Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Satire beyond the BBC's ability to fathom

Just how bright does one need to be in order to find employment in the BBC newsroom? On today’s evidence, not very.

The BBC offers up its (un-bylined) take on the media reaction to Dick Cheney’s recent escapades in Texas. To show just how universal is the dismay over White House secrecy and the delay in filling in the press corps on the shooting, the BBC notes that:
Even for the conservative Wall Street Journal, enough was enough.

"Don't these Bush people understand that the cover-up is worse than the crime?" Wednesday's edition asks, before launching a satirical broadside at the White House efforts to play down the story.
Bad news for the White House indeed. Except for one thing: A quick read of the WSJ editorial makes it pretty clear, to anyone of moderate intelligence that is, that the satirical broadside was aimed not at the White House’s efforts to play down the story, but rather the media’s efforts to play it up.

The WSJ editorial provides a “coverup timeline” along with “crucial questions that deserve to be asked.” Among those questions:
Saturday 6:30 pm - White House Chief of Staff Andy Card informs President Bush that there's been a hunting accident involving the Vice President's party. Did Mr. Bush ask follow-up questions? Was he intellectually curious?

7 pm - Karl Rove tells Mr. Bush that it is Mr. Cheney who did the shooting. Why was this detail withheld for a full 30 minutes from the President? Who else did Mr. Rove talk to about this in the interim? Was Valerie Plame ever mentioned?

Sunday 1:30 pm - The Texas paper [Corpus Christi] posts the story on its Web site, after calling the Veep's office for confirmation. Everyone involved confirms more or less everything, or so the official line goes. Their agreement is very suspicious.
And just in case there was any doubt among the especially daft, after noting a particularly absurd question from a member of the WH press corps (“and we’re not making this one up” it warns), the WSJ ended its editorial by proclaiming:
We hope the 78-year-old Mr. Whittington recovers promptly after his heart attack yesterday. As for the Beltway press corps, it has once again earned the esteem in which it is held by the American public.
For the dolts at the BBC: The use of the word “esteem” in this context would be, um, ironic.

(And here I thought that it was supposed to be Americans who couldn’t appreciate the heralded British sense of irony.)

UPDATE: As some of you may have noticed, the BBC has done a little bit of editing, and the reference to the WSJ editorial now bears a much closer relationship to what it actually said. I'm not sure whether someone at the Beeb saw TAE's comments, or if an editor with a more heightened sense of sarcasm than the original editor noticed it on his own. Of course the reference to the WSJ has been moved from the top of the article to the bottom, given that it no longer reinforces the story line the BBC is pushing. But give the Beeb some small amount of credit for at least mentioning the contrary take of the WSJ rather than wiping it out of the article completely. Still, I'd say the BBC is, net, in the red on this one.


Blogger Stephen said...

And here I thought that it was supposed to be Americans who couldn’t appreciate the heralded British sense of irony.


Of course, when one hastens to report on anything which could make America, or the Bush administration, look bad, mistakes are bound to happen. Perhaps you could institute an award (the Dan Rather Award for Over-Hasty Journalism?) for those whose zeal for their cause results in overlooking some elementary details of the story they are covering?

2:58 PM  
Blogger Robert Englund said...

Has the Beeb been doing a bit of stealth editing on this article?

6:39 PM  
Blogger Robert Englund said...

Scott -

On the Today programme this morning, Justin Webb rather blew the gaff on this one (it should be about 35 or 37 minutes in, if you want to Listen Again).

Reading between the lines, it seems Mr. Cheney has cheesed off a good number of journalists because he refuses to speak to them and will talk to only a select few. It looks as if all this hooha is really a just for the offended journalists to get a bit of their own back at Mr. Cheney. For the BBC, of couse, it's another excuse to embarass Bush.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Simon Lazarus said...

Scott, I don't think you understand something.

Most of that the BBC produces (shows, website stories, news, etc.) IS satirical. For instance, they show British troops beating the shit out of some Iraqi thugs because that is "important news," but they withhold the Mohammad cartoons because "they respect Islam."

Now THAT is satire. No wonder they missed what the Wall Street Journal was trying to do. They do it every day, and it was just not that apparent to whatever dipshit wrote the story for the website.

Simon Lazarus

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Actually, that was me. I emailed them about the error (I actually picked it up just before reading it on your blog) and they emailed me back thanking me and informing me they'd changed it. No eagle-eyed editors at the beeb... just us guys watching them...

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

At least the incident gave Nancy Pelosi a few talking points for her daily press conference.:)

Not to mention Harry Reid.

I'm awfully impressed at how inane the Democrat leaders in the House and Senate manage to appear.

Would you vote for those idiots?

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Cheney shooting a man is NOT NEWS ?
Ok, so you're all partisan, but would you have let "Gore shoots a man" pass without comment ?
How about "Clinton gets a blow job ?"
You lot take the biscuit when it comes to hypocrisy.
As for Cheney/Bush refusing press conferences etc., will you all be so happy for a Democratic President to do the same ?

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got the wrong end of the stick; this article is about the BBC's inability (or carelessness) rather than the minutae of American politics.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Jack Bauer said...

"Gore shoots a man" pass without comment ?

Actually Gore shoots his "mouth" off all the time. Bad mouthing the President, ranting and raving like a moonbat.

Shooting off outrageous lies. And the MSM does give him a pass on his lunacy.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Still, I'd say the BBC is, net, in the red on this one."

although perhaps they are more pink, say, than red, i think you could have omitted the words "net" and "on this one", no?

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Anonymous 12:05, several major American publications (including Newsweek) knew of the Clinton/Lewinsky story well ahead of its disclosure, and actively worked on Clinton's behalf to spike the story in January 1998.

It was not until a whistle-blowing Newsweek employee leaked the suppressed story to Drudge Report that it was revealed to the public, and without this leaker it is very likely the story would never have been published.

Compare this with the Cheney shark feeding frenzy.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous hippiepooter said...

Nice dig at the 'superior' British sense of irony. As a Brit I'm sick to the teeth of the cliched 'Americans: irony free zone' crap.

5:46 PM  

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