    Netflix. “I said hello to them as they were leaving and introduced myself to them as a reporter from the Mail, and they said “Hi”, and I think they may have also said “thanks for coming”. 

3 The first journalist at the scene reveals Maddie's parents' ‘devastation'

4 2019 “The Olive Press Editor, 50, was the first journalist on the scene in Praia da Luz the day after police began their disastrous attempt to find the toddler.

5 Crews interviewed publisher of Spain’s biggest expat paper Jon Clarke, who was the first UK print journalist in the resort

6 2019 Praia da Luz was a sleepy little village and hardly anyone was around when I arrived later that morning. But I was shocked when I saw the McCannsapartment there was no security and just a flimsy piece of police tape covering the side gate.
A few hours later, I met Kate and Gerry.”

I show in chapter 32 ‘On Lies and Conspiracies’ – how even if Clarke, an investigative journalist for whom we may suppose details were once important, asks his readership to believe that he did not know or did not realise, or had just forgotten or overlooked the fact that Portugal and Spain are on different time zones, his timings still do not make sense.

But he asks us to believe it. So we have to try.

The self-aggrandisement about being the ‘first’ or the ‘only’ journalist was shown by the Netflix film itself to be totally untrue and pure invention. The transparent attempt at ‘definitional retreat’ in VofTT5 is exposed as a classic fallacious argument along the lines of . . . “When I said First journalist I actually meant the first UK Print journalist, by which I think I mean the first British journalist who publishes in British tabloids, and in English . . .”

Good try, but it also fails, since Len Port, who lives in Portugal and publishes in English in another ex-pat outlet was there at 0830 and is clearly visible in the Netflix videos.

If VofTT6 is correct – that he spoke to the McCanns ‘some hours later’ [than his arrival], then much of the rest of that extraordinary description of empty streets, few police, no dogs, no journalists, and no signs of the frenzied activity clearly documented on the videos from early-morning onwards, could well be more accurate than we have allowed.

If so, then I apologise again for having doubted him.

But in turn Clarke must explain, as I set out Chapter 32, how he was in PdL by 0600 - 0700 on 4/5/7, why he lied - if he did - about the phone call at 0700, when he did the 4 hour drive and why he still insists in VofTT1 and VofTT2 that he arrived about 1045 local time, when we can show from the contemporary video evidence that this is simply not true.

That is Clarke’s dilemma
He cannot have it all ways.
Some at least of what he has written and said must be untrue, factually inaccurate, incorrect, or a straightforward, downright and blatant lie.

The world awaits the Truth. Not a Version.

The Oath taken in a court of Law is quite clear. It is definitively NOT . . .

I Promise to tell A Version of the Truth
Part of A Version of the Truth, and
Nothing but A Version of the Truth

That would be, to use a favourite word from the McCabulary, – “Ludicrous”

One rule for Me – Another rule for everyone else ?

One of the strange feature of Madeleine’s case so far is that those still searching for the truth adopt the position, “ – here is the argument and here is the evidence and the logic to support it. Here are the references, here are the videos, here is the supporting documentation, and we are open to discussion and look forward to receiving any evidence you may have – “

The contrary argument is only ever presented as Libel, threats, intimidation, and ad hominem abuse. Never once is supporting evidence presented, and the response is almost always accompanied by demands for yet more evidence, more information, and more analysis

The dogs’ alerts are dismissed out of hand, with a refusal to discuss them
The lack of a ‘window of opportunity’ is simply ignored
The state of the shutters is skated over by saying the McCanns never said that
The Pool photo - few have ever tried to support it. Those who did revealed a profound lack of understanding of the evidence and the logic of the argument

So let us try to tackle the logic of what he says.

Clarke is an educated man, perhaps not with a sharp forensic mind honed in the debating chamber of a grey stone University, but surely able to identify false logic and the huge leaps of faith concomitant on arguing a point with a total lack of supporting evidence.

He went to a good university; one with four Nobel laureates on the staff, and incidentally the one which awarded my Masters.
Surely he is profoundly embarrassed by having to write stuff like this
Why does he do it ? Only he can say.
Can money be his sole motivation ?

Clearly a proper search for the facts and the truth might have led him in a different direction, along a different path, even if his ultimate conclusions based on the evidence he found turned out to be the same.

What has he written,
A few hours later, I met Kate and Gerry. They were polite, and thanked me for reporting on the case. I knew immediately they weren’t involved.

This uncannily mirrors a statement by one of the main paymasters of the McCanns, millionaire Brian Kennedy who is reported as saying: "They both looked like a wreck, after 12 seconds just reading the emotions everything told me 100 per cent that this woman [Kate McCann] is genuine she is a victim."

This is strangely precise – “12 seconds”. [cf. 9:04 by his watch ]

Now turn it round and apply this standard of investigation, this total lack of proper consideration of the evidence and of the arguments, to a criminal trial.
Imagine YOU are the [wrongly] Accused, and you hear a member of the jury say. “I knew in 12 seconds he was Guilty”, and another one says “I knew immediately”
Such persons would and should be barred from jury service, and a re-trial ordered.

It is not reassuring. It is not how the world should work.
Visceral reactions are part of the human condition. They are the very basis for racism and several unacceptable prejudices, but gradually through use of our intelligence, better education and societal change we are learning not to rely on them.
There is no longer a place for the 12 second conclusion. It is surely what Investigative, in the title ‘Investigative Journalist’ actually means.

The fallacy, for those who are interested, is known as secundum quid, or ‘Jumping to conclusions’


When presented with fallacious arguments one of the more effective responses is to hit back with another one. Here the obvious choice would be the Plurum interrogationum - the Plural, multiple or complex question, perhaps flavoured with a dash of ad hom. abuse

Did you have to go to Journalists’ College to learn to be so stupid ?

How much were you paid to tell all these lies ?
Strange Logic

In the 2007 article Clarke sets out his reasoning. I use the word loosely, but it is worth a short diversion to demonstrate the secundum quid in operation, and how journalists will twist the normal rules of honesty and logic to press home an illegitimate point.
The short paragraph reads

Original Version
But for a couple of loving parents to murder their daughter, bury and cover all traces in the space of an hour while on holiday is stretching it a bit far.
The fact that they are educated doctors with not a blemish on their names.
The fact that they were on holiday with two other families.
The fact that they invited the worlds press to help with not one speck of real dirt sticking to them.
These are just some of the reasons why I am convinced the McCanns did not kill their daughter Madeleine, 4.

10th Anniversary Version.
But for a couple of loving parents to murder their daughter, bury and cover all traces in an hour while on holiday is stretching it just a bit too far.
But this didn’t stop the Portuguese police from charging them… and to this day, one notorious ex-detective continues to publish books claiming they were involved.
No care [sic] that Kate and Gerry McCann were educated doctors with not a blemish on their names.
That they were on holiday with two other families.
And that they had invited the world’s press to help in the search.
These are just some of the reasons why I am convinced the McCanns did not kill their daughter.

Quite apart from the obvious objection that none of these is in any sense a “reason’ for believing anything, he then ends with an ignoratio elenchi, specifically a ‘straw man’ which he then knocks down. I am convinced the McCanns did not kill their daughter.

For the record so am I – at least not with the active implication of the word ‘killed’.

But let us dissect it.
a couple of loving parents Is there evidence for this. Does Clarke have access to information which allows him to describe the parents as “loving’ either of themselves, or of their children ?

to murder their daughter, So far as I am aware no sane person has ever suggested “Murder”. The term was first used by Kate, and has since been repeated by Mitchell.

bury and cover all traces in an hour Where did this come from ? This is pure invention. There is no independent evidence of a time opportunity of this size, or disposal in this way, even though Kate refers to it obliquely when she is trying to dismiss the dogs’ findings

. . . while on holiday is stretching it just a bit too far. Just as the Zapata case in which it was alleged that dogs’ alerts proved that a man had carried his murdered wife’s remains across several States for over a quarter of a century was ‘stretching it just a bit too far’. ?
The judge at first instance took this point and did not allow the evidence to be heard.
It was nonetheless true, as Zapata confirmed in his subsequent confession.

But this didn’t stop the Portuguese police from charging them. . . As has been pointed out elsewhere ad nauseam this is simply factually inaccurate. Clarke knows this. It is a Lie.

Kate and Gerry McCann were educated doctors with not a blemish on their names. Again Clarke must be privy to full background information denied to the PJ to be able to make this statement. And a cynic might also point out that Harold Shipman fitted into this category before his conviction, as did the other 24 UK doctors convicted of manslaughter since 1990.

That they were on holiday with two other families. Three, actually, as surely after following the case for a decade Clarke must have known, or been able to check very easily. Sloppy journalism and failure to check facts. But in any event it is entirely irrelevant to the matter in hand.

And that they had invited the world’s press to help in the search. The cases of Guilty people turning to the world’s Press in an attempt to divert attention from themselves runs to dozens of pages. Clarke must, surely, be aware of at least some. If not, I recommend Chapter 11- Crocodile Tears’ in which I list eleven of the more notorious ones.

These are just some of the reasons why I am convinced the McCanns did not kill their daughter.
There is not actually a single “reason”. The phrase ‘kill their daughter’ is a not only a Straw Man, but also subtly trying to shift the burden of proof.
Read it again.
. . . I am convinced the McCanns did not kill their daughter.

What this tactic does is try to shift the Burden of Proof by forcing us to explain that no one else does either, and has never suggested that they did.
By which time people have got bored and lost track of the original proposition.

Apart from the fallacious ‘Special Pleading’ - “. . . They are doctors . . . ” we are left with nothing.

When we consider that all the authorities involved in this, the PJ, the GNR, Brit Pol (LeicsPol and MetPol), three sets of self-proclaimed private detectives, several Investigative journalists of various credibility and experience, and hundreds or even more people across the internet have all attempted to come up with a credible scenario which accounts for at least some (even one) of the McCann’s set of facts, and realise that all have failed miserably, we are entitled to think that perhaps the “McFacts” presented are not as they might seem.

We keep coming back to Clarke

It may be that somewhere in his several articles something may actually be true.
If so, perhaps he now owes it to his readership to tell them which version it is.

He clearly was in PdL on 4/5/7, and on any test he was there long before 1000 local time. There is documentary evidence in the form of video film which shows him the midst of a throng or a gaggle of reporters at that time. Other evidence including his observed familiarity with the scene and his relaxed and friendly contact with senior police officers indicate that he was probably present for a considerable time before 1000.
But in two of his Versions of the Truth (VofTT1, and VofTT2). he insists he did not arrive until 1045 local time. (The McCanns and the PJ are clear that they left at or just before 1000)


Does it matter ?
Does it matter that Reporters Write Rubbish
Does it matter that Papers Publish Piffle
Does it matter that Tabloids Type Trash

On one level – No. Not at least for intelligent and discerning people.
But the Tabloid press is aimed at C2DE readers who may lack the intellectual acumen or the education to allow them to filter out the dross, lies and nonsense.

No intelligent person now believes anything printed in the Sun, or the Record, or the Star.
No one believes anything said by Mitchell. Articles by Kandohla seem designed simply to attract negative comments. No one believes anything they contain, unless there are independent sources for the information.

Clarke has managed to add his own name and that of his paper “The Olive Press” to the ‘Dis-Honours Board’ in that ‘Hall of Infamy’, and by association has damaged Netflix.

Most people believe only a small amount of what is in the other slightly more up-market Tabloids.
The days of the Thunderer and the Telegraph as papers of record are now long gone.
Only Private Eye has the good grace to apologise, and does so sincerely and on a regular basis.
It took Profiler Pat Brown four months and a lot of pro-bono legal assistance to wring a recent grudging correction out of The Sun. The deliberate mis-representation they had printed fitted their ‘Agenda’ and they were reluctant to print something which spoke against it.

An article KEY TO FINDING MADDIE Expert says mystery man spotted on night she disappeared is key to solving case of missing Madeleine McCann(11 March) originally had a headline which reported that criminal profiler Pat Brown believed Madeleine McCann may have been abducted by a mystery man seen on the night she disappeared. To clarify, she believes that the man is key to solving the case, but does not believe that he abducted Madeleine. A version of the headline also suggested that two mystery menseen on the night may have been the same person; in fact, Pat Brown believes they were different men. We apologise for the error.

Original article 11/3/19 Correction 19/7/19
Pat Brown believed” - v - “Pat Brown does not believe”
It is difficult to see how that could have been a mistake, and the suspicion remains that it was and is part of a concerted and focussed plot.
And that suspicion grows when we know that Pat Brown did not speak to The Sun. Ever.

Her words were ‘borrowed’ from elsewhere and changed to fit the News Corp Agenda that there was an abductor, and that someone who has looked at the evidence actually believes this.
Which for the record, no one does.

Given the proven nexus between Clarke and News Corp (The Sun) and his inclusion in the lists of contributing journalists in various articles it may be reasonable to suspect that Clarke might be deeply embedded in any conspiracy to deceive - if it could ever be proved there were one.

Some may say that taking the Tabloid press to task is a waste of time.
I think however it is instructive to show the depths to which journalism has now sunk, and how, apparently for money, journalists and publishers are prepared to lie to the public.

My particular case also shows when even after Clarke was exposed as a liar in “The Olive Press”, he seemed to lack the moral fibre - not to mention the common decency and good grace - to correct and apologise.
He has incidentally still not done so. The piece remains on-line and in the public domain. Clarke’s lies and his abusive and defamatory statements are preserved for anyone to see.

There was a time when Journalism was a respected profession. It was seen as the 4th Estate, to hold the Establishment to account, by fearlessly exposing corruption and deceit. The Telegraph exposed the MP’s expenses scandal, and it was journalists who by their tenacity and boldness in the Watergate saga brought down a President. Private Eye tried long and hard to expose Savile and Smith as disgusting perverts, only to find they were protected by the Establishment and Libel Lawyers.

Don’t play the ball, play the man’.

A diversion on the Fallacy of ad hominem abuse.

Ad hominem (abusive) is fallacious because it says nothing about the issue under consideration.
It addresses the personality, the character, characteristics, racial background, gender, proclivities or previous history of the person arguing a particular point. But all these are irrelevant.
It is possible for scoundrel or even a Tabloid journalist to be right, just as the local doctor, the Pope or the Dalai Lama may be wrong. (Only the Dalai Lama would have the humility to accept this, of course )

So it is commonly used by common people who have nothing else to say, who have no answer to the proposition.
It is an ‘adult’ extension of the playground verbal bully, or “Little Britain’sgrotesque but all too recognisable Vicky Pollard – “ . . and anyway don’t listen to her because everyone knows she ain’t got no pubes . . “ [worse (and funnier) examples exist !]

There is no essential difference between this and describing a contributor to a debate as a “troll” without addressing the central issue.
Try it.
Mr. Clarke, what is your view of Mr MacLeod’s research which strongly suggests that the Pool Photo was taken on Sunday 29th, and not on Thursday 3rd as the McCanns insist ?

“Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no, but anyway don’t listen to him because everyone knows he’s old and he’s bald and a troll . . so there . . !”

Or as the disgraced Clarke actually wrote
There was even the deluded former deputy chief superintendent, who trolled long and hard from his villa in Andalucia, convinced that the parents were guilty.”
And on another infamous occasion
The former Nottinghamshire copper has long trolled that the parents were guilty and even
produced a libellous pamphlet on why they did it. . . . [Err, I didn’t, and it wasn’t ]

Jon Pollard or Victor Clarke ?

There is no difference.
Jon Clarke, numbered among the McCann’s principle acolytes and proselytisers, has metamorphosed into a parody of the monstrous Vicky Pollard. Whilst his use of language may be slightly more refined . . . his use of logic is not.

What Clarke notably does NOT say is
MacLeod is wrong when he suggests the Pool Photo was taken on the Sunday. He has failed to note that the official weather charts for Faro airport were discredited by the Government investigation XYZ/67/89/gov/port/weather which exposed serial failings, and lead to the complete overhaul of the systems in place . . .

MacLeod has misinterpreted the reports by relatives and friends about what they were told about the shutters. On closer inspection of the press reports it is clear that they all intended to say words to the effect “They were saying they were not smashed or broken or forced or jemmied, and that is why they couldn’t understand how the intruder had gained entry . . . .”

He doesn’t say that, of course. He can’t. It would be nonsense. As well as untrue.
And worse, it would invite even closer scrutiny of original documentation.
Like many other apologists he offers no evidence or analysis, and so is forced to confine himself to ad hominem abuse.

He has nothing else to say. We understand that. Like the playground bully who resorts to verbal or physical violence, it is proof enough that he has lost any argument.

Clarke is in a trap of his own making.
His boasting and self-congratulatory contribution to the Netflix film has preserved his lies and deliberate deceit for all time. Clarke has been exposed, disgraced, and revealed as something other than that which he purports to be.

Hubris followed by Karma ? Clarke’s Nemesis was the Netflix film. No one else was involved.
He is, to use a Shakespearean expression, “Hoist with his own petard.”

Another book, also written a long time ago said.
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18. KJB)

Clarke has no escape. And for that he may deserve our pity.

Evil and Pernicious”

In his 2019 article Clarke concludes by saying
One thing for sure, it made me think long and hard about doing my job and how evil and pernicious the internet and its many trolls can be.”

Well yes. Jon. You phrase that well.

After you had thought long and hard, what conclusions did you come to ? Your internet editions identifying the innocent girl in the Axarquia, and your deliberate and disgraceful lies and defamatory comments about me are still available on line. You were censured by your own professional body for the former, and have never had the common decency to apologise for the latter.
After thinking long and hard are you still proud of that ?

Evil and pernicious ? I might have been tempted to use more moderate language, but you are right. The Netflix programme can certainly be described as pernicious, – (adj) having an exceedingly harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way –
and the evil (adj). profoundly immoral and wicked –
consists in the perpetuation by the film of the fraud on the general public who lack the perspicacity, the acumen or the training to see through what they are being told. It is part of the coordinated mass and continuing deception in which some might suggest that by your lies you are complicit.

To wind up with a similarly pithy phrase, aimed not only at Clarke, but at all uncritical acolytes and apologists, drones, scribblers and hacks

Your inability to understand and your refusal to consider the evidence
are not valid arguments against it.