By spunky on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 03:31 am:

    Just as President Bush's critics on Capitol Hill and in America's reflexively lefty media have seized on an alleged "smoking gun" of faulty intelligence to undercut his public support, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is coming under similar assault.
    The catalyst there is the suicide of Dr. David Kelly, a weapons inspector who was identified as the source of a British Broadcasting Corp. report charging that the Blair government had ordered a public dossier of Saddam Hussein's crimes "sexed up" to bolster the case for war.

    Indeed, the prime minister already has found himself being taunted by reporters demanding to know "if you've got blood on your hands."

    But though Blair is taking a major political hit, it's the supposedly impartial - and, by the way, taxpayer-funded - BBC that stands before the world as the purveyor of "sexed-up" information.

    That is to say, disinformation.

    Back in May, BBC defense correspondent Andrew Gilligan reported that "one of the senior officials in charge of drawing up the dossier" on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was charging that Blair and his aides deliberately deceived the British people by overstating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

    BBC officials refused to disclose their source, but said the story was based on "one senior and credible source in the intelligence services."

    An understandably outraged Blair ordered an investigation, which quickly focused on Kelly, a microbiologist involved in the search for WMD.

    Ordered to testify before a House of Commons panel, he insisted he couldn't have been the source - because he hadn't said anything remotely like what Gilligan reported.

    "From [our] conversation, I don't see how he could make the authoritative statement he was making," said Kelly.

    But when Kelly - obviously distraught over having been thrust into the limelight - took his own life last week, the BBC confessed that he had, in fact, been the network's source.

    Problem is, Kelly was never in the intelligence services. Nor was he "one of the senior officials in charge of drawing up the dossier."

    And, as he himself insisted just days before his death, he'd never said what the BBC claimed he said.

    Indeed, if anyone is guilty of having "sexed up" the information it gave the public, it's the BBC - not Tony Blair.

    But that's hardly surprising: From the start, the network was in the forefront of those trying to rouse opposition to war with Iraq and to undermine both Blair and Bush.

    Indeed, the BBC was taken to task during the war itself by one of its own front-line correspondents, Paul Adams, who wrote a blistering memo to his bosses blasting the network's coverage, which contended that the U.S.-led coalition was suffering repeated military defeats.

    Even before the conflict began, the London Daily Telegraph reported, the BBC was receiving "an unprecedented number of complaints at the alleged anti-war and anti-American tone of its coverage of the Iraqi crisis."

    In fact, the BBC's director-general, Greg Dyke, publicly denounced U.S. journalists for their "gung-ho patriotism," adding that he was "shocked while in the United States by how unquestioning the broadcast news media was during this war."

    And yet it's Blair who, outrageously, is being made to bear the brunt of British public outrage.

    It's the BBC that needs to be answering questions about its deliberately distorted political reporting.

    Because, as Greg Dyke has admitted, "if, over time, we lost the trust of our audiences, there is no point to the BBC."

    That, ultimately, is between the BBC and the British taxpayer.

    For Americans, the lesson is that "sexing up" the news is not limited to, well, America.


    The next 6-8 months will prove interesting.

    All this "politicking" on both sides of the fence and ocean, will crumble in the light of truth.

By Rowlf on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 09:24 am:

    BBC reported what it was told from its source. It has reported what Blair says, and it reported what (who turned out to be David Kelly) said. Newspapers contradict themselves all the time, its their job. Its not the same as a politician with one idea and one case.

    some papers editorial stance is pro-war, some is anti-war. Thats fine, there should be an editorial vision. Its about being objective when reporting the actual news, and there being some sense of balance overall when it comes to representing what the public wants and what the news demands.

By patrick on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 01:06 pm:

    where do you find this garbage spunky?

    the authors obviously don't know shit about journalism.

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