Saturday, August 27, 2005

Embarrassment at the BBC

Still trying to get as much anti-Bush mileage as it can out of the now nearly legless Pat Robertson/assassination story, today the BBC gives us a ‘new’ angle to this non-story.

Chavez swipes at 'assassin' Bush

One can imagine the titters of amusement at the BBC with Chavez giving them the opportunity to call Bush an assassin in a headline, although, strictly speaking, at no point in the text of the article is Chavez actually quoted as calling Bush an assassin. So perhaps it was less Chavez than a creative headline writer.

But the real problem with the article is this:

Earlier, the Rev Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said he was seeking a meeting with Mr Chavez to distance US Christians from the remarks.

He is in Mexico, where he is meeting a friend of Mr Chavez, and if all goes well he will travel on to Caracas for an encounter that could embarrass the White House.

In what possible way should such a meeting embarrass the White House? Unfortunately the BBC is keeping that a secret. Or perhaps even it doesn’t know.

Apparently no attempt to smear Bush with the taint of scandal is too ridiculous to find its way into the BBC.


Anonymous Paul Reynolds said...

On the contrary Scott. The story contained a quote from Chavez: '"If anything happens to me then the man responsible will be George W Bush. He will be the assassin," the Venezuelan president said at a public event.'

The headline is therefore supported by the story and properly uses quotation marks around the word assassin.

9:38 AM  
Blogger ed thomas said...

Paul- I don't think it's splitting hairs to say that Chavez doesn't call Bush an assassin- he says that if he is assassinated Bush will be the assassin. That's a vital point, as surely you can see? (and it's interesting to discuss the whole article in the light of it). I don't know if that distinction is precisely Scott's point- though he does say 'strictly speaking'-, but it validates his concern.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Paul Reynolds said...

Chavez could hardly call Bush his assassin as he is still alive. Therefore he says the next best thing, something picked up by the headline whose quotation marks indicate that this needs further reading. Quite clear I think. No need for splitting hairs.

12:35 PM  
Blogger ed thomas said...

Quite right- because no one could. Therefore Chavez only says that Bush is his likely assassin. The BBC misrepresented the case in the headline. Chavez also gave you 'terrorist'- in the present- but the Beeb journalists didn't need it. It's well known that on the left the US has been accused of targeted assassinations- therefore a present tense accusation has a different implication altogether to that which Chavez stated- though one very handy for his overall message.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Paul, I noticed you didn't address what Scott said was the real issue.

"In what possible way should such a meeting embarrass the White House?"

I find in most of your defense of the BBC you cheery pick the easy ones and ignore the rest.

Just as you have done in my challenges to you in this post:

You can't pretend to defend the BBC if you won't have a serious discussion about serious flaws at the BBC.

I won't repeat the whole argument here on Scott's blog but for Scott's readers, here is a sample of the challenges Paul Reynolds refuses to address.

Paul Adams, the BBC's defence correspondent, accused the BBC of lying in its coverage of the war.

"I was gobsmacked to hear, in a set of headlines today, that the coalition was suffering 'significant casualties'. This is simply not true," Adams said in the memo.

"Nor is it true to say - as the same intro stated - that coalition forces are fighting 'guerrillas'. It may be guerrilla warfare, but they are not guerrillas," he stormed.

"Who dreamed up the line that the coalition are achieving 'small victories at a very high price?' The truth is exactly the opposite.

Folks, this is just one sample of many.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

That should read "cherry" picking. :)

1:59 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Here is an example of your cherry picking Paul.

You comment on this "molehill" post as Scott calls it and yet you say nothing about Scott's earlier post about Cindy Sheehan.

From the BBC:

"Her arguments against the war have sparked a heated controversy, and conservative militants from California are on their way to Crawford to launch a tour called "You don't speak for me, Cindy!".

"conservative militants"!

No bias there, eh Paul?

We'd be interested in you comments on that post Paul.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Joe Noory said...

Marc - do you have any idea how disigenuous it is to claim that only one ideology has the right to speak its' mind?

It's a stale old leftist tactic that everyone is onto. The people indulging Sheehan can't quite square her own comments about "Wars for Israel" and the fact that she is demanding a meeting with the President, while calling hurling epithets at him the other 14 waking hours of her day.

One teenager who lost his brother in Iraq had to face a bunch of these clowns who apporached him at home near Bush's ranch only to have insults hurled at him, as though he was the soldier, imagining even more stupidly that soldiers themselves can make orders and policy on their own.

The left is emotionally and intellectually shallow, and badly out of hand.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Joe Noory said...

Words are not terrorism - actions are. This inability to make such distinctions is a sort of hangover from the PC movement.
It's the very thing Europeans are up to, the very thing that the american and european angry left accused the US administration of with the Patriot Act, even though it does no such thing.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


Thanks for the comment. I won't bother to argue whether or not what Chavez said merited the headline. Either way, I'm sure it filled the BBC headline writer with glee to be able to do it.

But, as Marc pointed out, my real complaint (which I thought was made obvious by the fact that I called it the "real problem") was the claim that a meeting between Haggard and Chavez might "embarrass" Bush. Do you have any idea whatsoever why it should? Please do edify me.


5:20 PM  
Anonymous JohninLondon said...


I have just posted at BiasedBBC abot Justin WEebb's ltest piece. I know you are a big fan of young Justin !!!

Quite apart from all his nonsense today about Cindy Sheehan, he describes Texans living around Crawford as ignorant and gun-toting.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Conservative Militants"

Are they like the "militants" in Iraq?

What a striking illustration of bias in the BBC.

The head-chopping, self-exploding terrorists in Iraq are not "terrorists". They are militants.
And the conservative protesters, who are trying to counter the media frenzy over Cindy, well, they are ... militants.
Is one led to believe that we will soon start seeing some mpegs on the net with some texan beheadings? Cindy's head on a stick?

The collection of fringe lunatics, that have swarmed like flies to the media spotlight in Crawford, they are protestors. Despite whatever ridiculous, unsubstantiated claims of american genocide for oil, they are protesters.
Yet those who dare to stand up to them, and their media promoters, well, they are "militants".

Mr Reynolds?


1:27 AM  
Blogger Joe Noory said...

The US government clearly isn't worried about Chavez, and pay him little mind. I have no idea where the beeb is getting this.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Paul Reynolds said...


I did answer your Paul Adams point on B-BBC.

Let me repeat briefly here.

Paul was at the time defence corr and was at coalition HQ in Qatar. He was trying to correct some fog of war reporting. He never said, as far as I know, that the BBC had "lied" -- that was your word, if he did please give chapter and verse -- he did say that a misleading impression had been given, which he then corrected. That is what correspondents are for!

Paul Reynolds

3:29 PM  
Anonymous JSP said...

I lived in England before Bush was in office and I found out firsthand how hateful the Brits are towards Americans. I will never understand what they get out of inciting hatred for Americans and fueling the hatred of the Jihadists.

I am really beginning to wonder now that the BBC is going to air a program depicting President Bush being assassinated, Death of a President. This after Britons tried to blow up American planes just this month.

I used to find Great Britain's anti-Americanism confusing. Now I find it frightening.

11:12 PM  

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