Saturday, September 03, 2005

Beeb on the Blumenthal bandwagon

As I predicted, Sydney Blumenthal is getting plenty of airtime, despite the demonstrable falseness of his charges. Yesterday the BBC's 5-Live radio had him on to talk during the late afternoon drive time, giving him the opportunity to spout his rubbish unchallenged for the entire commuting nation.

He was, naturally, introduced simply as an "aide to former President Clinton", but anyone who was around during the Clinton years will know how inadequate that description is. Blumenthal was the most ardent defender of and spin doctor for Clinton, himself taking what Clinton decried as "the politics of personal destruction" to new heights. His reputation for honesty and fairness is, shall we say, not exactly sterling. Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff has described Blumenthal as someone who "rearranges facts, spins conspiracy theories, impugns motives, and besmirches the character of his political and journalistic foes" and regarding Blumenthal's book The Clinton Wars, says that "Although there are slivers of truth in most of what he writes, the facts are dishonestly rearranged to settle scores or whitewash his and the Clintons' actions." In other words, Blumenthal's word is not to be taken on trust.

The BBC's presenter Peter Allen is either ignorant of Blumenthal's reputation or he doesn't care, for he treated Blumenthal and his charges with the utmost credulity. There was no skepticism, no effort to challenge Blumenthal, and quite clearly no knowledge of (or at least no desire to inform his audience of) the real facts surrounding the charges. Such a credulous approach might be defensible with an interviewee thought or known to be an unbiased expert in the subject of the discussion. But Blumenthal is neither an expert in flood control nor is he unbiased. Indeed, he is about as far from unbiased as one can get. Yet the BBC allowed Blumenthal to spin his claims without a single peep of skepticism, and without having anyone else on to counter them.

The BBC is appalling.


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9:36 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

From the look of it, the basic assumptions that Blumenthal was talking about are compatible with the BBC's world view. He was basically saying, "If only we had listened to the environmentalists, this disaster could have been averted." I assume the BBC accepts such notions without question.

12:08 AM  

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