7th November 2010
UPDATE, 3rd Dec: John Rentoul links to this site with his ‘BBC Bias on Iraq’ article. Notice how the usual “Blair haters” never respond to the actual point of the story. They just regurgitate their own prejudices. The WE ALL KNOWERS are alive and well (sort of) and still after the best of us, never the worst.
The BBC’s watchdog, the BBC Trust, are understood to be formally considering a series of complaints about the BBC’s’ coverage of the Iraq inquiry. These relate to how the appearances of Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Jack Straw and Tony Blair were reported in news programmes.
The complaints allege that the one-sided selection of testimony and biased commentaries in these reports breached the BBC’s impartiality rules. They follow a complaint about their news reporter Laura Kuenssberg’s remarks during the BBC’s coverage of Tony Blair’s appearance in January at the Chilcot Inquiry, an appeal which was upheld by the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit on inaccuracy grounds.
However, Kuenssberg’s coverage was found not to have broken the impartiality rules, notwithstanding that her inaccurate reporting of Sir Christopher Meyer’s evidence, chimed with the version put out by the anti-war lobby and was made against the backdrop of the anti-Blair demonstration held that day.
I wrote about the guilty/but innocent findings over Kuenssberg at the time here.
The complainant has argued that the impartiality rules require even-handed reporting on highly controversial matters. The Iraq inquiry obviously falls into this category so adequate pro-war testimony should have been reported alongside the anti-war testimony.
The outcome of these appeals, expected at the turn of the year (by when a decision about the recall of Tony Blair may have been announced), will determine whether news editors are really bound by the BBC’s impartiality rules in matters of this sort. It will also determine whether the BBC can get away with its vendetta against Tony Blair which followed the Hutton Inquiry finding against them on the Kelly / ‘dodgy dossier’ affair and resulted in the resignation of their top personnel.
It is interesting to note that the BBC’s Band Aid apology, covered in my previous post and presented here, was couched in terms of the “unfair impression” created by their treatment of the story. In his appeal to the BBC Trust the complainant referred to the “false impression” of the evidence emerging from the Iraq inquiry created by the BBC’s one-sided treatment of it based on anti-war/anti-Blair “newsworthiness”. Clearly, for logical consistency, if creating an unfair impression is wrong in the case of the BBC’s Band Aid story it must be wrong in the case of their Iraq inquiry coverage.
Moreover if Peter Horrocks, their Director of global news, cites the fact that “the BBC can wholeheartedly acknowledge that errors have been made [on the Band Aid story]” as being “a strength”, then presumably the BBC Trust’s failure to admit errors on the BBC’s Iraq Inquiry coverage will be a sign of weakness.
The BBC Trust’s verdict on this case will therefore not only be a verdict on the BBC’s impartiality but will also be a verdict on themselves as the BBC’s watchdog.
MY MESSAGE FOR THE BBC TRUST
“I’ll be watching you”
MY MESSAGE FOR ALL THE MEDIA
And I’ll be watching the rest of you too. Take a look at this Telegraph “lie detector” (see Telegraph) as Mr Blair gave his evidence to the Iraq Inquiry. They were forced or advised to change the words “Lie Detector” at the top left hand corner. They did. They altered it the arguably less leading question – “Are You Convinced?” (See here on the change of title)
Laura Kuenssberg (Wikipedia)
MORE RECENT POSTS AT THIS SITE RELEVANT TO IRAQ INQUIRY
- Further update on the Ban Blair-Baiting petition
- Tony Blair asks at the Iraq Inquiry: “Who is killing them?”
- I was a witness (more or less) to the TRIAL of Tony Blair, aka the Iraq Inquiry
- Tony Blair at Iraq Inquiry – ONE report with NO opining
- Iraq Inquiry Special, New Statesman: Press Release – Ban Blair-Baiting petition
- Iraq Inquiry – Read Comments & Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition
This blog – Biased BBC – which keeps an eye on the BBC, generally highlighting its left-leanings, has at the foot of the page some interesting quotes from BBC broadcasters, past and present. For instance:
“But we were not just anti-Macmillan; we were anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-advertising, anti-selling, anti-profit, anti-patriotism, anti-monarchy, anti-Empire, anti-police, anti-armed forces, anti-bomb, anti-authority. Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer and more prosperous place, you name it, we were anti it.”
Antony Jay, Telegraph, July 2007
“..the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain ‘natural’ beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off.”
Andrew Marr, The Guardian Feb. 1999
The quote from Jeremy Paxman makes me wonder how come he’s still working there. Perhaps, as it was for Blair within Labour, it’s his popularity that keeps him in his job.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“All countries need a leader who isn’t afraid to fight terrorism. I believe Mr. Blair did a necessary job in helping his allies. Are we all just supposed to lie down and wait for them to come for us, I don’t think so.”
And – “Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the privilege of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is an honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: 2003 invasion of Iraq, a journey, Andrew Marr, Antony Jay, BBC, BBC Trust, biased BBC, Chilcot Inquiry, complainant to BBC trust, complaints to BBC, former Prime Minister, Hutton Inquiry, images, impartiality rules, Iraq, Iraq inquiry, jack straw, Jeremy Paxman, John Rentoul, Laura Kuenssberg, Peter Horrocks, pictures, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Tony Blair, under scrutiny