PRESS SHOCK NEWS 2 – Reith at Iraq Inquiry … “press made up minds BEFORE we went into Iraq”

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    17th January 2010

    This post is Part 2 in the new Press Shock News series. This series hopes to bring YOU, the brainwashed viewer, some shocking, exciting and dramatic entertainment. Tales of everyday British politicians and politicos from in and around the Westminster Village.

    While you watch the latest episode of EastendeWESTMINSTERenders unfold in all its dramatic gory glory before your incredulous eyes, a WARNING …

    IF YOU ARE  OF A NERVOUS DISPOSITION, and liable to be disappointed at the lack of blood and guts…

    …this series on the escapades of the everyday British press and its inadequacies (and hang-ups over Tony Blair and the Iraq invasion) is not REAL LIFE.

    It’s only pretend.

    In some episodes of WESTMINSTERenders, where the story seems to be going awry and the good guys actually get the bad guys, we’ll add a touch of theatrical licence to embellish things. Audience research has shown you’re used to that, and it brings in the watchers. In some places we might even omit matters of historical fact, material to the background storyline, but not always central to the ongoing drama.

    You’re used to that too. But of course you’re not aware that you’re used to it.

    Television and the printed press just LOVE all this editing stuff.  They’re well into it, mate! So in a genuine effort to capture “real life” and to ensure we, the British Broadcasting Con-artists  and friends in the rest of the meeja don’t lose viewing & headline-scanning numbers, (even though the audience and producers are bloodthirsty so-and-sos and only look for the thrills), we will promise to honour our commitment to you for unfair, unrealistic and unbalanced representation of all the Tales From the WESTMINSTERenders Village.

    Awright mate?

    Below and in subsequent episodes of the show, we will try to re-balance the scope of subsequent programmes so that viewers can feel just a teensy-weensy touch of human empathy with the villainous lead players. Even if they ARE b*sta**s! Experience has shown that it’s always useful if we learn to love the villains first then come to hate them, or sometimes vice versa,  before we do them in.

    Number of follow-up episodes as yet undeterminable. It’ll depend on how soon we manage to kill off all the main characters. (Download latest and ensuing episodes here.)


    No CONSPIRACIES here, mate!

    “Honest guv! It’s purely co-incidental that one of the characters in our first episode below shares a name with the man who launched the BBC. In the same way that it’s another co-incidence that the main villain of the piece, seldom seen but eerily omnipresent, shares his surname with the man who wrote ‘1984’. Stranger than fiction? Yes, life often is.”

    Programme synopsis

    “Wot? You mean we wuz against the whole fing right from the start? But we didn’t let on? How come? In case it worked out OK? Y’mean we didn’t want egg on our fices?  Oh, very smart. So now it has worked out we could be found aht? OR… we could tell ’em ONLY what we want ’em to hear. Yeah … that’s it …”

    For the sake of balance and since none of the mainstream press outlets or their sprogs the blogs have referred to Sir John Reith’s criticism of the press’s approach, I admit to openly cherry-picking. Though I have to tell you there is nothing that I’d wish to spit out in General Reith’s evidence, which can be read here in its entirety.

    The Iraq Inquiry met behind closed doors to hear evidence from the general who ran the British operations in the conflict

    General Sir John Reith worked as chief of joint operations from Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood during the war.  The panel led by Sir John Chilcot agreed that he should be allowed to appear without the press and public present “for personal reasons” on Friday.

    A full transcript of his evidence was published late on Friday evening on the Iraq Inquiry website, with five words blanked out “on the grounds of national security”, the inquiry said in a statement.

    THE CHAIRMAN: I think we will stop now. Any last final comment? We have got a great deal already, but …

    GEN SIR JOHN REITH: May I just quickly look and see if I have missed something important?


    GEN SIR JOHN REITH: Yes, if I might just mention two things. One is media. We embedded media with us, as we had done during 1991, and the difficulty was we had less time. In 1991, I had actually trained the media to understand the military. I had actually given them a series of seminars — I’m coming to the point, sorry. We didn’t have that time. So the embeds actually were reporting very minor things as very major things, during the combat phase, which led to me having to go to the Prime Minister to brief him over why we weren’t in Basra already, because, you know, we thought at one stage we might be failing, but my more important point on the media was that, to my mind, they had made their minds up before we went in.

    THE CHAIRMAN: We have got the point, I think.

    GEN SIR JOHN REITH: Okay, it was very demoralising for the troops when we were actually doing really good things and our media was reporting so negatively.

    THE CHAIRMAN: It is helpful to hear that. Did you have a different point?

    GEN SIR JOHN REITH: On lessons, all I would say is the key one — or key 2, were asset tracking. We have to get it right and we shouldn’t have such reliance on UORs.

    THE CHAIRMAN: Got it. Thank you very much. We are going to need time to reflect on the evidence from today’s session. There was a lot in it. We may need to take this further at a later date, it is hard to say, later the year. But I think with that, we will conclude the session.

    For the record, the next session in front of the Inquiry will be at 2.00 pm on Monday afternoon, when we shall take evidence from Jonathan Powell, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Defence Staff.

    Thank you General Reith.

    GEN SIR JOHN REITH: Thank you.
    (1.22 pm)
    (The Inquiry adjourned until Monday 18 January 2010 at
    2.00 pm)


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    2 Responses to “PRESS SHOCK NEWS 2 – Reith at Iraq Inquiry … “press made up minds BEFORE we went into Iraq””

    1. Watch the public Iraq Inquiry – live streaming online « Tony Blair Says:

      […] UPDATED 18th January – Today, Jonathan Powell and on Fiday General John Reith criticises press […]

    2. The schadenfreude election that the press had coming « Tony Blair Says:

      […] PRESS SHOCK NEWS 2 – Reith at Iraq Inquiry … “press made up minds BEFORE we went into Iraq”… […]

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