Wednesday, July 13, 2005

BBC admits to lies

After dragging its feet on coming clean, the BBC has finally admitted to deceiving its readers in its coverage of Washington politics.

OK, that isn’t really true at all. I just figured I’d have a go at the BBC method of headline and lead writing.

Today we got this headline and lead paragraph from the BBC:

Pentagon hawk admits Iraq doubts

The outgoing Pentagon number three has admitted holding doubts over key areas of US military policy in Iraq.

Compelling, no? Well, not quite. In fact, not even close. It turns out that Douglas Feith gave an interview to The Washington Post, and said things like:

- There were “trade offs” and “pros and cons” in the decision to use a relatively small invasion force

- He can’t assert that he “knows what the answer is” with regard to the proper troop strength, because “it's an extremely complex judgment to know whether the course that we chose with its pros and cons was more sensible”

- The administration undertook frequent “course corrections” when it found it had made a mistake

- One of those mistakes was the failure to train enough Iraqi exiles to assist in an early handover of power from the coalition - "That didn't happen in the numbers we had hoped."

- He had personally favored “transferring responsibility to the Iraqis earlier.”

Now you tell me…does that resemble in any way whatsoever an “admission of doubts” about US Iraq policy?

If so, then my header and intro is fully justified as well. After all, when I complained to the BBC over its repeated and unqualified assertion that a crime had been committed in the Valerie Plame kerfuffle, I got this as a reply:

Our apologies for being so slow to reply to your message. We take your point that it has yet to be established whether the leak was indeed a federal offence. In recent stories, we have been more careful with our wording. We have, for instance, said: "The wilful disclosure of a covert CIA agent's name can be a federal offence."

See? They admitted to dragging their feet, and admitted to deceiving their readers. Right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never got a response to my inquiry as to why the Amnesty International report which covered 149 countries was only reported under headlines directly referring to "abuses" committed by the US and Israel. I just want to know how long before people see the truth and the BBC gets put on the list of proscribed terror supporters.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

But it is vital that we keep complaining and try and get as many people as you can to complain.

Over the last two years I have managed to get the BBC to change several stories and even retract one.

Scot Burgess over at

Has been very successful as well as have the folks at Biased BBC.

Keep up the good work Scott.


9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A curious thought sprang to mind in relation to the use of the word "Hawk". If the BBC are prepared to use such a word in relation to a properly appointed official of the US defence department, without clearly defining what hawkishness might be and whether the official in question meets the standards of hawkishness, whatever they are, why are they so reluctant to use the word "Terrorist" to describe the London suicide bombers.

Hawk seems to be used as a vaguely perjorative term by the BBC but without any real definitional anchor. Thus we can only guess that the BBC intend a negative value judgement to be made on the basis that our perception of hawks in nature are that they are supposedly merciless and violent predators. "Terrorism" and "Terrorist" are, however, internationally defined legal terms and can surely be deployed without controversy in the appropriate circumstances.

I suppose, relatively speaking, one person's hawk might be another person's dove. Thank you for your work Scott.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... person's hawk might be another person's dove -- and the same is true of shit and shinola. Problem is, The Guardian/BBC hydra-headed thing hasn't even figured the question, much less the answer. Yet still the Brits whimper and pay the fees, like good sheep.... Are we supposed to be impressed?

7:32 PM  
Anonymous mamapajamas said...

Well, it's because it's a US hawk, undoubtedly. The US is an easy target because we aren't likely to plant bombs in the BBC's offices (although they seem anxious to make it seem as if we might, therefore rendering their reporting a "courageous stand against the Superpower").

4:58 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Yes, is there such a thing as a "British hawk", or "French hawk"??

9:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home