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UPDATE: Watch the entire programme here (available for 7 days from today) My quick thoughts: Cristina Odone is a lying idiot, who can’t even get her facts over Tony Blair & God straight. And, Ms Odone, we DON’T “all view” Iraq as an “unjust war”. Tim Cross was knowledgeable and gave the best responses in support of Blair. Lance Price was almost as good, and Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet and journalist Kenan Malik spoke like reasonable people should. One/Nil to Blair.
23rd January 2011
THE BIG BIASED QUESTION AGAINST THE DOWNING STREET ONE
John Rentoul has this on A [BIG] Biased Question [Also copied below] The sexed-up picture below is pure imagination, suitable for the sexed-up question.
Clearly assuming that this sort of question cannot be debated in our ill-informed, legally ignorant public forum, with anything approaching sufficient legal knowledge or personal detachment, Rentoul has other holes to pick with it.
The main one being that it is being asked at all
- It is insulting, derogatory and highly offensive.
- It is a leading question.
- But by posing it people are being led to accept the question is reasonable.
- The unreasonable question, with its assumptions of balance, breaks the BBC’s Charter of Impartiality.
Here is Rentoul’s article:
Should Tony Blair stand trial for war crimes?
Another step down the slope. In the past I have objected to studio guests on the BBC casually misusing such language to mean “I disagree with the war”. Now the BBC itself has forgotten that “war crime” actually means something, including:
murder, ill treatment … of civilian population … plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
As there is no prospect of Mr Blair being so charged, the question is leading, rhetorical and offensive. By asking it, the BBC implies that reasonable people might take a view on either side of the question when this is not the case. To ask this question, rather than something like “Was it right to invade Iraq?”, seems to me to breach the Corporation’s Charter obligation of impartiality.
I commented at Rentoul’s. Since my comments have a habit of being moderated out when people find them unconscionable, aka inarguable, I’d better paste them here. Some in response to others.
“Are you on the Big Questions defending ‘The Downing Street One’, then John? I do hope so.”
Replying to bob idle
@ bob idle –
‘Here we go again – “Everyone knows”.
Question: If everyone knows, why hasn’t Mr Blair been charged?
Answer: Because no-one really knows.
Not even JR or me. But I have this sneaking feeling that somewhere along the charge line on any of the breakages of international law, “intent” comes into the picture, as it does in murder c/w manslaughter.’
“I suppose we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be accused of splitting hairs in order to confuse here, John.
I think the BBC question is badly phrased. Actually I agree with you that it shouldn’t be phrased at all, for the reasons that you provide (unreasonable question – leading, rhetorical and offensive.) And of course the people who accuse TB of “war crimes” and the like are the same people who never accuse Ahmadinejad or Mugabe or others of similar ilk of being ever so slightly off the rails in how they treat even their OWN people. Instead they accuse said gentlemen of being used and abused by us nasty westerners.
But my main point here is that the BBC’s leading question should have referred to “international crimes”. That way it covers all possibilities.
And you know how it goes – if the BBC still want to “get Blair” which they clearly still do, they need to cast that net as widely as possible.
They STILL won’t catch him in their fishing expedition, even if they do cast widely. Why? Because Blair does not swim in such murky waters as do his enemies.
To mix metaphors, if the cap fits, little fishes, wear it. You’re already wearing anyway.”
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, ban blair baiting, BBC, Big Questions, Cristina Odone, downing street, free the downing street one, IDIOT, iraq war, John Rentoul, Kenan Malik, Lance Price, Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, Should Tony blair stand trial for war crimes, Tim Cross, Tony Blair, war crime