Saturday, December 10, 2005

Webb, wrong yet again

On Wednesday evening, in a radio report about Condoleeza Rice's announcement regarding the use (or lack thereof) of torture on terrorists outside of the US, BBC's Five Live radio had Justin Webb on to clarify things for its audience. During the course of his report (about 1 hour 35 minutes into the show) Webb was asked:
How has this announcement gone down in Washington?
Webb responded:
Never mind Washington, look across the United States. All the polls suggest that Americans do not want people to be tortured in their name.
This is a classic example of why the BBC in general, and Webb in particular, simply cannot be trusted to report the news factually. Just one day before Webb's report, an AP-Ipsos poll was released which showed that 61% of Americans supported the use of torture on at least "rare" occassions. Back in November, a Newsweek poll (scroll down) showed that 58% of those polled said they would support torture if it might lead to the prevention of a terrorist attack.

As I must say so often when it comes to Webb, he is either deliberately deceiving his audience, or he is plainly incompetent. The fact that the BBC continues to employ this man and allow him to pontificate on issues in America says a great deal about the BBC's institutional commitment, or rather lack thereof, to truth and accuracy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

condi did not deny torture ,just that the US has laws against it

5:08 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...

True enough.


6:29 PM  
Blogger residentofalastbastion said...

ah, but you see, they do have an institutional commitment...

i thought you knew!

1:56 AM  
Anonymous avaroo said...

That IP poll actually showed that people in OTHER countries including the UK supported the use of torture on at least rare occasions.

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your old mate Paul gives a beautiful example of the BBC art of bringing out the bad news in a story of "optimism in new Iraq"

The report describes a poll in which 61%of Iraquis think the government are doing a good job, 71% said things are good personally and 69% are optimistic for the future.

First the good news

"The BBC News website's World Affairs correspondent, Paul Reynolds, says the survey shows a degree of optimism at variance with the usual depiction of the country as one in total chaos. "

But we can't leave it like that.

"However, our correspondent adds that critics will claim that the survey proves little beyond showing how resilient Iraqis are at a local level - and that it reveals enough important exceptions to the rosy assessment, especially in the centre of the country, to indicate serious dissatisfaction."

I really love that that line.

"Our survey shows that Iraquis are quite happy but some unnamed critics who haven't actually said anything yet will nevertheless find a way to show that this survey proves that they're really pissed of"


Kevin B

1:31 PM  

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