Friday, June 17, 2005

Scant non-partisanship

In an article about a Democratic congressional publicity stunt, the BBC today sings from the American-left songbook regarding the infamous Downing Street Memo. As the BBC says:
The affair has received scant coverage in the mainstream US media, although left-wing bloggers have had some success in bringing it to public attention.
Scant coverage? Perhaps the BBC does not consider the New York Times (9 stories since May 16 that include the phrase "Downing Street Memo"), The Chicago Tribune (7 stories since May 17, including this one), or The Washington Post (35 stories just this month) to be part of the "mainstream US media. (Oh, if only that were true!) The problem is not scant coverage. It is scant interest. Consider this reaction from Michael Kinsley, sydicated columnist, editor of the LA Times, and certainly no friend of either Bush or Republicans:
But even on its face, the memo is not proof that Bush had decided on war. It says that war is "now seen as inevitable" by "Washington." That is, people other than Bush had concluded, based on observation, that he was determined to go to war. There is no claim of even fourth-hand knowledge that he had actually declared this intention. Even if "Washington" meant actual administration decision makers, rather than the usual freelance chatterboxes, C is saying only that these people believe that war is how events will play out.
Simply put, the memo just doesn't say what Democrats want it to say. But that won't stop them, nor will it stop the BBC from taking them seriously.

And then there is this, also from the BBC piece:
Gold Star Families for Peace, a non-partisan group, has expressed its support for the hearing.

"We want our Congress to stand up, to identify and investigate the lies and follow it wherever it goes," Celeste Zappala, who lost a son in Iraq, told AP.

Curious about this, and a little worried my understanding of words had left me, I looked up both the word "partisan" and the home site of Gold Star Families for Peace. This is what I found in the dictionary:
partisan: A fervent, sometimes militant supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.
Then, on the front page of the GSFfP website, I found this by co-founder Cindy Sheehan:

Iraq has been the tragic Lie of Historic Proportions of Washington, DC since before the first gulf war. For years, Saddam was one of our government’s propped up and militarily supported puppets. Many people have seen the famous footage of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam. I suppose the two are smiling so big for the cameras because they are kindred spirits. After all of the hand-shaking and weapon brokering, when did Saddam become such a bad guy to Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and Co.? (Insert your favorite reason here).

During the Clinton regime the US-UN led sanctions against Iraq and the weekly bombing raids killed tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq. Many of them were children, but since one of her children didn’t have to be sacrificed to the homicidal war machine, Madeline Albright, thinks the slaughter during the “halcyon” Clinton years was “worth it.” More lies.

Apparently, in the eyes of the BBC, being non-partisan means attacking both Republicans and Democrats as lying killers and kindred spirits to genocidal maniacs. More from Sheehan:
The evidence is overwhelming, compelling, and alarming that George and his indecent bandits traitorously had intelligence fabricated to fit their goal of invading Iraq. The criminals foisted a Lie of Historic Proportions on the world. It was clear to many of us more aware people that George, Condi, Rummy, the two Dicks: Cheney and Perle, Wolfie, and most effectively and treacherously, Colin Powell, lied their brains out before the invasion.
Indecent and traitorous bandits? Treacherous criminals? Well. Thank goodness Ms Sheehan is not, as the definition says, a "fervent supporter" of her cause. Imagine what she then might have said.

It's good to see the BBC keeping its audience in touch with the feelings of mainstream, "non-partisan" Americans like the GSFfP.

UPDATE: My apologies for the faulty Chicago Tribune links. I hadn't realized you need to register in order to see them. Registration is free.


Blogger mamapajamas said...

It never ceases to amaze me how anyone can think that "non-partisan" is, somehow, a "good" description of anything.

Personally, I've never voted for anything called a "non-partisan". I DO vote for the people who most closely believe in my own ideals, and I expect them to represent those common ideals while they serve in whatever office I help elect them to.

To me, "non-partisan" means that they're willing to compromise those ideals, and it's something that I won't tolerate twice.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous JohnM said...

Bernard Goldberg calls this "stacking the deck". Conspicuously label right-wingers as conservatives but avoid doing this to liberals. Contrarily, label left wing activitists as neutral.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Scott, did you email the BBC over this?

10:43 AM  

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