Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Appeal to emotion dictates BBC coverage

What is it with the BBC and these manufactured casualty milestones? What makes the 1ooth British casualty in Iraq any more or less worthy of promotion on the front page of the BBC's website than the 99th or the 101st?

The Falklands War in 1981 lasted 74 days and resulted in 255 British deaths. There are, of course, no BBC archives on-line from that time, but does anyone suppose that the Beeb at the time hyped the 100th British death as a milestone in any story, much less make it the top story? Or that it did so during World War II with the 100th, or 1,00th, or 10,000th, or 100,000th death? I doubt it.

And, as an aside, how the BBC can continue to quote George Galloway as if he is a serious and respectable voice worthy of being heard on the subject, despite him having voluntarily relinquished any remaining shed of self-dignity during his self-promotional stint on Big Brother, is well beyond me. What's next, Dennis Rodman's analysis on the Alito confirmation?


Anonymous JohnM said...

Don't think the BBC didn't do it's best to undermine the government during the Falklands war. Rather famously they stopped describing British troops as "our side" and also took a great interest in the direction the Belgrano was sailing.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the Beeb always delights in playing and replaying that clip when the old lady questioned Mrs Thatcher about the Belgrano. Beeb's spin being old lady trumped Mrs T with her insistent questioning. Mrs T was indignant and, to be frank, a bit miffed. I got the impression Mrs T wasn't bothered which way it was sailing - it was an enemy ship and needed to be dealt with accordingly.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Mark T said...

Surely the point is that the BBC lost its battle with the government over the Gilligan affair and has an ongoing agenda to prove "it was right" In doing so it joins the list of useful fools. George Bush's State of the Union speech quite rightly said that people should stop focussing on what happned and concentrate on what do do FROM HERE. The BBC of course banged on about Cindy Sheehan and how many people in the US disapprove of the war.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I care what the BBC 'thinks' on any issue. I prefer a news service rather than brainwashing. Bit difficult to find in the UK.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't we all long for the great days of Pravda, when a news service properly SUPPORTED whichever fascist was in power.

ps. Fox News is trying very hard I know.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe the milestones are important because, unlike the other conflicts you cite, this "war" was never declared and was illegal under international law.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between the Falklands, WWII and Iraq is, simply, one of popular consent.

In the US, there was widespread support for the war at the outset, although support seems to be slowly ebbing away. In contrast, UK opinion polls consistently showed a vast majority against the war.

The war was begun by the Government without the support of its people. In these circumstances, surely the BBC is justified in drawing attention to the 100th casualty as a significant (if arbitrary) milestone.

And when every one of those deaths marks a deep personal tragedy, still felt by grieving friends and relatives, which would have been utterly preventable, my feeling is that the media *should* be bringing the cumulative impact of the war to the public's attention. It will allow people to make an informed decision on whether to hold the government to account for the war at the next election. It's democracy in action.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...

Anon (the latest),

The people have already had a chance to hold the government to account for the war. The government that took the country to war won that election.


11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The war's ongoing - the chance to hold the government to account for it is ongoing.

The lack of a credible opposition in the last general election meant that the Government knew it could safely ignore the people's wishes without running the danger of losing the election. It suffered a reduced majority, but still won. It will be interesting to see what happens at the next election now the Conservatives are starting to look vaguely electable again.

JS (posted as anon above)

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyway, far better to let the scenario play out under Bush, the increased insecurity resulting from his blunders, the strangely co-incidental way in which his oil-buddies and Halliburton get rich, the pouring of more and more money into the military for more overseas adventures (Geo. washington spiining in his grave), the big BIG GOVERNMENT spying on its people, the humungous deficits...
Far better that GWB is in place when the chickens come home to roost.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


"increased insecurity"...You shouldn't mistake a sense of security with actual security. People in NY felt perfectly secure on Sep 10, 01. And yet they were not. Just because you felt more secure with Saddam ruling Iraq than you might with the current situation doesn't mean you were more secure.

"oil buddies getting rich" - Are you seriously suggesting that Bush has somehow manipulated the Chinese into using more oil, thus driving up oil prices (and profits)?

"GW spinning in his grave" - That GW would barely recognize his country's government is hardly GWB's doing. And, BTW, have you ever heard of the Barbary Pirates?


4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reverse order:

"That GW would barely recognize his country's government is hardly GWB's doing" True, but his foreign entanglements line was one worth following, but as long as you leave foreign policy to Likud, there's little hope.

Oil: $25 in late 2002, now $62 and Bush's buddies/contributors making billions. GWB's catastrophic foreign policy (antagonising friend and foe alike) is responsible for at least half of that hike, though we'll never know.

"People in NY felt perfectly secure on Sep 10, 01. And yet they were not": stupidly, they probably thought their commander in chief would read memos such as "Bin Laden to strike..."
But since the SCOTUS decided to appoint the deserter who likes to dress up as a cowboy (from Connecticut)...well, you know the rest.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


Well, which is it...Likud's foreign policy or Bush's oil buddies?

I suppose it depends upon which deranged conspiracy theory one is trying to pass off. For the sake of consistency, if not coherence, I suggest you stick with one or the other.


10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly its a combination of both.

In your (simple) mind it is just coincidental that the neocons in the state department all have strong ties to likud, and also that the main beneficiaries of the war were Halliburton, arms manufacturers and the oil companies, all mysteriously tied to the White House. How strange !

1:57 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


"Clearly its a combination of both"

Hmmm. Clearly.


7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hmmm. Clearly."

That's the spirit !

9:33 PM  

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