BBC admits to lies
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:
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:
Pentagon hawk admits Iraq doubts
The outgoing Pentagon number three has admitted holding doubts over key areas of US military policy in Iraq.
- 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?